Premises liability claims stem from hazards on the property of another person. When the property owner or manager fails to address these hazards or warn visitors of the dangerous conditions on their land, they could face civil liability for the injuries that result. Not every injury will lead to a winning premises liability claim, making it imperative that you seek guidance from a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
A San Antonio premises liability lawyer can evaluate your case and help you determine the proper legal options to recover compensation. Speak to a seasoned personal injury attorney to learn about how you could hold a negligent property owner liable for damages. En Español.
There are many reasons why a premises liability claim could arise. Some of the most common types of premises liability cases include:
A San Antonio premises liability attorney could hold a property owner accountable for damages if they can prove they violated their duty of care. The duty of care is the standard a reasonable person would take in that specific situation. A violation of this duty involves failing to address a potentially harmful hazard on the property. In other situations, a breach of the duty could occur through a failure to warn a visitor of a potential hazard.
The plaintiff will also have to show that the hazard on the defendant’s property was responsible for their damages. In many cases, the defendant will work to establish that their efforts to respond to the hazard were reasonable. Before an attorney can prove that the defendant violated their duty of care, they must first establish what that duty is.
The duty of care a property owner owes depends on the nature of the visitor on their property. Visitors have different motives for entering the property of another, and their motives could directly impact a claim should an accident happen.
There are three types of visitors under state law: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Invitees enter the property of another person with their permission, and they do so for the property owner’s benefit. This permission could be express or implied. Customers entering a business are the most common example of an invitee. The property owner must inspect the premises and take steps to remove hazards before an invitee suffers injuries.
Licensees are also invited to enter the premises by the owner. The difference compared to invitees is that they are there for their own purposes, not for the benefit of the property owner. A common example would be social guests. A property owner must warn licensees of any hazards on the property.
Trespassers enter the premises without permission. A property owner generally owes a trespasser nothing short of avoiding intentionally causing them harm. There are some special requirements regarding child trespassers that could best be explained by a San Antonio premises liability attorney.
After the plaintiff suffers an injury and files a claim, insurance companies are going to get involved. Whether the plaintiff suffers an injury on another person’s private property or a business, the owner should have insurance. Hiring a San Antonio attorney to help navigate the insurance claim for premises liability.
After the plaintiff and defendant make the insurance claims, each party’s insurance company will likely perform an investigation. During the investigation, the defendant’s insurance company may reach out to the plaintiff and ask for a statement. The plaintiff may refuse to talk to the insurance company without their attorney’s present.
Should the defendant’s insurance company believe their client is at fault, they may attempt to settle the claim before a lawsuit is filed. The plaintiff should know the initial offers by an insurance company are often much lower than what they can recover during or after a lawsuit. It is wise to have an attorney deal directly with the insurance company on the plaintiff’s behalf.
To properly file a premises liability lawsuit, the case must be filed within two years of the injury. Failure to file the lawsuit on time may bar the plaintiff from recovering any damages.
Once the lawsuit starts, the defendant’s attorney may not contact the plaintiff directly and must deal with the plaintiff’s attorney. Hiring an experienced San Antonio attorney can make the premises liability lawsuit much easier to handle. At the onset of the lawsuit, the parties begin exchanging discovery, including written and oral questions.
The first part of discovery involves the sides exchanging sets of questions for the plaintiff and the defendant to answer. The plaintiff may have to provide their medical records and answer questions regarding how the accident occurred, their injuries, and all the medical treatment received. The plaintiff’s attorney can assist the plaintiff with any questions about the defendant’s discovery demands.
Once written discovery is over, the two sides move forward with depositions. At depositions, the defense attorney’s questions will go into further depth about how the accident occurred and the plaintiff’s injuries, their impact on the plaintiff’s life, and the medical treatment received.
Once discovery is over, the lawsuit moves forward towards a resolution. Between discovery and trial, the parties will engage in discussions to settle the lawsuit. The plaintiff has the final say on whether to accept offers of settlement the defendant makes.
Should no settlement occur, the lawsuit proceeds to a trial or an alternative dispute resolution, including mediations or arbitrations. Both mediations and arbitrations utilize a third party to help the parties arrive at a resolution for the lawsuit.
If an accident occurs on another’s property, you should discuss your legal options with an attorney as soon as possible. It is common for property owners to address hazards after they cause an injury, which could give your legal counsel a limited window to investigate.
A San Antonio premises liability lawyer could investigate the cause of your injury and help you seek compensation for damages. Call today to schedule a consultation.