Premises Liability and Personal Liability: What’s the Difference?
If you slipped and fell at a store or suffered some other injury while on commercial property, you may be looking for a premises liability lawyer. One of the first questions you will likely ask your attorney is, “Who do I sue?”
The question of who you are eligible to sue for an accident or injury suffered on a property comes down to liability. Specifically, it is a matter of premises liability vs. personal liability. This means determining who is the at-fault party and then filing your claim against their insurer to recover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and all other damages.
What is the Difference Between Premises Liability and Personal Liability?
You are probably thinking, “I know who caused my accident. I know who to sue.” The truth, however, is that personal injury claims are rarely straightforward. Especially if that personal injury lawsuit involved a commercial entity, business, or property.
Two common types of liability found in personal injury claims are personal and premises.
Typically, if an injury is caused by a hazardous condition on a property, the injured party would file a premises liability lawsuit. On the other hand, if the injury was the result of the actions of an individual, you would pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Then what happens in a slip and fall accident?
If a person slips on spilled liquid at a grocery store in Dallas, the slip was caused by a hazardous condition on the property. But what about the individual that spilled the liquid? Also, what about the employees that saw the liquid, but did not clean it up or even make shoppers aware of the spill? Wouldn’t that be personal liability?
It is easy to see how quickly the question of premises liability vs. personal liability can spiral into confusion. It is also easy to see why it is so essential that you hire an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney to handle your claim.
But first, let’s take a closer look at what makes up a premises liability case and what makes up a personal liability case.
When Can You File a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
As stated above, premises liability occurs when a person is injured by a hazardous condition on a property. When you file a premises liability lawsuit, you are typically focusing your claim on the location, the property, and the property owner.
Generally speaking, premises liability claims share two characteristics:
- The injury took place on the owner’s property.
- The injury occurred because the property owner failed to take reasonable care to make the property safe.
It is also important to remember that business owners due hold a certain amount of responsibility for their employees’ actions.
With that in mind, let us revisit the slip and fall at the Dallas grocery store. A spill occurred, the employees on duty failed to take reasonable action to clean the spill or inform shoppers of the spill, a customer slipped on the liquid and suffered a slip and fall injury.
In this case, your slip and fall lawyer would likely pursue a premises liability claim against the business owner and their insurer.
A final point is that premises liability claims are not limited to commercial properties. Owners, occupiers, and managers of residential properties can be sued as well. It is also important to remember that premises liability laws can vary by state.
Some of the most common types of premises liability in Texas are:
- Slip and falls
- Trip and falls
- Poor maintenance
- Inadequate security
- Dog bites
- Toxic chemical exposure
When Is an Injury on a Property Personal Liability?
Personal liability normally focuses on the actions of an individual who harmed you or failed to take reasonable care to prevent an injury. While a matter of personal liability can certainly take place on a property, the injury is not tied to the property or the property owner.
Personal liability is also what we think of when we generally consider personal injury cases, such as car accidents.
Sticking to the setting of the Dallas grocery store, let us say another shopper is not paying attention and runs into you with their shopping cart. You are knocked down and injure your arm, and you require medical attention.
The incident took place in the store and the shopping cart is property of the store, but, in this case, there is no reasonable action the owner or employees could have taken to prevent your injuries. Instead, responsibility for your injury rests solely on the actions of the other shopper.
In this case, your Dallas injury lawyer would most likely file a claim against the other shopper under personal liability.
What Should I Do After a Premises Liability Accident?
If you are injured in a slip and fall or another kind of premises liability accident, there are steps you can take to protect your health and your claim for compensation.
- Seek medical attention immediately. Any Dallas premises liability attorney will tell you your health is paramount. Make sure you seek medical attention and treatment for your injuries as soon as possible. This will also help ensure your injuries are properly documented if you choose to pursue a lawsuit.
- File an accident report. Filing an accident report can help lock down the details of your premises liability accident and injury. Whether that report is made to a store manager, landlord, property owner, management team, or department supervisor, inform someone.
- Document the scene. Document as much information as possible from the accident. Do so in writing and with photos if possible. Gather the names and contact information for witnesses as well as of anyone you spoke to about the accident. Take pictures of the scene and the hazards present when you injury occurred.
- Keep Conversations Limited. While you do want to report your accident, don’t let the conversation drag on too long. The more you say, the more that can be used to try to challenge your claim for compensation.
- Avoid Speaking to Insurance Companies. Every slip and fall attorney will tell you that the insurance company is not there to help. They want to limit their liability and, in turn, the amount they will have to pay. Consult with your attorney before communicating with the insurance adjuster or company related to the case.
Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident in Dallas? Call Thomas J. Henry Law
If you are looking for a lawyer for a slip and fall case or premises liability accident, call Thomas J. Henry Law.
For more than 25 years, our law firm has helped injured clients recover compensation for premises liability accidents and store injury settlements. We have the experience and resources to handle your claim, and we have the money to take on the largest business in the world.
We know this is a confusing and stressful time in your life, and we want to help. Call now to speak with a Dallas slip and fall attorney and take the first steps towards getting your life back on track. You just worry about getting better, we will handle the rest.