Austin Premises Liability Lawyer

Property owners are responsible for keeping their property free of hazards. When an accident occurs because a property owner or manager failed to maintain a safe environment, they might be held liable for any injuries resulting from their negligence. Whether it’s a mall, restaurant, hotel, apartment building, or simply private property, owners must take reasonable steps to keep guests and tenants safe.

If you suffered injuries due to a hazard on someone else’s property, an experienced premises liability lawyer in Austin can guide you through the legal process. At Loewy Law Firm, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of those injured due to negligence. Contact us for a free legal case review.

Understanding Premises Liability in Austin, TX

premises liability lawyer

Texas Premises liability laws dictate that if you sustain an injury on someone else’s property due to a negligent condition, the property owner may be held liable. In Austin, Texas, a property owner’s duty of care depends on the visitor’s status and the owner’s knowledge of any potential dangers. Property owners must provide adequate warnings of known hazards to visitors. They must also use reasonable care to maintain their premises to prevent foreseeable injuries. In Texas, the statute of limitations for premises liability cases is two years, meaning lawsuits must be filed within two years of the injury in order to recover compensation.

The Duty of Property Owners

In Texas, the responsibility of ensuring a safe environment for authorized guests and visitors falls on property owners. For example, swimming pools require thorough safety assessments to address potential dangers such as slippery pavement, sharp edges, harsh chemicals, or unsafe drains. Similarly, they have a duty to prevent injuries to children by securing against property dangers, such as by installing fences around pools or hiring lifeguards during events. If a property owner neglects these duties and a visitor is harmed, the right Austin premises liability lawyer can assist in pursuing just compensation.

Visitor Classifications and Their Rights

Under Texas premises liability laws, visitors are not all accorded the same rights. The law recognizes three types of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers, each with different rights and protections.


Definition: Individuals who enter the property for business dealings with the property owner, such as customers in a store.


  • Property must be maintained to prevent injury.
  • Property owners must regularly inspect for and rectify any unknown hazards.
  • Immediate action is required to address known dangers.


Definition: Visitors who are on the property for social reasons, not business purposes, and have the owner’s consent to be there.


  • Must be warned of dangerous conditions known to the property owner that the visitor is unlikely to discover.
  • Property owners are not required to conduct regular searches for potential hazards.
  • Known hazards must either be fixed or clearly marked until repairs can be made.


Definition: Individuals who enter the property without any right, invitation, or consent.

Adult Trespassers:

  • Generally, property owners owe no duty of care, except to avoid intentional harm.

Child Trespassers:

  • Must be protected from attractive nuisances—potentially dangerous items or conditions that might attract children onto the property (e.g., swimming pools, trampolines).

Types of Premises Liability Cases We Handle

Premises liability incidents in Texas cover a wide range, from apartment complexes and event venues to grocery stores, hotels, workplaces, and amusement parks. They can often involve situations such as slip and falls, inadequate maintenance, negligent security, dog bites, and swimming pool accidents.

Our Austin attorneys handle a wide array of premises liability cases, including, but not limited to:

Below is more information about these different case types.

Slip and Fall Accidents

A common type of premises liability case is a slip and fall accident. In Texas, the ‘premises liability’ legal doctrine addresses these claims, taking into account the property owner’s duty of care and the visitor’s status. Often, a primary cause of slip and fall accidents is poor maintenance, such as:

  • Unmaintained Wet Floors in Grocery Stores: Often caused by spills or cleaning without proper signage, leading to slippery surfaces.
  • Uneven or Cracked Sidewalks: Resulting from poor maintenance, these hazards can cause trips and falls, especially in areas with high foot traffic.
  • Loose or Missing Handrails on Staircases: Critical for stability and support, their absence or disrepair significantly increases the risk of falls.
  • Inadequate Lighting in Parking Lots: Poor lighting can obscure vision, making it difficult to navigate safely and avoid potential obstacles.

This situation places a significant responsibility on the property owner to ensure safety on their property and avoid any potential harm to else’s property, as property owner negligence may lead to legal consequences for a negligent property owner.

Negligent Security Incidents

Another category of premises liability cases revolves around inadequate security. In Austin, these cases involve property owners failing to protect visitors from foreseeable criminal activities, which can lead to a range of violent crimes including assaults and robberies. Some indicators of inadequate security include:

  • Poor Lighting: Dimly lit areas, especially in parking lots, pathways, and building entrances, increase the risk of assaults or accidents as they provide cover for criminal activities and reduce visibility.
  • Faulty Locks: Broken or easily bypassed locks on doors and windows compromise the security of a building, allowing unauthorized access that can lead to thefts or personal attacks.
  • Breaches in Fencing: Gaps or damages in perimeter fencing can serve as entry points for intruders, undermining the safety of the property and its occupants.
  • Missing Warning Signs: The absence of signs warning of potential dangers or indicating areas under surveillance can embolden criminal activity, as there is no deterrent for trespassers.
  • Absence of On-site Security Personnel: The lack of security guards or surveillance personnel removes a crucial layer of protection and response to security breaches or emergencies, making a property more vulnerable to criminal acts.

