Hurt on a Friend or Neighbor’s Property: Should I Sue?
Under Texas law, property owners are legally required to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition for permitted visitors and warn about dangerous conditions. Essentially, a person who was injured in an accident on someone else's property may be entitled to seek damages by filing a claim or lawsuit against the negligent property or business owner. However, if the injury or accident occurred on a neighbor's or friend's property, you may be reluctant to file an injury claim or suit against them.
At The Law Office of Steve Brannan, we're poised and ready to guide and represent clients in their premises liability cases. Our highly-experienced Texas personal injury attorney can investigate every aspect of your unique situation and enlighten you about your possible options to recover damages. We're proud to serve clients across Odessa, Midland, Big Spring, Andrews, and Pecos, Texas, and throughout communities in West Texas.
"Premises liability" is a legal doctrine that is often referenced in situations where a person sustains an injury on another person's property or business as a result of the unsafe, defective, hazardous, or dangerous condition of the premises. According to Texas law, the property or business owner will be held liable for injuries that occur to permitted visitors or customers due to the property owner's negligence.
Types of Premises Liability Claims
Here are some common accidents or injuries that may occur and result in a premises liability claim:
Swimming pool accidents
Water leaks or flooding
Garage door accidents
Elevator and escalator accidents
Accidents due to inadequate property maintenance
Chemicals or toxic fumes
Stair accidents or defective staircases
Accidents involving fire
Negligent security leading to injury or assault
Construction site accidents
Dog bites and other animal attacks
If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident on someone else's premises, you should get in touch with a practiced personal injury lawyer right away. Your attorney can explore your available options to seek damages and help you hold the negligent property owner accountable.
Should I Sue My Friend or Neighbor?
If you sustain an injury on a friend or neighbor's property, you may be reluctant to file a claim or sue them to avoid crushing your relationship. Actually, you're filing a claim against the person's renters' or homeowners’ insurance policy. As such, their insurance provider will be the one to pay the claims and cover the cost of your injuries, but not your friend or neighbor directly.
The Issue of "Foreseeability"
As mentioned earlier, property and business owners are legally required to fix, repair, or warn visitors and customers about dangerous conditions or areas that are foreseeable. If a person becomes hurt due to a dangerous condition that the property owner knew or should have known about and could foreseeably harm visitors and customers, the property owner may be held liable.
Conversely, if the injury or accident happened in a way that wasn't foreseeable as a result of the property's condition, the property or business owner may not be held liable for any injuries suffered by the victim. Likewise, you cannot file a claim against the property owner for premises-related injuries suffered due to your own negligence or recklessness.
Filing an Insurance Claim
If you're hurt on a friend or neighbor's property, here are some of your possible options to seek compensation:
If your friend or neighbor has no insurance coverage, you can negotiate with them amicably to pay for part or all of your medical expenses, damages, and other accident-related losses. This may require working with a seasoned mediator to facilitate the discussions and negotiations and keep the conversation focused.
As an alternative, you can file a claim against the renters’ or homeowners’ insurance carrier of your neighbor or friend. You may be able to seek financial compensation for injuries and damages up to their coverage limit. An experienced lawyer can help file your claims, negotiate a fair settlement with the homeowner's insurer, and help recover the maximum available compensation.
Comparative Negligence in Texas
Additionally, Texas follows the "modified comparative negligence" rule, with a 51% bar. Under the system, a person who suffers a premises-related injury may only seek damages if their share of negligence is equal or lower (50% or less) than the defendant's. Also, the amount of compensation that may be recovered will be reduced by the victim's percentage of fault.
However, according to the modified comparative negligence principle, you will be completely barred from pursuing compensation if you were mostly (51% or more) at fault for your injuries on the person's property.
Consult an Attorney About Your Options
If you were hurt on your friend's or neighbor's property, you may be entitled to pursue damages. Contact us at The Law Office of Steve Brannan today to schedule a simple case evaluation with a reliable premises liability attorney. Our skilled lawyer will fight vigorously for your rights and help you seek the financial justice you deserve. We're proud to serve clients across Odessa, Midland, Big Spring, Andrews, and Pecos, Texas, and throughout communities in West Texas.