Recovery for injuries from dangerous conditions, slip and fall, animal bites, and negligent security.
Personal injury attorneys handle a wide array of cases, including “slip and fall” accidents. A slip and fall case is exactly what it sounds like: an individual slips, falls and sustains an injury due to dangerous conditions at a business or residence. Believe it or not, it has become extremely difficult to win a slip and fall case in Texas and Louisiana. That’s because attorneys must prove the property owner failed to use reasonable care to keep their property safe. It’s not always an easy win–so most injury attorneys pass up on these types of cases all together.
At Shamieh Law, we aren’t satisfied by going after low-hanging fruit. We care about public safety and helping victims get justice. Below we examine a few important factors that any personal injury attorney will take into consideration. We’ll also provide you with tips to help you win your case. Remember, this article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.
Property Owners’ Role in Preventing Slip and Fall Accidents
A property owner should ensure the safety of their customers and staff by constantly monitoring surfaces for spills, damage or potential hazards. When companies or individuals are careless and create dangerous conditions at their stores, the likelihood that someone can slip, trip, or fall increases drastically. Depending on the venue, property owners have different responsibilities to their guests. Here are the basics: If guests are entering a place of business, they are considered invitees and are owed the highest level of care. If guests are entering a private residence with the owner’s permission, such as for social reasons, they are considered licensees. Property owners typically don’t have any responsibilities to Invaders.
What is an Unreasonably Dangerous Condition?
Dangerous conditions usually occur when employees are not trained properly or when property owners knowingly neglect an area that’s in disrepair. Property owners may also fail to place a sign warning customers of a hazardous area, such as a slippery floor that’s been recently mopped. Examples of dangerous conditions may include any of the following:
- Water, ice, food, or other items left on the floor
- Cords, cables, and wires
- Holes, uneven floors or curbs
- Missing or poorly maintained staircase hand rails
- Trip hazards like hidden wires or ropes
- Slippery sidewalks
- Inadequate lighting
- Unsecured rugs or carpet
- A spill in a grocery store aisle
- A rotting board in a deck, which leads to collapse and injury
- A malfunctioning elevator
- Poorly maintained or cracked falls, which cause a trip
- Poor lighting, which leads to stumbling
The danger of the conditions also depends on context. For example, an inch-wide crack in a paved parking lot might not be considered unreasonably dangerous, but the same crack could pose a serious hazard inside a poorly lit store.
The Dangers of Slipping and Falling
Tripping or falling down may seem like a minor incident, but in the worst cases it can cause severe bruising, broken bones, head injuries, and even fatalities. A fall can be life-threatening or disabling and should always be taken seriously. In fact, each year, falls send more than 8 million Americans to the emergency room. Of these cases, 1 million are slip and falls. Falls are especially dangerous for people over age 65. One in three Americans over age 65 falls each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This injury can be serious or even life-threatening, particularly if it causes broken bones or spinal cord injuries. These can lead to chronic pain, numbness, immobility and incontinence, among other problems. Medical bills may mount, and maintaining a job and other activities of daily living could become difficult or impossible.
Can Homeowners be Liable?
In Texas, state premises liability law says homeowners who have invited guests onto their property have a responsibility to keep their property reasonably safe and free from hazards. Just like with a business, when there is a spill, the homeowner is responsible for cleaning it up in a reasonable amount of time or posting a warning for the potential hazard if it can’t be cleaned immediately. Not doing so may result in an accident and unfortunately, a lawsuit–even among friends.
What Should I Do if I Fall?
- First, seek medical attention. Even if you don’t feel like you’re seriously injured, get checked out. The medical records will be useful should you decide to pursue legal action.
- Don’t make any detailed statements about whose fault the injury is (e.g., don’t say, “Oh, I’m such a klutz”) and don’t make statements to insurance adjusters.
- Write down the names of property owners and managers and witnesses.
- Photograph the scene and your injuries.
- Keep your clothing and shoes.
When to Sue Following a Slip and Fall
Accidents are a part of life. But there is a big difference between a freak accident and blatant negligence. The majority of us are reasonable, responsible citizens who take all reasonable precautions to safeguard ourselves, our families and customers. Unfortunately, some people just don’t care about the ramifications of their careless actions. When someone is openly negligent, they make the world unsafe. Their irresponsibility can change your life forever. The only way to get a company to change its careless ways is to affect their bottom line. That is done by taking the negligent company or property owner to court and seeking justice. It’s not just an important way for you to secure damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. It’s also a way to ensure the safety of others. Even though good, honest people are sometimes reluctant to sue in cases like these, taking negligent property owners to court can be the best way to prevent these types of injuries from happening again and again. If you fall due to another person’s negligence, contact a Dallas slip and fall attorney at Shamieh Law for a free evaluation of your accident.
How to Prove a Party is Responsible for a Slip and Fall
Three conditions must be satisfied. First, the attorney must prove that the property owner either knew or should have known about the unsafe condition. Second, they must prove the owner neglected to repair the dangerous condition or notify guests. Third and finally, the attorney must prove that your injury was directly caused by the dangerous condition.
Consult with a Slip and Fall Specialist
Business owners have a duty to regularly inspect their property for unreasonable risks such as slippery floors, dangerous materials, noxious fumes, and even criminals. A business owner must then either respond to the risk or take adequate steps to warn guests (e.g. a sign) to prevent injuries from occurring. Failing to notice the risk when an owner should have is not a defense to liability. Thus, if you have been injured on a business owner’s property due to a risk that the owner either knew or should have known about, but failed to properly respond, you may be entitled to recovery in a premise liability claim.
Similarly, private homeowners, governmental organizations, and schools have the same duty to protect you from unreasonable risks. It is vital to contact Shamieh Law as soon as the incident occurs to begin your path to recovery. At Shamieh Law, we have the experience and financial resources to immediately begin a thorough investigation of your premise liability claim and negotiate or litigate a fair and just award for all your injuries. Call 214-888-3333 now for your free consultation.
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