For instance, in apartment complexes, the lack of proper security gates and lighting is often cited in inadequate security incidents, while bars and venues that serve alcohol may face issues due to the increased potential for altercations.

Construction Site Accidents

Construction sites in Texas are governed by strict safety regulations, yet accidents still occur, exposing workers and sometimes even passersby to risk. Premises liability for construction site accidents typically involves:

  • Unmarked Hazards: Failure to properly signal dangerous areas or ongoing construction can lead to falls, equipment injuries, or being struck by moving objects.
  • Inadequate Safety Measures: Lack of protective gear like helmets, goggles, or harnesses increases the risk of injury.
  • Poorly Maintained Equipment: Tools and machinery that are not regularly checked and maintained can malfunction, causing serious injuries.
  • Open Excavations: Unsecured or unmarked excavation sites are significant fall hazards for workers and visitors alike.
  • Insufficient Training: Workers not fully trained on safety protocols and equipment use are more susceptible to accidents.

Property owners and contractors are required to ensure that construction sites comply with safety standards to protect workers and the public from harm. Negligence in this regard can lead to liability for accidents and legal actions for compensation.

Accidents at Amusement Parks

Amusement parks in Texas must adhere to strict safety standards to prevent accidents. When safety is neglected, patrons are at risk. Premises liability for amusement park accidents can arise from:

  • Faulty Ride Mechanics: Broken or poorly maintained ride equipment leading to malfunctions.
  • Operator Error: Mishandling of rides or failure to properly secure guests.
  • Poor Signage: Lack of warnings about ride risks or inadequate safety instructions.
  • Crowding Issues: Overcrowding that leads to accidents in lines or common areas.

Dog Bites

Owners are liable under Texas law if their dog bites someone, especially if the dog has a history of aggression. Factors in these cases include:

  • Unrestrained Dogs: Allowing a dog known to be aggressive to roam freely.
  • No Warning Given: Failing to inform visitors or passersby about a dangerous dog.
  • Previous Incidents: Owners aware of their dog’s aggressive behavior not taking preventive measures.

Swimming Pool Accidents

Property owners with pools are responsible for maintaining a safe environment to prevent accidents, which might include:

  • Unsecured Pool Area: Failing to fence off or cover pools adequately.
  • Slippery Surfaces: Not addressing wet and slippery conditions around the pool.
  • Poor Maintenance: Ignoring the upkeep of pool ladders, diving boards, or poolside equipment.
  • Lack of Supervision: Not providing adequate supervision or lifeguards in public or semi-public pools.

Common Injuries in Premises Liability Cases

Premises liability cases involve a variety of dangerous accidents that can cause serious, life-altering injuries. Some of the most common types of injuries in premises liability cases are:

  • Traumatic brain injuries: A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a severe head injury that can have lasting effects on an individual’s health, quality of life, and ability to work. This type of injury can occur after a slip and fall, an assault, or any other incident that results in a violent blow to the head.
  • Spinal injuries: Spinal cord injuries range in severity and can cause long-term disability, paralysis, and chronic pain. These injuries can occur when an individual is involved in a car accident or suffers a fall from a great height.
  • Burns: Serious burns can occur due to contact with hot liquids, steam, chemicals, flames, or electricity. Burn injuries can be life-threatening, require months of hospitalization, and result in permanent scarring or disfigurement.
  • Bites, scratches, and lacerations: Animal bites and lacerations can require medical attention and ongoing treatment. They may also result in scarring or disfigurement.
  • Broken or fractured bones: Slipping on wet floors, falling down stairs, or being involved in an accident can cause fractures or broken bones.
  • Drowning: Swimming pool drownings are one of the most common premises liability incidents. Property owners are responsible for maintaining their pools’ safety and preventing such accidents.

Special Considerations for Public vs. Private Property

While premises liability generally applies to both public and private property, there are some distinctions in the legal approach to incidents on these properties. Texas has specific laws addressing liability in public spaces, which can differ from those applicable to private property. Understanding these differences is crucial, as it impacts the legal process and potential compensation in a premises liability case.

