Hurricane season is upon us and has already left its mark on Corpus Christi and the Texas Gulf Coast. Devastating property destruction comes with the territory of the season; and, while this may not be news to local residents, the repercussions of property damage from storms might be. As Gulf-residing Texans prepare for an active storm season, it’s important that property owners are aware of premises liability law in Texas and what that means for hurricane season.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal concept that governs a property owner’s responsibility to ensure the safety of all visitors. Most people are familiar with premises liability and just don’t know it. For example, during the rainy summer months, it’s common to enter a store and see a caution sign for wet floors. This is the property owner giving fair warning of a potential hazard on their property. If a property owner fails to safeguard their property and allows visitors to be unknowingly exposed to hazards and their negligence causes injury or death to a visitor, a lawsuit can result. This being said, while premises liability is most commonly thought of as applying to businesses, homeowners are also required to provide a safe environment for visitors.
What it Means for Homeowners
Whether homeowners realize it or not, they comply with premises liability regulations. Fencing, pool covers, and pool gates are just some examples of how homeowners protect their property. Without these items, homeowners could be held liable for resulting injuries on their property, even if they did not invite the visitor (e.g. a small child wandering into a backyard with a swimming pool and drowning as a result of lack of physical barriers surrounding the property). For homeowners in regions affected by active hurricanes, storm season must take on additional meaning.
We are accustomed to the hurricane preparation process that involves actions like boarding up windows and removing objects from yards that could potentially be tossed around by high winds. What homeowners may not realize is the necessary repair work that must follow a storm. Even if the property does not appear to have sustained hurricane damage, fences can weaken and need reinforcement even if they did not come down during the storm. A faulty fence could lead to more serious incidents if it collapses – an event that could not only injure residents and visitors but also exposes the property to outside elements. Other damages related to storms could include roof damage, electrical damage, and even a weakened structure of the house including stairs and railings both inside and outside of the property. All of these examples of how could cause a visitor to be injured if left unrepaired and/or without an explicit warning according to premises liability law.
Although it is a feat to clean up and repair following a hurricane, it is crucial to the safety of neighbors, visitors, and property owners to take the necessary steps to remedy hurricane damage hazards. This could be as simple as walking the property and inspecting it for hidden or low visibility hazards that could cause injury or as involved as replacing broken glass, fixing deck or patio damage, and mending fencing and gates to ensure all locking mechanisms are working and that the structure is stable and reinforced. Homeowners can also take the additional step of hiring a home inspector to ensure their property does not pose a threat – hidden and visible – to visitors and/or occupants.
Corpus Christi Premises Liability Lawyer
While we can hope for a calmer storm season, we should still be prepared for the worst. Hurricanes inflict severe property damage, mental anguish, and injuries to residents, and unfortunately, their damaging effects could be present long after a storm has passed. During difficult recovery times, safety must remain everyone’s top concern. This means all homeowners should do their part to ensure their property is safe. Those that have unfortunately been the victims of injuries caused by hazardous property may be entitled to financial compensation.
Contact Corpus Christi premises liability lawyer John Flood today to get started on a free and confidential consultation.