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Premises liability and negligent acts are legally different

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2022 | Premises Liability

Accidents don’t only “just happen,” as many injury-causing mishaps in Texas result from someone’s negligence. Those whose actions or non-actions lead to someone’s harm may find themselves facing legal action. Landowners need to be aware they have responsibilities to keep visitors to their premises safe, or else they could be liable for injuries. The law does distinguish between negligent acts and basic premises liability, and both could leave a property owner paying civil damages.

Premises liability vs. negligent acts

Under Texas laws, a negligent act refers to an ongoing activity that leads to someone’s harm. Despite the lack of ongoing activities, the land’s condition causes harm in a premises liability claim. So, if someone leaves a skateboard at the foot of the outdoor steps and someone slips and falls, that might be a premises liability case. However, if a household member rides around on a skateboard while wearing earbuds and crashes into someone, that may be a negligent act.

The injured party could file a claim for injuries and other losses in both cases. With both negligent acts or premises liabilities, the injured victim might have a claim for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Circumstances and legal fallouts

An essential question about premises liability cases is, “Did the defendant know or should have known about a hazard?” A homeowner who spilled motor oil on a sidewalk and didn’t clean the mess would face strong liability claims. However, if another person spilled the oil and the homeowner had no idea, the claim could become more complicated.

Negligent acts might involve deliberate intent, such as an assault. Homeowner insurance policies may exclude claims for deliberate actions that harm others, leaving the victim to exclusively seek compensation through a lawsuit. If the negligent party has sufficient assets, the lawsuit may be worth pursuing.