A fall isn’t a random, chance event. It has at least one cause, and that may be the negligence of another party. A Houston slip and fall accident lawyer from Sandoval & Waldman can help you if you’ve been seriously injured in a fall. Don’t just move on with your life after a fall causes negative consequences for you and your family. If someone else is responsible for your injuries, medical bills, lost income, and pain, that party should be held accountable.
Falls are a potential threat to health, especially if you’re elderly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…
- One of five falls results in a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
- Each year more than 800,000 people are hospitalized because of a fall, most often suffering a head injury or hip fracture.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling.
- Falls are the top cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
- The total estimated medical costs for falls were more than $50 billion in 2015.
- A legal claim by a slip and fall accident lawyer can result in compensation for the harm you suffered.
- A serious injury caused by a fall can result in mounting medical bills and an extended absence from work. Performing household chores may be difficult, and your personal life can be disrupted.
A responsible party could be the property’s owner, an outside company hired to manage it, or a tenant, depending on the circumstances. Often, these parties will have insurance policies covering these kinds of claims. If the policyholder is responsible for your injuries, a settlement could be negotiated by a Houston slip and fall accident lawyer from Sandoval & Waldman, which should cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering and permanent disability, if you suffered one.
If a settlement can’t be reached, we will go to court to protect your legal rights to compensation caused by the responsible party. We have handled many of these cases, and we know which evidence will effectively tell your story and the defenses the insurance company will try to put in your way. We will not stop until you receive a fair and equitable resolution to your slip and fall case.
Causes and Consequences of Slipping and Falling
These accidents can happen on residential, business, or government-owned property. Slips and falls can have a number of causes:
- A surface can be covered in water or another substance that makes it slippery. The surface may be poorly designed, built, or maintained. Water may pool in an area that has poor drainage. A leaky water pipe may not be repaired. Store management may not act quickly enough to clean a spill.
- There may be something in the way, causing a trip. There may be a product in a store aisle or tools on the floor of a business where construction or repairs are taking place.
- The walking surface, such as a sidewalk, staircase, or parking lot, may be uneven, cracked, or on a steep pitch due to poor design, construction, or maintenance.
- The area may be poorly lit, so you can’t see potential dangers in front of you. There may be no lighting or insufficient lighting caused by burned-out bulbs, making a staircase or parking lot hazardous
After a fall, it can be difficult for someone to get around, perform everyday activities, work, and support their family. Other consequences of a serious fall can include …
- Broken bones, including those in the wrist, arm, ankle, and hip
- Head and traumatic brain injuries, including concussions. These can be very serious, especially if the victim uses certain medications, such as blood thinners.
- Surgery may be needed to treat your injuries. If addictive pain medication is used as part of treatment, there’s a chance that an addiction can develop.
- Many who fall and are injured can fear future falls. They curtail their activities and become isolated, and because they do less, they become weaker, increasing their chances of another fall.
Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers in Houston Help Those Injured in Falls Bring Legal Claims.
If you’re injured on someone else’s property, there are at least two possible legal causes of action a Houston slip and fall accident lawyer can file on your behalf: a negligence claim or a premises liability claim. A negligent act happens if there’s an “ongoing activity” when you were injured. A premises liability case could be filed if you’re injured because of a condition on the property.
Imagine you’re in a grocery store. Some of the fresh vegetables are periodically sprayed with water. A half-hour after this was done, you walk into the store and slip and fall on a floor where water pooled. A court may not see this as “ongoing activity” because you weren’t harmed by the sprayed water, but by a condition created after the spraying was done. In this situation, the case would be one of premises liability. If a floor in the store is in the process of being mopped and you slip on the wet floor, it may be seen as negligence.
Both types of cases are based in negligence, so there are similarities, but there are also some differences. Generally, a premises liability claim can be more difficult to prove because part of the case would be showing evidence that the defendant (the property owner, manager, or business renting or leasing space) knew of or should have known of the unreasonably dangerous condition. Often a lawsuit filed by a slip and fall accident lawyer will include both negligence and premises liability claims.
In a negligence case, you would have the burden of proving:
- The defendant owed you a legal duty or obligation (provide you with a reasonably safe place to walk).
- The defendant breached that duty or failed to live up to that obligation.
- The defendant’s action, or failure to act, is the factual and legal (or proximate) cause of your injury.
- You suffered damages as a result.
- Under Texas law the defendant must compensate you for your damages.
- In a premises liability case, the plaintiff must prove:
- The defendant knew, or should have known, of some condition on the premises.
- That condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm.
- The defendant did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or eliminate the risk.
- The owner’s failure was the factual and proximate cause of your injuries.
- Under Texas law the defendant must compensate you for your injuries.
- Defendant’s obligations vary in premises liability cases
If you are injured because of a condition of the property, your legal status on the property impacts what legal duties the defendant owes you. That status can be as an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.
You enter the property with the owner’s knowledge and for the benefit of both parties — for instance, you’re a customer or a FedEx driver delivering a package. The defendant must warn you or make safe any condition posing an unreasonable risk the defendant knows about or should know about. The defendant should be aware of it because the problem could have been discovered with a reasonable inspection. Whether or not an inspection actually took place doesn’t matter.
You entered the property with permission, for your own benefit. You could be a social guest or a salesman. The defendant must warn you of or make safe any condition posing an unreasonable risk of harm that it actually knows about, but you aren’t aware of. The defendant may show you knew about the problem because it was visible and obvious.
You would need to prove the defendant had actual knowledge of the problem that caused the fall. This could be shown by evidence establishing that the defendant saw or was told of the condition, proof there were prior incidents, that the defendant created the problem or that the defendant tried to repair or prevent the condition.
If you enter a property without permission or legal right to do so, you would be considered a trespasser. The defendant’s only obligation is not to intentionally injure you or to do so because of gross negligence (an act or omission involving an extreme degree of risk, of which the defendant had actual awareness, but proceeded in conscious indifference to the rights, safety, and welfare of others). The defendant has no duty to maintain the property in a safe condition for strangers entering without permission.
If the injured party is a child who trespassed, however, there are different rules concerning situations that are considered to be an “attractive nuisance” (like an old well).
The plaintiff would need to show,
- There was an artificial condition on the property and children were likely to trespass.
- Defendant knew or should have known it posed an unreasonable risk of injury or death to children.
- The injured child failed to understand the risk involved because of his or her age.
- The usefulness of maintaining the artificial condition and burden of eliminating it were slight compared to the risk to children.
- Defendant’s failure to use reasonable care to eliminate the danger or protect the child caused the injury.
- Take the next step: Talk to a Houston slip and fall accident lawyer
Sandoval & Waldman is dedicated to representing those injured in falls and pursuing compensation and justice for their families. Consult an attorney with experience in workers’ compensation as soon as possible after a work-related injury. Call us today at 713-688-4878 (713-688-HURT) for your free slip and fall injury consultation today. Your initial consultation is free and you don’t pay us unless you win.