New clients often ask who can be held responsible for an injury that happened at a store. Is a store liable for a customer injury? When you are injured in a store, the store may be liable and you may be able to name multiple entities as defendants in a civil lawsuit. The facts and circumstances of each case are unique, and these will determine how the case is litigated.
In the State of Texas, property owners may be liable for the injuries a customer suffers while on their premises. Multiple parties may be responsible for customer injuries because commercial property may be owned by one party and leased to another party. It is also possible that other parties may be liable for the injuries suffered by an accident victim.
If you suffered injuries due to a dangerous condition that arose due to the faulty structure of the building itself, the landlord could be a defendant named in the case.
If you suffered injuries due to store employees failing to keep the premises free of dangerous conditions, then the store itself could be named the defendant. An employer is generally liable for the torts of their employee if the employee was acting within the course and scope of their employment.
Establishing Liability for Customer Injuries
To establish liability in a slip and fall accident, for example, you must prove the four elements of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. Generally, this standard means a 51% or greater probability that the defendant caused the accident victim’s injuries.
Every property owner has a duty to act as a reasonably prudent person under similar circumstances. Breaching this duty and thereby causing someone to suffer injuries constitutes negligence. As a subtopic of tort law, negligence is one of the cornerstones of common law, which is codified in Texas state law.
Property owners must exercise reasonable care, and if they fail to do so, then this may establish the property owner’s liability. One important factor in premises liability lawsuits is the question of how much, if any, notice the defendant had regarding the dangerous conditions. It is important to ascertain:
- how the dangerous conditions arose,
- how long they remained present, and;
- which managers or employees had notice of the dangerous conditions on the property.
The Statute of Limitations for Customer Injuries
The statute of limitations is a period of time in which an injured party may file a civil lawsuit. The statute of limitations in Texas for personal injury actions is two years from the date of the injury. Every victim should contact a Texas personal injury attorney to determine if any exception to the statute of limitations may apply to their case and to ensure that their legal counsel has sufficient time to investigate and prepare their case before time runs out.
Filing a Lawsuit for Customer Injuries
The majority of injured parties do not begin a civil lawsuit by filing a complaint. First, legal counsel will perform an investigation of the accident’s causes while identifying the parties who may potentially be liable for the injuries suffered by the accident victim. During this preliminary stage, it is also important to gather as much evidence as possible which can be used to substantiate your legal claims.
Before filing a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party’s lawyer will send a demand letter or demand package to the defendant. Depending on the facts of the case, a demand letter may be two pages or more than ten pages. After the demand letter is transmitted, the other party will respond, and then settlement negotiations may begin. Both parties may attempt to reach a settlement agreement or they may want to obtain more evidence from each other in order to value the claim.
If the parties cannot agree to enter into a settlement agreement, then the injured party’s attorney will file a lawsuit. A copy will be served on the defendants in the case. This is known as “service of process.”
Once the defendant is served, then they will have 21 days to respond. During the discovery stage of litigation, the parties will exchange information and learn more about the facts of the case.
If the premises liability lawsuit is not resolved through settlement negotiations, mediation, or arbitration, then the case may proceed to trial before a judge or jury. Depending on the outcome of the trial, you may have the option to appeal your case. Speaking with a knowledgeable Dallas premises liability attorney will provide you with the information you need to make the best choice regarding your legal rights.
Many clients want to know when their case will settle. It is impossible to determine the exact time by which a civil lawsuit will be resolved through settlement – or if negotiations outside of court will resolve the matter at all. No two civil cases have identical facts, and numerous factors can affect whether a case settles or goes to trial; however, the majority of civil lawsuits settle before trial.
Contact Wolf Law, PLLC Today If You Believe A Store Is Liable for Your Injuries
If you are searching for a Dallas Premises Liability Lawyer, then contact Wolf Law, PLLC today to schedule a free consultation during which we can discuss the facts of your case. Our attorneys can help you with every aspect of your premises liability case. Reach out to us to learn more about the legal options available to you.