Whenever someone steps onto a property — whether they are shopping in a store, visiting a friend at home, or attending an event in a public setting — there are risks involved. Falls account for 8 million ER visits across the country annually. Black Friday, the busiest retail day of the year, has resulted in 17 deaths and 125 injuries since 2006, and this figure does not take into account the everyday injuries visitors sustain when visiting attractions, stores, malls, business offices, movie theaters, restaurants, and other spaces.
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What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to injury cases that are filed because someone is harmed due to unsafe conditions on someone’s property. These injury claims can arise out of slip and fall incidents, trip and fall cases, and other incidents.
All property carries some risk, which is why business owners are typically covered against this type of claim as part of their commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy. Many leases require commercial lenders to carry premises liability coverage with specific limits. Homeowners also typically have coverage against accidents on their property.
What Are You Responsible For on Your Premises?
Whether you are a homeowner or business owner, you have a duty of care to the people entering your property. However, the level of duty you owe will depend on the type of visitor. Those who enter a property can fall into three categories:
- Trespassers. Trespassers are entering a property or part of a property where they are not invited or should not be. They may be walking past warning or “no entry” signs, and property owners and leaseholders simply have a duty to not willfully injure trespassers.
- Licensees. A person who enters a property for their own purpose or who has not been intentionally excluded is a licensee. For example, someone socially visiting a friend at their home may be a licensee. Property owners and tenants must warn licensees of any known dangers.
- Invitees. An invitee enters a premises for the mutual benefit of themselves and the property owner or leaseholder. A customer in a store is typically an invitee, for example. The leaseholder or owner of the property has a high level of duty to invitees and is expected to inspect the property and either repair any hazards or post warnings about them.
No matter who has been harmed on a property, it is important to consider whether the conditions that caused the injury were unreasonably dangerous and whether the property owner or leaseholder was able to take reasonable steps to address the issue. If you think you may have a premises liability injury, you may wish to speak with an attorney to determine whether you have a claim.
Why is Premises Liability Insurance Important?
Premises liability insurance is important for anyone who owns property or leases a property where someone may visit. For business owners, who face many visitors and who may face lawsuits if someone is injured, premises liability insurance is essential. Injuries can occur at any time, and in the event of a claim, insurance helps protect you from having to pay out of pocket for someone’s medical costs, property damage, and other losses.
What Does Premises Liability Insurance Cover?
Most policies cover medical payments and general liability, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. General liability covers property damage or physical injury which occurs due to negligent maintenance of a property or negligent business operations. Medical payments cover the cost of medical costs related to an injury that occurs on your owned or rented property, up to the policy limit. This part of the insurance policy covers medical payments required for an injury, whether the injury was caused by negligence or not.
What Does Premises Liability Insurance Not Cover?
Every policy is different, but in general premises liability does not cover intentional actions and damage to your own property. Employee injuries are also not covered, and most trespassers are not covered by medical payment coverage.
How Can You Reduce Premises Liability Risks?
If you own or rent property, you will want to keep everyone entering your property safe, both to prevent suffering and to avoid legal claims. The best way to do this is to monitor your property closely and to check it frequently for any potential dangers. When you notice a hazard, either fix the issue or place a warning sign if the problem cannot be fixed right away. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your property can also help reduce the risk of injury.
When Should You Talk to a Premises Liability Injury Lawyer?
If you have been injured on someone’s property, you may assume their property insurance will pay for your medical costs and injuries, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. The limits on the policy may be much less than you need to pay in medical costs, or an insurer may deny the claim.
Even just trying to negotiate with the insurer or property owner can be difficult if you’re not certain how much your injury may cost or if you’re not familiar with the complexities of premises liability claims in Texas. For these reasons, if you’ve been injured on someone’s property, always consult with an experienced premises liability injury lawyer to find out what options you may have.
How Can FVF Help?
When you speak with a premises liability injury lawyer at FVF, our goal is to help you learn more about your situation and about the laws which may affect your case. We have found this helps you make the right decision for your specific circumstances. It’s also why our free consultations come with absolutely no pressure. We want to help.
The attorneys at FVF have experience with premises liability cases and other personal injury cases. Our attorneys can determine whether you have a case and if we work together, we can take care of the details, including investigating your injury, filing the paperwork, negotiating with other parties, and even taking your case to court if that is the best course of action. Our commitment to integrity and our values are designed to make the process supportive for you.
At FVF, we understand that being injured can be upsetting, and we’re here to help. You can always contact FVF for a free consultation to discuss your situation in a pressure-free environment.