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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

How to File a Lawsuit for Premises Liability in Texas | Schuerger Shunnarah

Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility property owners have to maintain safe conditions on their lands to protect visitors and tenants from accidents and injuries.

This concept holds landowners accountable for accidents due to unsafe or defective elements on their property. 

In Texas, premises liability law splits guests into three sections: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. The property owner owes each group different levels of legal duty. 

Landlords owe people they invite the highest duty of care, while trespassers are owed the least unless the premises liability claim involves an attractive nuisance.

Step 1: Proving Three Core Elements 

Step 1: Proving Three Core Elements 

To seek compensation in a premises liability case, the injured party needs to prove that there was an unreasonable risk on someone else's property.

On top of that, the victim must also show the owner knew or should have known about the risk and they failed to address the issue.

Legal Duty 

This term refers to the legal duty the property owner owes to the injured party to maintain safe conditions. As mentioned above, the level of duty depends on the visitor's status (invitee, licensee, or trespasser).

Breach of Duty

Plaintiffs must prove the property owner breached their legal duty by failing to address known hazards or warn visitors of dangerous conditions.


Next, victims must show the breach of duty directly caused the visitor's injuries. In other words, the injuries would not have appeared if the property owner had fulfilled their legal duty.

It's not enough to show that a property owner was careless; they must prove that this very carelessness caused harm. The spill must be linked to the fall, the dog bite to the owner's neglect, etc.

Step 2: Collecting Vital Evidence 

Photos of the accident scene, witness statements, and medical reports are tangible proof of the victim's ordeal. In this stage, details matter. Time is of the essence, as scenes change and memories fade. 

Quick actions can mean the difference between well-supported premises liability claims and ones that lack solid evidence.

Step 3: Hiring a Premises Liability Attorney 

The final step in filing a personal injury lawsuit is perhaps the most important—finding an experienced premises liability attorney. This is where the heart of the matter lies. 

From calculating lost wages to arguing for fair compensation, the right personal injury attorney shoulders the burden of the legal process, allowing clients to focus on healing. They also know how to file a lawsuit for workers compensation in Texas.

Five Types of Incidents Fall Under Premises Liability in Dallas, Texas 

In the sprawling cityscape of Dallas, life moves with an energetic hustle. Still, amidst the bustling crowds and towering skyscrapers, accidents lie in wait, turning everyday places into scenes of unexpected tragedy. 

Premises liability law stands as a sentinel in such times, offering a path to justice for those harmed due to a property owner's negligence. 

Trips and Falls

A misplaced item, an uneven sidewalk, or a poorly lit stairway can send a person tumbling down, leading to injuries that echo long after the fall. 

These incidents highlight a property owner's oversight, a momentary lapse that can change lives in the blink of an eye.

Dog Bites

The bond between humans and their canine companions is globally loved, yet when a pet lashes out, the consequences can be severe.

Hence, the dog's owner must ensure it poses no threat to others, and a failure in this duty can result in a premises liability claim.

Swimming Pool Accidents

Dallas's scorching summers often find relief in the cool embrace of a swimming pool. However, amidst the laughter and splashing, danger lurks. 

Slippery decks, faulty drains, and inadequate supervision can lead to swimming pool accidents, turning leisure into a nightmare. 

Fires and Explosions

Less common but no less devastating are fires and explosions, which come with a roar and leave ashes in their wake.

Faulty wiring, flammable materials, or neglected safety protocols can kindle a blaze that consumes everything. 

Slips and Falls

A spill unnoticed or a floor freshly waxed with no warning sign—these conditions lie in waiting for the unsuspecting. Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents are all too common in premises liability lawsuits. 

Only an experienced attorney can help the victim recover maximum damages from the responsible property owner's insurance company and provide insight on how to file a lawsuit for product liability in Texas.

Statute of Limitations in a Texas Premises Liability Case 

Time takes on a big role when it comes to premises liability cases. This ticking clock is known as the statute of limitations, a deadline for when an injured person must take legal action or risk losing their right to do so forever.

Texas' premises liability laws grant the injured victim two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. 

