A. When a plaintiff wishes to file a civil suit against the owner of an establishment, they must be able to prove that an act of negligence came into play. To establish negligence, the plaintiff must prove the following:
(1) The defendant (the property owner/landowner) knew about the flaws and issues of the premises (requirement depends on the category of the victim’s injury).
(2) The condition of the premises did pose an unreasonable risk of harm.
(3) The defendant (the property owner/landowner) did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or eliminate the risk.
(4) The owner’s failure caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
In Texas law, individuals who are on a given property are categorized into three general groups, which affects the legal duties that are owed to them:
- Invitees: An individual who enters a property or land with the owner’s allowance (e.g. venue guests, store customers, restaurant patrons, etc.)
- Licensees: A person who was given specific consent from the owner to enter a property. (e.g. salesperson, contractor, social guest, etc.)
- Trespassers: A person who enters a property uninvited, unsolicited, or without consent from the property owner.