When it comes to premises liability claims in Texas, defendants will often go out of their way to try to paint the victim of a slip, trip or fall as the person who made a mistake. For example, when a store has cluttered, dirty floors that make safe travel in the facility more difficult, individuals entering the facility will likely be readily aware of the risks involved.
Businesses have previously attempted to claim that if someone knew of potential dangers and chose to enter anyway, they bear some contributory responsibility for the injury they incurred. Thankfully, the Texas Supreme Court has had to rule on the issue before, and their stance protects plaintiffs in personal injury cases.
Even if clutter or dangerous elements are visible, property owners must give warning
While it is potentially true that business owners can deflect some or all of the liability for personal injury scenario when the victim is aware of certain dangers and engages in behavior that leaves them vulnerable to injury, the owner of a business or buildings can never assume someone else knows about the dangers their facility for them.
Simply being readily visible doesn’t mean that someone will acknowledge or truly contemplate the potential consequences of dripping water, crisscrossed electrical cords or errant ball bearings rolling around. Only in a scenario where the property owner explicitly cautions the other individual about the risks inherent in their property due to lack of upkeep or maintenance can the property owner then claim that the victim there is at least some degree of contributory negligence.
Even if an owner issues a warning, someone with serious injuries may still have grounds for a premises liability claim against an insurance policy or against the business owner or manager, depending on the circumstances