What are the Elements of a Slip and Fall Claim in Texas?
Houston slip and fall accident lawyers explain how injury claims work
Slip and fall accidents in Texas might not seem like a big deal to some people – until they get hurt in one themselves. Suddenly, they might have a broken hip, a concussion or another serious injury that requires emergency medical care or surgery at Houston Methodist or another nearby medical center. Or you might be out of work for weeks or months while you’re recovering from a head injury, knee injury, or another life-altering injury.
Whatever the circumstances of your slip and fall injury, don’t underestimate the complexity of your legal case. You need to take strong legal action to demand the money you deserve for your injury-related expenses. Otherwise, you could end up having to pay for your accident out of your own pocket.
But how does the slip and fall settlement process work in Texas? Who is responsible for paying for my slip and fall injury claim? And how much money can I expect to receive for my slip and fall accident? Our Houston slip and fall lawyers at Smith & Hassler, Attorneys at Law have the answers to all these questions and much more information below. And when in doubt, remember to simply contact us and schedule a free case evaluation.
What is a slip and fall or trip and fall accident?
As the name suggests, a slip and fall accident involves someone slipping and falling and sustaining injury due to hazardous or unsafe conditions on the premises. A trip and fall accident involves tripping over an object instead of falling due to slippery conditions. “Slip, trip and fall” is an umbrella term for both types of accidents.
Slip, trip and fall incidents can happen on commercial or residential property, indoors or outdoors. Either way, the legal implications are the same: the person or business responsible for the premises can be held accountable for the injuries sustained if their negligence caused the accident.
How common are slip and fall accidents?
Each year, more than 8 million people sustain injuries in slip and fall accidents. That figure includes more than 800,000 people being hospitalized for slip and fall injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Other important slip and fall statistics include:
- More than 211,000 work-related slip and fall injuries each year result in at least one missed day of work, according to the National Safety Council.
- More than 42,000 falls occur each year on average, according to the National Safety Council. Fall-related injuries are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths in the country.
- More than one out of four older adults (65 and old) fall each year. Less than half tell their doctor.
- Falling once doubles your chance of falling a second time, according to the CDC.
What are the elements of a slip and fall claim?
To file a slip and fall claim in Texas, you generally need to meet the following criteria:
- The accident took place on someone else’s property.
- The owner or manager of the property owed you a duty of care (legal responsibility for your safety) – more on that in a moment.
- There was an unsafe condition on the property that caused or contributed to the accident – a condition that the property owner created, knew about, or should have known about.
- You sustained damages as a result of the incident.
The legal standards that apply to a slip and fall case vary depending on whether you were considered an invitee or a licensee on the premises. An invitee is someone who has been given express or implied permission to enter the property for the property owner’s benefit, such as customers in a store, home service professionals (electricians, HVAC, etc.) who enter the property to perform work at the owner’s request, or tenants in a landlord-tenant relationship. A licensee is on the property for their own purposes, such as a door-to-door salesperson or an off-duty employee.
For both invitees and licensees, the property owner has a responsibility to refrain from “gross negligence,” as well as a duty to warn the invitee or licensee of any known hazards. The main difference is that, for invitees, the property owner also has a duty to proactively inspect the premises and either address or provide warning of any risks or dangers.
If your slip and fall accident meets all these criteria, you have the elements of a slip and fall case in Texas. However, you need an experienced attorney to build a strong case for the financial compensation you need and deserve.
Why do slip and fall accidents happen?
Slip, trip and fall accidents often occur because property owners (including retail stores, restaurants, hotels, etc.) acted in a careless or negligent manner that resulted in an accident. Examples of such negligence include:
- Poor lighting, such as in parking garages and other public places.
- Loose handrails, missing steps, and poorly maintained stairs.
- Uneven surfaces, especially on sidewalks.
- Unmarked obstacles, such as construction debris.
- Poor maintenance, such as objects left on the floor.
- Water or other liquids left on the floor, such as in restaurants.
Slip and fall accidents also often include failure to warn about hazards, such as failure to put up a wet floor sign.
What are common slip and fall injuries?