The Role of an Austin Premises Liability Attorney

After a premises liability accident, contacting a lawyer immediately can prevent the property owner from potentially covering up or repairing the hazard that led to the injury, thereby preserving evidence for the case. Premises liability lawyers, such as The Loewy Law Firm, typically operate on a contingency basis, meaning they receive payment only if they win the case. The no-upfront fee structure aligns their interests with those of the client, incentivizing them to pursue the highest possible compensation.

Some of the key actions your attorney will take in your case are:

  • Case Review
  • Establish Liability
  • Negotiate with Insurance Companies
  • Litigate in Court if Necessary

We shall further examine these steps.

Reviewing Your Case and Establishing Liability

Reviewing your case and establishing liability is the first step in a premises liability case. This process involves proving that the property owner had a duty to ensure safety, breached this duty, and the breach caused the injury, resulting in damages. Gathering critical evidence for premises liability claims like photos, videos, maintenance records, witness testimonies, and police reports is a key part of this phase and will also be important later during insurance negotiations.

Expert witnesses can highly influence the determination of liability and fortify the premises liability claim, especially during negotiations. An experienced attorney will be instrumental in this process, performing the following:

  • Assessing Injuries and Expenses
  • Gathering Proof of Negligence
  • Unearthing Deeper Evidence that Holds Negligent Property Owners Accountable
  • Seeking Rightful Compensation

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Once liability is established, negotiations with the insurance company commence. An attorney’s effective negotiation with the insurance company is essential for securing adequate compensation. Employing a range of negotiation techniques, including a thorough understanding of the insurance policy, systematic documentation of all interactions, and invoking expert opinions, an attorney reinforces the demand for fair compensation. It’s not uncommon for insurance adjusters to attempt to mitigate the amount of compensation by alleging a greater degree of fault on the part of the claimant, a tactic that attorneys will counter.

Your attorney will be professional and persistent in communication with insurance companies, while methodically presenting an evidence-based case, which will be important in securing a fair settlement.

Litigating in Court if Necessary

If negotiations with the insurance company come to naught or the settlement offer is deemed unsatisfactory, the case may then escalate the case to court to seek a fair resolution. An attorney’s readiness to go to court if necessary demonstrates their commitment to their client’s rights. Success in court hinges on the strength of the evidence collected, such as medical records and any exchanges with the property owner.

Having a good premises liability attorney is especially critical in cases with complex claims, contested liability, low settlement offers, denied claims, or when severe injuries are involved.

Damages You Can Recover in a Premises Liability Case

If the property owner is deemed liable in premises liability cases, plaintiffs may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages typically include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, potential future medical treatment, and lost earning capacity. On the other hand, non-economic damages may encompass pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and loss of consortium.

Victims may also recover damages for vocational rehabilitation, household services, and various out-of-pocket costs.

Economic Damages

Economic damages in premises liability cases commonly cover expenses such as hospitalization, doctor visits, prescriptions, and physical therapy costs, as well as expenditures for assistive devices. Victims can claim compensation for lost income due to the injury, including potential future earnings if the injury affects their ability to work leading to a loss of earning capacity.

Economic damages may also involve financial recovery for the repair or replacement of personal property that was damaged because of the incident.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages in premises liability cases lack intrinsic monetary value but can significantly influence the outcome of a settlement or court award. These damages may include:

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Mental Anguish
  • Reduced Quality of Life
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of Companionship

Loss of consortium is a particular non-economic damage that spouses may be entitled to recover following an injury to their partner.

Non-economic damages are subjective, and their valuation is entrusted to either the jury or the judge’s assessment in personal injury cases, including premises liability scenarios. Proving non-economic damages typically requires testimonies regarding the injury’s impact on the individual’s everyday life and interpersonal relationships.

Texas Comparative Negligence Laws and Their Impact on Premises Liability Cases

Texas follows the modified comparative negligence laws, under which the compensation is determined based on the plaintiff’s percentage of fault in personal injury and premises liability cases. This means that if a victim is partially at fault for an accident, the court will reduce their potential monetary award by their percentage of fault. For example, if a victim is 20% at fault, the court will only award them 80% of the compensation.

The 51% Rule

Under Texas law, a plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by their own percentage of fault, however, no compensation is awarded if the injured party is more than 50 percent at fault in a premises liability case. If an injured party is determined to be less than 51% responsible for an accident, they may still recover compensation, but it is adjusted based on their degree of fault.

Proving Owner Liability

Proving owner liability in Texas requires demonstrating that the property owner’s negligence was a material factor in their injury. This involves establishing the following elements:

  1. The property owner had a duty of care.
  2. The owner breached this duty.
  3. The breach directly caused an injury.
  4. The injury resulted in damages.

