Property owners or business owners owe a duty to maintain the property for safety purposes in Texas. Inadequately doing so can result in compensable damages. If you have been injured, you may be entitled to file a claim, but the insurance company and even the property owner may fight the allegations to minimize or avoid paying you.
Premises Liability & Inadequate Maintenance in Texas
Premises liability is a legal principle that says owners and occupiers can be held liable for accidents or injuries that occur on their property. Inadequate maintenance is a type of premises liability claim that applies to situations where a person is injured as a result of a property owner's failure to keep their property in good repair.
Property owners owe a duty of care to people who enter their property and must take steps to maintain it in a safe condition or warn visitors of any hazards. If they fail or are negligent in doing so and a person is injured as a result, the owner may be held liable.
To establish an inadequate maintenance case, a plaintiff (the injured party) usually must show that the owner or occupier knew or should have known the hazard existed and failed to fix it or adequately warn of it. The plaintiff also usually needs to show that they wouldn't have been injured if the hazard had been fixed.
In an inadequate maintenance case, a plaintiff can sue for compensatory damages, including medical expenses and lost income, as well as pain and suffering.
Examples of Inadequate Maintenance in San Antonio
Some examples of inadequate maintenance include:
- Broken locks and fixtures
- Loose roof tiles
- Poor lighting
- Broken windows and doors
- Exposed wires
- Rotting stairs or floorboards
- Large display shelves that haven't been fixed to the wall
- Fallen merchandise
If a visitor to a private or business premises is injured as a result of one of these issues, they may have a premises liability claim against the property owner.
Fault and Inadequate Maintenance in Texas
Personal injury law, and therefore liability for inadequate maintenance, varies between states and will depend on the specific facts of a case.
Generally, both individual and business owners may be liable for inadequate maintenance. In many situations, tenants may also be liable. Similarly, a condo or homeowners' association can be liable for injuries sustained in common areas, where they knew or should have known about the hazard, or they created it.
In some limited circumstances, an owner may be able to show that a third person, such as a contractor, or the plaintiff was partially or wholly responsible for the injury. A plaintiff may be partially responsible for their injury where they failed to exercise reasonable care for their own safety.
In some states, the plaintiff's status is also relevant when assessing liability. For example, many states limit the circumstances in which an owner owes a duty of care to trespassers.