Can You Sue if You Fall on Private Property?

December 21, 2021 Premises Liability

If you fall on private property, you can sue if the accident was due to someone else’s negligence or fault.

Property owners are responsible for making sure their premises are safe and properly maintained and must fix dangerous conditions to prevent injury to others. When a property owner fails to do so and you are injured as a result, you may be able to win a damage award that covers your losses through a premises liability lawsuit.

Injuries from falls can be serious and result in a lifetime of care and even death. Expenses and medical and rehabilitation bills mount at a time when you may be unable to work. Texas premises liability law is complicated, and insurance companies will try to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible or even try to put the blame for the accident on you, so it’s hard to know what to do and where to turn.

Fortunately, there is help available from the Houston premises liability lawyers at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. Our attorneys know the intricacies of the law and the tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying claims, and we are fully prepared to advocate for you and fight for the compensation you deserve. Let us take the burden off you by handling all legal requirements and negotiations with insurers, so you can concentrate on rebuilding your life.

We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case and determine the best way to handle it. There are no costs to you unless and until we win your case. Call us now at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 to get started.

Can you sue someone if you fall on their property?

You can sue the responsible parties for damages if their negligence causes you to fall on their property.

In a successful lawsuit, our premises liability lawyers can win an award for both your monetary costs, called “special damages,” as well as your non-economic damages, called “general damages.” Economic damages would cover your calculable costs and bills, and non-economic damages are for intangibles such as pain and suffering that negatively impact your life.

  1. Economic or Special Damages may include:
    • Medical and rehabilitation expenses
    • Lost wages, current and future
    • Property damages that resulted from the fall.
  2. Non-Economic or General Damages may include:
    • Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
    • Loss of companionship and consortium
    • Disfigurement and scarring
    • Loss of quality and enjoyment of life.

    To qualify for non-economic damages in Texas, you must have had physical injury and costs in addition to being emotionally traumatized by the accident.

  3. Punitive damages

    In rare situations when the fall was caused by actions that were wantonly reckless and negligent, you may also be awarded punitive damages. Texas law puts caps on the amount of punitive damages. (C.P.R.C. Title 2, Subtitle C, Chapter 41)

Proving negligence is essential to winning your case

Texas property owners and residents have a duty of care to prevent injuries to others, including invited guests, customers, visitors, and even minors who trespass onto the property. If a property owner knows about a hazard, or should know about a hazard, and does not fix it and warn about the danger, they may be found negligent. However, not every fall is the responsibility of the property owner. To win your case, our attorneys would have to prove that the property owner was negligent by showing that the property owner:

  • Knew about the hazard or should have known about the hazard
  • Violated that duty by failing to fix or warn about the hazard
  • This violation caused the accident
  • You suffered damages as a result.

Examples of negligence leading to falls would be a property owner who failed to:

  • fix a broken staircase, loose tiles, ripped carpet, etc.
  • remove ice and snow from a walkway
  • clean up or warn about spills on a floor.

Classifications of Visitors to Property

Proving negligence is further complicated because Texas classifies visitors to property as invitees, licensees, or trespassers. There are different degrees of responsibility a property owner owes to each category.

  • An invitee is someone who enters the property for mutual benefit or to benefit the property owner (such as a customer in a store) and is owed the highest duty of care.
  • A licensee is a visitor on the property with the permission of the property owner (such as a guest) and is owed the duty to be warned of any hazards.
  • A trespasser is on a property without the owner’s permission, and the owner only needs to refrain from acts of gross negligence. The duty is higher for trespassing children, since children are not able to recognize inherent dangers.

To prove a property owner’s negligence, our attorneys will investigate the case and gather evidence including:

  • Police, ambulance, hospital, and accident reports and eyewitness statements
  • Photographs and videos of the accident scene
  • Medical statements of your condition and the care you will need in the future.

Chances are that property owners and their insurers will fight your claim by arguing that you are to blame for your accident. Texas has a “modified comparative negligence rule” (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 33, Subchapter A), where damage awards are reduced according to the percentage you are found to be at fault. However, as long as you are 50% or less at fault, our attorneys will still be able to get you the percentage of the award that the property owner was at fault. For example, if you are 10% to blame for your fall and the award is for $50,000, you will still be able to collect $45,000.

Can someone sue me if they fall in my house?

Residential property owners also have a duty to maintain their homes and provide reasonable care to keep their property safe from dangers to anyone invited to or visiting the premises. If you fail to do so, and someone falls and is injured in your house, they can sue you.

Whether the lawsuit will be successful depends on how the person was injured and their status – whether they were an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. In general, you have a duty to warn invited guests of any hidden dangers to be found on your property. The duty is less for licensees than invitees, and even less for trespassers, so this is an important consideration.

Call Our Texas Premises Liability Lawyers for Help

If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property, it is important to contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law as soon as possible, while evidence is fresh and witnesses can be found. In addition, Texas sets a deadline for filing your case that is generally two years from the time of the accident (Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.003). (*Always speak directly to an attorney to understand the exact deadlines that apply to your claim(s).)

Our legal team is here to take the burden off you by handling all aspects of your case. This includes filing everything properly and in a timely manner, negotiating with insurance companies and their lawyers for a fair settlement, gathering evidence to prove negligence, obtaining expert testimony to prove you were not responsible for the fall, and taking your case to court if necessary.

Don’t delay. Call Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today to schedule a free case evaluation at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.

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