For many people, the term "premises liability" conjures mental images of dramatic slip-and-fall accidents. While that is one significant source of liability for business owners, it is not the only issue. Businesses open to the public and landlords of all kinds also incur premises liability for any injury related to inadequate maintenance of a property.
Negligence on the part of a landlord or a business can lead to serious ramifications for visitors and tenants. One such risk, experienced all too often by people in Austin, is the potential for violence and crime in areas without adequate lighting or security systems. If you suffered serious injuries or property loss as the result of a crime that occurred on someone else's property, you may have legal grounds to seek compensation from the property owner, landlord or business owner.
Adequate lighting is critical for safety as well as security
Inadequate lighting in a parking lot, alleyway or stairway can result in serious injuries. When people can't see where they're going, there is the potential for a slip-and-fall accident or even an otherwise preventable motor vehicle collision.
Running bright lights all night is not necessarily the best solution. That can be expensive and contribute to light pollution in the Austin area. Instead, many property owners choose to install motion-activated safety and security lights. These lights will only turn on when someone is nearby. That helps cut down on the cost and ensures that people have proper lighting when they move through a dark space.
Failure to maintain or negligence are usually important factors in a premises liability case. Demonstrating that there was a complete lack of lighting or inadequate lighting in a publicly accessible space can help you develop a premises liability case against a property manager or business owner.
Premise liability usually includes crimes, even if the business isn't involved
Victims of violent crimes including assault, muggings and similar traumatic events all too often assume the only person they can hold accountable for the crime is the perpetrator. While a criminal conviction or even a lawsuit against the person who engaged in criminal activity is a form of justice, it is not the only option for victims of violent crimes.
When those crimes occur on a property open to the public that has inadequate security or lighting, the property owner or landlord may also have some share of the responsibility. If it is possible to argue that better security systems or lighting would have prevented the crime from taking place, that could be adequate grounds for bringing a premises liability lawsuit in the wake of a criminal act.
Each case is unique, so it is in your best interest to carefully review the facts of the crime and consult with someone who better understands Texas premises liability law than you do.