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What's required to support a premises liability claim?

There's a man in a Forth Worth hospital right now. His recovery from a significant brain injury is not going as well as his wife and likely doctors would like. He's been in the intensive care unit for more than two weeks and at last word he remains in a coma.

The incident has some observers wondering whether this doesn't stand as an ideal candidate for a premises liability claim. You see, the injury reportedly occurred as the result of an attack by two other men in a Wal-Mart parking lot a few weeks ago. Police say they are investigating but haven't made much headway in the probe.

News stories about the case say it's not known what sparked the attack. Security camera footage reveals the victim's white pickup truck pulling into a Wal-Mart lot parking space. Meanwhile, in the foreground, the driver of a black hatchback is seen getting out and apparently checking out the right rear of his vehicle.

Footage from a slightly different angle then shows the black vehicle pulling up to where the pickup truck parked. The hatchback driver and a passenger get out, leaving their doors open. A few seconds later, the hatchback pulls away and the victim is left on the ground.

The victim's wife says he managed to drive home after the confrontation, but later had to be taken to the hospital. Since being admitted, he has undergone brain surgery to relieve pressure from a buildup of blood. He survived that but remains unresponsive. His wife says that if he wakes up he probably won't be able to return to his job.

Questions that need to be asked in determining if a premises liability claim is viable include whether security at the site was adequate. Since security cameras picked up some of the events, should security personnel have been quicker to respond to the situation?

Property owners do have a duty to maintain a safe premises, including keeping visitors safe against assaults. But proving liability depends on showing that the owners created the hazard or failed to correct the situation in a timely fashion. That's why working with an experienced attorney is recommended.

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