What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability refers to the responsibility that a property owner or occupier has to maintain safe conditions on their premises. You could have a premises liability claim if you’ve been injured on someone else’s property. 

To help you understand your rights, here’s an overview of premises liability in Texas. If you have specific questions about your case, a Bedford personal injury lawyer can help you navigate a premises liability claim. 

Premises Liability in Texas

Premises liability is a type of negligence claim in Texas. Under Texas law, the person who owns or occupies a property has a duty to keep the property in a safe condition. This means taking reasonable precautions to create a safe environment. 

The duty of care changes based on the facts of each case, but the key elements of a Texas premises liability are consistent in all types of cases. 

Elements of Premises Liability in Texas

The injured party, or plaintiff, must prove four elements to be successful in a premises liability case. 

Here’s a brief look at each element that the plaintiff must prove: 

  1. The condition of the property created an unreasonable risk of harm. 
  2. The defendant, the property owner or occupier, knew or should have known of the harm presented by this condition. 
  3. The defendant breached the duty of care by failing to warn the plaintiff of the condition and failing to make the condition reasonably safe. 
  4. The defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury, and they suffered damages.

Duty of Care in Premises Liability Cases 

A primary issue in premises liability cases is the duty of care the defendant owes the plaintiff. 

Under Texas law, the defendant’s duty of care changes based on the reason the plaintiff was on the property. This means there is a higher level of care owed to some plaintiffs than others. Determining the plaintiffs’ reason for being on the property impacts the defendant’s liability. 

There are three categories of visitors in premises liability cases: invitee, licensee, and trespasser. Property owners owe a different standard of care to each type of visitor.


An invitee is an individual on the property in a business or a commercial setting. An invitee has an implied invitation to be on the premises. Examples of invitees are diners at a restaurant, customers at a store, or guests at a hotel. 

Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees and must protect invitees from known reasonable risks and foreseeable risks that the owner could identify with a simple inspection. In premises liability cases, we refer to this as a duty to inspect. 

Property owners must fix all known conditions and inspect the property for additional hazards. Owners must either repair the condition, make the condition safe, or warn invitees of the hazard. 


A licensee is a person who has been given permission to be on the premises for non-commercial reasons. This can be a social guest, a neighbor, or a delivery driver. Owners owe a lower duty of care to licensees than they owe to invitees. Owners do not owe licensees a duty to inspect, but they do have a duty to fix or make safe any known dangerous conditions. 

To successfully bring a premises liability case as a licensee, you have to prove: 

  • The owner knew about the risk and knew the licensee was unlikely to know about the risk. 
  • The owner failed to make the condition safe or notify the licensee. 
  • The licensee didn’t know or have reason to know that the condition existed. 

The main difference here is that you have to show that the defendant had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition. There is no duty to inspect for licensees. There is simply a duty to fix or warn of known hazards. 


As you might imagine, property owners owe an even lower duty of care to trespassers. A trespasser is someone who enters a property without consent. If the owner does not know the person is on the property, they owe them no duty of care. If the owner knows the trespasser is on the property, they simply must warn of any unnatural hazards. 

Property owners have no duty of care to inspect or keep premises safe for trespassers. Their only duty is to not harm a trespasser through gross negligence or willful or wanton conduct. 

Types of Premises Liability Cases in Texas

There are many different types of premises liability cases, but there are a few categories of cases that we frequently see. 

Here’s an overview of the premises liability cases we see the most: 

  • Slip and falls. These are the most common types of premises liability cases in Texas. Slip and fall cases are caused by spills, uneven ground, damaged walkways, broken railings, broken staircases, unexpected steps, unsecured electrical cords, and overgrown trees or bushes. 
  • Animal attacks. Dog bites and dog attacks do not always fall in the category of premises liability claims, but they often do. When animal attacks are the result of dangerous conditions or the owner’s negligence, they give rise to a premises liability case. 
  • Premises defect. In these cases, there is a known defect or hazard that the owner does not fix. 
  • Swimming pool accidents. Swimming pool accidents usually center around the owner’s negligence in protecting individuals from the pool – for example, not having proper fencing, gates, or coverings. 
  • Building Code violations. Negligence claims can arise when a building does not comply with applicable building codes. This can lead to property failures involving doors, staircases, and elevators. 

A Bedford Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help With Your Premises Liability Claim

If you’ve been injured in an accident on someone else’s property, you might have a premises liability claim. The first thing to do when you’re injured is to seek medical treatment. Getting the medical care you need is the number one priority. 

Next, contact a Texas premises liability lawyer to discuss your case. In Texas, plaintiffs must initiate premises liability cases within two years of the accident.  

A premises liability lawyer can analyze your case, determine the type of claim you have, and discuss the applicable laws. They can work with you to ensure you get the compensation you need for your injuries and losses.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers in Bedford for Help Today

For more information, please contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation today. We have convenient locations in Fort Worth and Bedford, Texas.

Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers – Fort Worth
209 N Hampton St,
Fort Worth, TX 76102

(817) 510-9400

Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers – Bedford
2317 Plaza Pkwy #100,
Bedford, TX 76021

(817) 503-9200