Whether you have a slip and fall or a trip and fall, Texas law evaluates your personal injury lawsuit against a negligent possessor of a property based on your status and the condition of the property.
Although the facts of each case will determine your status, you may qualify as an invitee, licencee, or trespasser, depending on the nature of your reasons for visiting the property.
Slip and Fall as an Invitee:
You are owed a duty of ordinary care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition.
Slip and Fall as a Licencee:
You are owed a duty of ordinary care to protect you from hidden dangers known to the possessor.
Slip and Fall as a Trespasser:
You are owed a duty to not be injured by willful, wanton, or grossly negligent conditions.
Can I Prevail?
An invitee’s ability to prevail in a premises liability case depends on the nature of the condition, or premises defect, based on the defendants (1) actual knowledge – evidence of prior incidents; or (2) constructive knowledge – evidence of time defect existed; or (3) unreasonable dangerous character – evidence of method of creating defect. Constructive knowledge occurs when a condition is in existence for a reasonable period of time such that a possessor should have discovered the condition and made it safe.
The Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion in 2015, which made significant changes to Plaintiffs seeking compensation for their injuries. Under this ruling, a property owner no longer has a duty to warn the invitee of a dangerous condition if the condition is obvious or the invitee knew about the condition. There are two exceptions to this rule. (1) the condition resulted from a foreseeable criminal activity; or (2) the invitee must use the dangerous premises regardless of being aware of the condition.