Imagine this: You’re invited over to a birthday party at your friend’s house. You and everyone else is enjoying each others company when, suddenly while stepping outside, you trip on a loose brick falling face first onto the pavement, injuring everything from your knees to your head from the fall. After being treated at the ER, you begin getting bills from the hospital demanding payment.
Naturally, you would ask who should pick up your hospital bill? Should you have to pay for it yourself? Is the owner of the house supposed to help pay for these bills?
Before we answer any of these questions, we should first explain premises liability and how it can apply to this situation.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is an area of law where the victim of an injury can file a claim against the owner of the property (premises) where the injury was caused by the negligence of the owner (liability). It is an area of law that many personal injury lawyers are familiar with and where, unfortunately, many victims are not.
When a guest or invitee is allowed to be on someone’s property, the owner must exercise what is called “ordinary care” to help ensure that their guests are safe from injury on their property. Simply placing a sign that says “We’re Not Responsible For Any Accidents” does not absolve the property owner from this legal responsibility.
Although it’s more common, premises liability not only covers business properties but also private homes and rented apartments as well. Many homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies cover injuries sustained by guests who are injured at another person’s home.
What Kind Of Injuries Could Be Covered By Property Insurance?
Slip and Falls: Just like the scenario that was described earlier, slip and fall injuries are the most common premises liability injury claims. These are often due to wet floors, lifted carpets, children’s toys or a number of other obstacles that can cause someone to trip, slip and fall.
Falling Trees or Falling Objects: Improperly secured fixtures or trees that have not been maintained all have the potential for causing injuries. Homeowners insurance policies will often cover medical expenses for these types of premises liability claims as well.
Animal / Dog Bites – For dog bite injury cases, Texas is considered a “one-bite” state, meaning in order to prove negligence on behalf of the owner, the injured victim’s injury lawyers must prove that the owner was aware that the dog had bitten someone else or had a history of aggression or that the dog owner failed to use ordinary or reasonable care to prevent the dog from injuring the victim. The former often refers to incidences on the property and the latter often refers to dogs that are let loose outside and/or escape and attack others on the street or the sidewalk.
Moon Jumps and Trampolines: Many children’s birthday parties often include inflatable moon jumps and slides alike. Children’s injuries that result in using these could result in filing an injury claim against the owner’s homeowner’s insurance.
Intoxicated Guests: This type of premises liability injury claim varies between businesses like bars and restaurants. For bars, dram shop laws protect customers from being overserved to the point where they are a danger to themselves and others. Basically, if a bar or restaurant over-serves a customer and that customer goes on to injure themselves or someone else, everyone involved in the accident, including the drunk driver, can file an injury claim against the bar.
For homeowners who serve others alcohol at their homes generally, are not liable for their guests’ injuries who leave their home intoxicated, however, the only exception is if the owner provided alcohol to minors. Whether or not the minor injured themselves or someone else, the parent of the minor can still bring a claim against the homeowner.
Pool or Swimming Related Injuries: With wet diving boards or decks, an injured victim may have a legitimate slip and fall claim if their injury lawyers can prove, given specific circumstances such as current use or weather, that these areas were not properly maintained. A homeowner may also be liable for injuries if they expose guests to harmful chemicals in the pool or if reasonable care was not exercised when someone drowned in their pool.
Should I Get An Injury Lawyer If I’m Hurt On Someone’s Property?
If your injury is similar to any of the injuries described above, there’s a good chance that you could be compensated for your injuries. Hiring an experienced injury attorney can make the difference between getting compensated for your injuries and getting nothing at all.
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