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Premises Liability and Foreseeable Harm

The Haslam Firm  Nov. 16, 2023

If you've been injured on someone else's property, it can be a challenging time. Along with potential physical injuries, you may also be facing financial losses from medical bills and lost wages. Even though you may feel the weight of an overwhelming burden during this time—physically, emotionally, financially—you have to remember that you have options. That's where we come in.
 
At The Haslam Firm, our attorneys are here to help you navigate this complex situation, especially as it relates to an often misunderstood aspect of premises liability: foreseeable harm. While many people assume the property owner is automatically responsible for any harm that happens on their premises, this isn't always the case. No matter your specific situation, it's important to contact a local law firm that has seen these kinds of cases before.  
If you live in Fort Worth or anywhere else in Texas, set up a one-on-one consultation with our team at The Haslam Firm to get started. 

Premises Liability in Texas 

How does the concept of premises liability relate to foreseeable harm in the state of Texas? First, it's important to understand what premises liability is, and what actions—or inactions—may constitute an entity's liability.  

What Is Premises Liability?  

Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners responsible for injuries that occur on their property due to negligence. This includes any type of property, such as private homes, commercial buildings, public spaces, and even government-owned property. Generally speaking, a key factor in determining liability is whether or not the property owner failed to maintain their property and keep it reasonably safe for visitors.  

Do I Have a Time Limit To File a Claim? 

Yes. There is a statute of limitations in Texas for premises liability claims: two years from the date of the incident. That's one reason it's important to contact a premises liability attorney as soon as you think you may need help. 

Another reason why legal guidance is so vital is that an attorney can help you understand the concept of foreseeable harm and how it might come into play in your case. In order for premises liability to be on the table at all, there must be an element of foreseeability. 

Foreseeable Harm in Premise Liability Cases 

Foreseeable harm refers to the potential danger or risk that can reasonably be predicted on a property. In the context of premises liability, it's about whether the property owner could reasonably predict that their negligence would cause harm in a given set of circumstances. 

For instance, if a grocery store fails to clean up a spill promptly, it's foreseeable that a customer might slip and fall. However, if a power line suddenly falls due to a sudden storm, causing injury, this might not be foreseeable.  

Another example: suppose a hotel owner fails to fix a broken handrail on a staircase. If a guest falls and is injured because of the broken handrail, the harm could be considered foreseeable, as the owner should have known that the broken handrail could potentially cause an accident. On the other hand, if a healthy, well-maintained tree on the property is struck by lightning and falls, injuring a guest, this may not be considered foreseeable harm as the owner had no reason to anticipate such an event. This distinction is crucial in premises liability cases. 

Ultimately, the property owner has a duty to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm on their property. This means keeping the property safe and addressing any potential hazards promptly. When this reasonable care has not been taken, you need to reach out to a lawyer. 

Private vs. Public Property Claims 

Whether it's your neighbor's home, local grocery store, or even a government entity, you may be able to file a claim against any negligent property owner. The key factor here is negligence that leads to harm, regardless of the property type. However, filing a claim against a government entity may have additional requirements and limitations. It's important to consult with an experienced attorney as to the difference between a private property claim and a public property claim. 

Potential Damages You Can Recover 

If your claim is successful, you could recover damages for various losses. These generally include medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, among others. The specific amount will depend on the specifics of your case. The goal is for you to move forward after your injury, and financial compensation can help you do that. 

The Importance of Seeking Legal Guidance 

Don't wait to get help with your premises liability case. Reach out to a qualified attorney who can assist you during this frustrating time. Navigating any kind of personal injury can be overwhelming without the right legal guidance, especially because there are so many moving pieces to the legal system. At The Haslam Firm, we have experience in representing clients in these types of cases throughout Texas. Our attorneys, Robert A. Haslam and Bob Haslam, understand the nuances of premises liability law and can help you pursue a path forward. 

Take Your Next Step 

Understanding premises liability and foreseeable harm is the first step toward protecting your rights. If you've been injured due to someone else's negligence, it's vital to reach out to a professional. No matter where you live in Texas—including throughout the Dallas and Houston areas—we invite you to reach out to our team at The Haslam Firm. We're ready to listen, understand your situation, and explore the best possible legal avenues for your case.