This may seem like enough time, but the days can slip away like sand through the fingers, especially when dealing with the aftermath of an injury.

The statute of limitations is unforgiving, but it is not without exceptions. In certain situations—like when the injured person is a minor or when the defendant leaves the state—the watch may pause. However, victims should consult with qualified Dallas premises liability lawyers before relying on exceptions. 

Does a Property Owner Owe a Duty of Care to a Trespasser?

In the Lone Star State, the concept of private property is held in high esteem, and the law staunchly defends the rights of property owners.

However, it also recognizes that every person, whether invited or not, deserves a basic level of safety. This brings the topic to a curious question: does a property owner owe a duty of care to a trespasser?

The straightforward answer is yes, but it's a bit more limited than the duty owed to guests or customers. In Texas, the general rule is that property owners must not willfully, wantonly, or with gross negligence cause injury to those who enter their property without permission—trespassers included.

Property owners can't set up traps or hazards with the intention of harming a trespasser. In this event, they can't dig a hidden pitfall or set up a snare. 

However, if a trespasser gets injured while illegally exploring someone's property, the owner isn't responsible for the injury. After all, the trespasser wasn't supposed to be there in the first place.

What Is the Law of Attractive Nuisance in a Premises Liability Lawsuit? 

According to Texas's premises liability law, the concept of attractive nuisance is a legal principle that stretches out a protective hand to children when they wander into potential danger. 

It acknowledges that kids are curious explorers, often unaware of the risks that certain enticing features on a property can pose.

If a property has something on it that is likely to attract children—like swimming pools, trampolines, or abandoned buildings—it must be adequately secured to prevent youths from accessing it. 

In this event, if a minor is drawn in by an attractive nuisance and gets hurt, the property owner will be responsible, even if the child was trespassing.

According to personal injury law, the court will look at several factors if an attractive nuisance harms a kid. These include whether the property owner knew or should have known that children could trespass. 

On top of that, the court will check whether the owner was aware that the feature could pose a danger and whether the cost of fixing the hazard is small compared to the risk it presents.

Common Defenses in Premises Liability Cases 

Common Defenses in Premises Liability Cases 

When faced with a premises liability or personal injury claim, property owners have several lines of defense they can present. It's not always a clear-cut case of the owner being at fault.

  • Comparative Fault

First up is comparative fault. This is when the blame game doesn't point to just one person. 

Maybe the person who got hurt was jaywalking or texting instead of watching where they were going. In Texas, if the injured party is partly at fault, the court may reduce their compensation by their percentage of the blame.

A personal injury lawyer specializing in premises liability accidents can help victims prove they were innocent while walking past someone else's property. 

  • No Duty of Care

Another defense is arguing that the owner didn't have a duty of care toward the injured person. This could be the case if the person hurt was a trespasser and not an invitee or licensee. The rules change when someone isn't on the property with the landlord's permission.

  • Open and Obvious Dangers

Then there's the defense of open and obvious dangers. It's like when there's a big "Beware of Dog" sign on a fence. If the danger is clear and in plain sight, the defendant can argue that the person who got hurt should have seen it and avoided it.

  • Assumption of Risk

Lastly, there's the assumption of risk. This is for those times when someone gets hurt doing something they knew was risky, like climbing a tree that's clearly not safe. If they go ahead anyway, Texas law might say they assumed the risk and the owner isn't to blame.


From slips and falls to swimming pool accidents, the types of incidents that can lead to premises liability claims are varied and often unexpected. 

However, as long as the victim is innocent, they are entitled to receive compensation for the following losses:

  • Medical bills

  • Lost wages

  • Pain and suffering

  • Physical therapy

  • Emotional distress, etc. 

Premises liability cases can also result in long-term medical treatment, especially if the property owner fails to warn visitors about unreasonably dangerous elements on their premises. 

Luckily, victims who find themselves grappling with the aftermath of a premises liability incident in Texas shouldn't hesitate to reach out for help. 

Stating, "We Go to War for You," Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are here to stand by your side every step of the way.


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