As customers, when we frequent a business (regardless of the industry), we have certain expectations. Chief among those is that we expect to leave the business in the same condition as when we arrived. And yet, all too often, customers are injured due to a business’ carelessness. What does the law require of them?
The duty of care
Under Texas law, customers are what’s known as an ‘invitee’. This means they are on the property with the business’ knowledge and permission, for the benefit of both the customer and the business. For invitee’s, businesses are required to give the utmost duty of care. This not only means that a business must avoid actions which would be considered unreasonable – it also contains an affirmative element. Businesses must also make safe any dangerous conditions, or at least warn customers about them. The requirement applies not only to conditions the business knows about, but to conditions it could have discovered with a reasonable inspection.
Negligence and premises liability
When a business fails in their duty, and a customer is injured as a result of the failure, the business is considered legally negligent. This is the basis of premises liability, which gives the injured customer the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the business. The right to sue exists so that the customer can be made whole again, compensating them for the injury they sustained.
Texas law gives the injured customer two years to file such a lawsuit, counted from the date the injury occurred. It is a powerful tool at your disposal and gives you the opportunity to hold the business accountable for their actions.