Slip and fall accidents cause a wide range of injuries, including:
- Hip fractures. 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falls, according to the CDC. In fact, more than 300,000 adults over 65 years old each year are hospitalized due to hip fractures caused by a fall.
- Concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Fall-related injuries are the leading cause of TBIs, especially in children and older adults.
- Back injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI).
- Neck injuries.
- Broken bones (fractures), especially broken bones in the hands, wrists, and arms.
Who’s responsible for paying for my slip and fall?
In Texas, slip and fall accidents due to negligence involve premises liability law. In most cases, this means the property owner or building manager is the liable party, meaning they are legally responsible for compensating you for any financial losses you sustained as a result of your slip and fall accident. Property owners typically have liability insurance (such as homeowner’s insurance or business liability insurance) that is responsible for paying for those damages.
Depending on the circumstances, there can be other liable parties as well, such as businesses contracted to help maintain the premises or manufacturers of defective safety equipment. Only an attorney can investigate and identify all potential liable parties for your slip and fall.
How can I prove negligence in a slip and fall accident?
Some types of evidence that can play an important role in a slip and fall accident include:
- Inspection records from property.
- Safety violations issued to the property owner by local, city or state officials.
- Security camera footage of your slip and fall accident.
- Statements from eyewitnesses who saw you slip and fall.
- The shoes you were wearing, especially if you slipped on something – make sure you save your shoes in a plastic bag and don’t wear them again until your case is concluded.
In addition, medical records of the treatments you received for your slip and fall accident can help you prove that you sustained an injury as a result of your incident. Without medical records, insurance companies might dispute or deny your slip and fall claim due to lack of evidence.
What is the average slip and fall settlement in Texas?
There’s no set dollar amount when comes to slip and fall accidents. The bottom line is you should be financially compensated for all your injury-related expenses.
Remember, you didn’t do anything wrong. You sustained a serious injury that resulted in a financial loss due to the reckless or negligent actions of someone else. You should be paid for such losses. And it’s our job to demand the money you rightfully deserve.
What slip and fall expenses can I be compensated for?
Your slip and fall settlement claim should include all expenses related to your accident, past, present, and future. Such expenses can include:
- Surgical procedures
- Physical therapy
- Pain medication, especially if you experience chronic pain
- Follow-up surgical procedures
- Replacement income if you cannot work while you are recovering from your slip and fall injury
- Lost future income if you have a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
Can you sue for a slip and fall in Texas?
Yes. You have the right to take legal action and file a slip and fall accident lawsuit in Texas. But whether it’s actually in your interest to file a lawsuit depends on the situation. That’s why it’s important to talk to an experienced slip and fall accident attorney who can explain your rights and options.
What is the statute of limitations on a slip and fall in Texas?
If you got hurt in a slip and fall accident and decide to take legal action, you need to act fast. In Texas, the statute of limitations (legal deadline) to file a slip and fall accident lawsuit is two (2) years from the date of the accident. However, other deadlines can also apply in some circumstances.
Two years might seem like a long time. But the longer you wait to take legal action, the harder it often is to build a strong, successful legal case. This is because the evidence you need to support your case can be lost or destroyed over time. Witnesses who saw what happened might also forget what happened.
The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the better. We can start our investigation right away, preserve important evidence, and put you in the best position to succeed.
Why should I hire a Houston slip and fall accident attorney?
Slip and fall accident claims and lawsuits in Texas often face an uphill battle. This is because insurance companies and attorneys representing the at-fault party often downplay the seriousness of such injury accidents. They often claim that slip and fall injury victims aren’t really hurt or that they got injured some other way.
Our job as your Houston slip and fall accident lawyer at Smith & Hassler Attorneys at Law is to build the strongest possible legal case on your behalf. We do this by thoroughly investigating your accident and gathering evidence in support of your case.
Our case results speak for themselves. In one slip and fall case, we obtained $415,000 for a client who sustained knee, back and neck injuries in a fall at a worksite. Every case is different, and past results are not a guarantee of future success. However, you can rest assured that we will put in the work to achieve the results you deserve while you focus on recovering.
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