Given the shared fault laws in Texas and the complexity of these cases, it becomes clear that hiring an attorney is the best option for any victim hoping to secure justice and fair compensation.

Premises Liability Exception: Open and Obvious Hazards

Open and Obvious Hazards Defined

These are potential dangers that are visible and recognizable to a reasonable person. Essentially, if a hazard is clear enough that someone could notice and avoid it, it’s considered open and obvious. For example, construction debris in areas undergoing construction, left in plain view, such as piles of bricks or lumber, could be seen as an open and obvious hazard if it’s not hidden or obscured. Here are a few other examples of potential dangers that could be considered open and obvious hazards:

  • Ice on Sidewalks: Visible ice patches that form in known areas, especially during winter months, can be considered open and obvious if they are in plain sight and could be avoided by a cautious person.
  • Standing Water: Areas of standing water that are clear and visible in places such as outdoor walkways or parking lots, where no obstructions prevent a person from seeing and avoiding them.
  • Exposed Tree Roots: Large, exposed roots of trees in a park or yard that protrude significantly above ground, making them visible to anyone walking nearby.
  • Broken Pavement in Well-Lit Areas: Cracks or uneven surfaces in pavement that are large and visible, especially in areas that are well-lit and where no visual obstructions exist.
  • Brightly Colored Obstacles: Objects that are brightly colored or marked with warning signs, placed in open areas where they are easily seen.
  • Elevated Platforms Without Guardrails: When an elevated platform is missing guardrails or barriers, but its elevation is clear and visible, making the potential danger apparent to those approaching it.
  • Visible Signs of Disrepair: Significant signs of disrepair, like a dilapidated staircase or visibly rotten wooden structures in recreational areas, that indicate a risk to those considering using them.

Impact on Premises Liability Claims

The presence of an open and obvious hazard affects a claim because Texas law may not hold property owners strictly liable for injuries caused by such hazards. The rationale is that individuals have a responsibility to protect themselves from clear dangers. If a hazard could have been avoided with reasonable care by the visitor, the property owner’s duty to warn or remove the hazard might be diminished.

Exceptions and Considerations

This principle doesn’t give property owners a free pass on all obvious hazards. The specific circumstances surrounding the hazard, such as the property owner’s failure to address a known danger that could not be avoided by a visitor, might still lead to liability. Also, the law often makes distinctions based on the visitor’s status (invitee, licensee, trespasser) and the expectations of safety tied to each category.

Although open and obvious hazards can influence premises liability claims in Texas, each situation is unique. The outcome often hinges on the specific details of the hazard, the actions of both the property owner and the injured party, and the legal status of the visitor. The complexity of the open and obvious hazard exception is a reminder of why victims should consult with an attorney experienced in these cases.

Choosing the Right Austin Premises Liability Attorney

An attorney’s experience, ethical and effective methods, and approach to client service can significantly impact the outcome of a premises liability case.

Experience and Track Record

Investigate the outcomes of the attorney’s previous cases. While numbers don’t tell the whole story, a history of favorable verdicts or settlements in premises liability claims can signal the attorney’s proficiency in this area and their ability to secure just compensation.

Personalized Service and Communication

An attorney’s focus on their client is essential for a strong case. Here’s how the right lawyer demonstrates this in Austin premises liability cases:

  • Direct Communication: Frequent, clear updates on case status.
  • Responsiveness: Timely responses to any client questions.
  • Open Relationship: Clear expectations set from the start, with honest discussions about case progress and outcomes.

Strategic Legal Action

In premises liability cases, the approach and planning by an attorney are decisive for the outcome. Here are the key elements of strategic legal action:

  • Case Assessment: Initial thorough review to build a solid foundation.
  • Negotiation Skills: Leveraging evidence and legal knowledge to argue for fair compensation with insurance companies.
  • Trial Preparedness: Ready to advocate in court when settlement offers are inadequate, showing a commitment to client justice.

There are many Austin premises liability attorneys to choose from, but your choice for an attorney shapes your premises liability case’s path. The right lawyer, a lawyer skilled in negotiation, trial, and client communication can turn legal challenges into opportunities for justice and compensation. The Loewy Law Firm possesses all the attributes and skills to lead you to a successful resolution, securing the maximum compensation possible for your case.

Wrapping it Up

Having a basic understanding of these laws and working with an experienced Austin premises liability attorney will make all the difference in the outcome of your case. From the duties of property owners to the rights of different visitors, the types of premises liability cases, and the potential damages one can recover, Loewy Law Firm will help you through your claim on the path to securing fair compensation. Contact us today at (512) 280-0800 or email us using our contact form.