Brian White | June 6, 2023 | Premises Liability
Various people may visit your home, ranging from friends, family members, and friends of your children to professional colleagues, meter readers, handymen, and babysitters. If one of these people is injured while on your property, are you liable?
As with many questions in the law, the short answer is “It depends.” Property owners may be responsible for injuries that occur on their property, such as slips and falls. However, this is not always the case. An experienced lawyer can explain your legal rights and responsibilities.
What Are Your Responsibilities as a Homeowner?
As a homeowner, you generally have the duty of maintaining your property in a safe condition so that lawful visitors are not injured while on your property. The duty to maintain the property belongs to the owner of the property, as well as those exercising control over it, such as a property management company or tenant.
The legal duty you owe depends on the legal status of the visitor as follows:
- Invitee – An invitee is someone who is invited onto the property, generally for the benefit of the property owner. Customers at stores are considered invitees, for example. The property owner must warn invitees of or fix dangerous conditions the property owner knows about or could have reasonably discovered.
- Licensee – A licensee is someone the property owner has given consent to enter the property, such as a salesperson. Another example would be a guest at a friend’s dinner party. The property owner has a duty to warn licensees about known dangerous conditioners on the property.
- Trespasser – A trespasser is someone who enters a property without permission or lawful authority. Texas law states that the only duty property owners owe to trespassers is not to harm them through willful or wanton acts or gross negligence.
Responsibility for injuries that occur on the property does not usually include injuries caused by open and obvious conditions. These are conditions that a reasonable person would have seen and avoided.
What if Someone Is Injured on Your Property in Houston, Texas?
If someone is injured on your property, they will not necessarily have a viable claim against you. To have a valid claim, the injured party would have to show:
- You owed them a duty of care
- You breached the duty of care
- The breach caused the injury
- They suffered damages as a result of the breach
Therefore, if you’re wondering, “Am I liable if someone got hurt on my property?” the answer is, “Maybe not.” It all depends on the specific facts surrounding the case.
Is a Houston Homeowner Liable for a Contractor’s Injury?
Another common question that homeowners have is, “If a handyman was injured on my property, am I liable?” Texas law specifically addresses this situation and says that property owners are not liable for injuries an independent contractor suffers on their property for failing to provide a safe workplace unless both of the following conditions are true:
- The property owner is in control of the work performed, beyond the right to start and stop the work or inspect the progress of the project
- The property knew about the danger
A property owner may exercise control of the work performed if they perform tasks usually completed by a general contractor.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Someone Getting Hurt on Your Property?
If someone is injured on your property, your homeowners insurance may cover their losses, depending on how your insurance policy is worded. It is important to understand, however, that homeowners insurance will only pay up to the amount of your policy coverage. Therefore, if the injured person is seriously injured, you could be personally liable for any amount above your coverage limit.
If you have questions about your legal rights or responsibilities, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for advice and help.
Contact the Houston Premises Liability Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054