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When Poor Maintenance Leads to Injury: A Guide to Premises Liability Claims

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In 2016, a woman filed a premises liability lawsuit against Walgreens seeking $1 million dollars in compensation after tripping and falling as she exited the Walgreens store in Beaumont, TX. The woman claims she fell and suffered multiple injuries and cuts to her face, neck, and back after tripping on a tattered mat in front of the store and hitting the concrete sidewalk. This is just one of many examples of premises liability cases in which a victim was injured because a property owner failed to adequately maintain their premises. The attorneys at the Oberg Law Office go over how poor maintenance can be the grounds for a personal injury lawsuit and explain the steps you may take to recover compensation after being hurt on someone else’s property.

How Can Poor Maintenance Cause People to Get Injured on Someone’s Property?

In Texas, property owners are expected to take care of their property and make it safe for visitors, which may require regular inspections, maintenance, cleaning, and repairs. For example, a retail store where issues such as broken fixtures, wet or slippery floors due to spills, leaks, or food items being dropped, and cracked sidewalks with uneven surfaces pose a hazard to both visitors and employees as all of these issues could have been identified and repaired with a proper maintenance protocol.

Other issues, such as lights and security cameras that are not working properly, locks that are broken and cannot be secured, and even elevators and escalators that are not regularly inspected and maintained, can pose a hazard and cause injuries to those present on the premises. All of these items are the responsibility of the property owner, and a failure to detect and repair these issues could be considered negligence.

Who Is at Fault for an Injury Caused by Inadequate Maintenance?

If a person is lawfully present on someone else’s property (meaning they are not trespassing or entering the property with the intention of committing a crime) and gets hurt because of a hazard resulting from poor maintenance, the property owner may likely be responsible for that person’s injuries and damages. If the injury occurred in a private residence, then the victim may be able to file a claim with the insurance company that provides homeowner’s coverage for that residence.

If the injury took place at a business, such as a grocery store, the victim may be able to obtain damages compensation by filing a claim with the insurance company that provides liability coverage for that business. However, in many cases, filing a lawsuit against the property owner may be the only feasible option. In that case, it is best to contact a skilled premises liability lawyer to discuss your case.

When Can a Third Party Be Sued for a Premises Liability Accident?

In some cases, the problem that led to a plaintiff getting injured can be traced back to a third party rather than the property owner. For example, suppose the owner of a commercial property hired a paving company to repair the parking lot and fix several potholes. The company resurfaced most of the parking lot but failed to adequately repair a pothole near the busiest area of the lot. A few days later, a customer ended up tripping and falling because they did not see the pothole as they walked back to their parked vehicle.

In this case, it could be determined that the paving company is mostly at fault for the accident and thus may be held liable for any damages suffered by the plaintiff. Shifting the liability to a third-party defendant is rather common in premises liability cases. Other common examples of third-party defendants can include a security company that failed to provide adequate security measures and allowed criminal activity to threaten visitors at a business or an elevator maintenance company that did not adequately train its employees to repair faulty equipment. In some cases, it is also possible for the property owner and the third-party defendant to share liability for the accident.

What Should You Do if You Are Injured While on Someone Else’s Property?

If you are hurt while visiting a private property or place of business, be sure to get medical help right away if your injuries are severe. If possible, you will also want to document your surroundings and take pictures or videos of the issue you believe caused your accident. Retain a copy of your medical records and take pictures of your injuries. You may also try to find out if your accident was captured by any security camera, as video footage of the incident may be extremely helpful for your case. Finally, you will want to write down the name and contact information of any witnesses who may have seen what happened, then reach out to a premises liability attorney as soon as possible.

Working with a skilled attorney is key, as premises liability cases are the most common type of personal injury case, and certain types of claims, such as slip-and-falls, can be seen as frivolous by insurance companies and by the court. An experienced attorney can help you build a strong case by providing evidence of your injuries and damages and effectively linking them to the property owner’s negligence.

If you were a victim of an accident caused by a property owner’s failure to maintain their premises free of hazards, contact the attorneys at the Oberg Law Office. Our legal team has helped countless injured clients in the Mesquite, TX, area, and we are ready to help you stand up for your rights. Contact us today at 972-672-9700.

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