What Is Premises Liability?
At first glance, terms such as premises liability and premises liability accidents are confusing. How can premises be liable for accidents? In short, these are legal terms that refer to instances when you or a loved one gets injured while on someone else’s property because of an unsafe condition or hazard.
These accidents can happen anywhere: an apartment complex, event venue, grocery store, hotel lobby, work environment, or even an amusement park.
In this article, our Dallas injury lawyer highlights the most common premises liability cases that our team has handled throughout their legal careers and shares some easy ways to prevent them from happening to you.
Whenever a company or property manager chooses to ignore any complaints or red flags regarding the safety of their establishment and surrounding area, anyone who sets foot on the property is at risk of serious injury or death.
Inadequate security injuries are the result of their inaction or negligence on the part of the company or property owners. We typically see these types of cases involving apartment complexes that don’t have functioning security gates, proper lighting in public areas, or adequate security measures to keep their residents safe.
We also see high volumes of inadequate security cases at bars, clubs, and event venues that serve alcohol. When alcohol and large groups mix, tempers can flare and violent fights can erupt. Retail and grocery stores can also be dangerous for shoppers because of dark parking lots that are unsafe at night. Safety assessments at all of these establishments can easily help companies identify potential threats to residents and patrons.
Following the evaluation, adding security measures such as functioning surveillance cameras, security patrols, and additional lighting can often do the trick to protect workers and customers alike.
Lack of Maintenance
As we shared earlier, unsafe conditions or hazards cause premises liability accidents. Often, a lack of property maintenance is the reason behind the accidents. For example, there’s a slip-and-fall accident. Let’s say that a shopper is in a grocery store near the produce section. A misting nozzle is broken, and instead of spraying heads of broccoli and lettuce, the mister is drenching the grocery store floor in water, making it slippery. If a shopper slips in the puddle and falls on the hard floor, that is considered a lack of maintenance. The grocery store is responsible for facility upkeep and fixing or replacing faulty equipment like the produce misters to avoid situations such as shoppers slipping and falling on wet floors.
You might be surprised to see dog-bite injuries on our premises liability case list. In Texas, premises liability laws classify pets as a type of property. People who are attacked by a dog or dangerous animal can seek compensation for their injuries based on the dog owner’s negligence, lack of sharing their dog’s history of dangerous behavior, violation of leash laws, or intent to harm someone. Owners must be aware of their pooches’ behavior and temperament—especially when left in a fenced yard, taken to a dog park, or accompanying the owner in public, including eating at a restaurant patio or running errands—to ensure they do not hurt other people.
Amusement Parks and State Fairs
Amusement and theme parks can be fun destinations for families to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and milestone occasions like the last day of school. However, accidents are on the rise at large parks, from those with fixed rides to water parks to even temporary carnivals like the State Fair of Texas and Houston Rodeo. Accidents at these spots can be caused by improper maintenance, ride-operator errors, defective ride restraints, inadequate employee training, and dangerous property conditions like slick surfaces and poor lighting. In an effort to prevent accidents, amusement, theme, and water parks in Texas are required to get compliance stickers for all rides, which they are eligible for after passing an inspection by the park’s insurance company, submitting a quarterly injury report, and meeting other requirements. Parks should also conduct thorough employee training throughout the year and designate supervision days to ensure all workers are knowledgeable and properly following safety protocols.
Soaring summer temperatures in Texas force many people to seek relief in swimming pools at hotels, apartment complexes, daycares, private clubs, or a friend or family’s home. However, slippery pavement, sharp edges, harsh chemicals, pool drains, and other hazards can lead to injuries. Before the summer season, high-use pools open to the public should conduct thorough safety assessments to identify any issues that could harm a pool patron. This way, there is plenty of time to fix chemical levels, malfunctioning equipment, and the area surrounding the pool before the rising temperatures hit. At private homes, installing a safety fence that makes the pool area inaccessible to small children and hiring lifeguards for parties with family members and friends can provide peace of mind and additional eyes to keep guests safe.