A slip and fall accident can happen for many different reasons. Some of the most serious injury slips, trips, and falls are caused by unsafe walking surfaces. When someone is severely or fatally injured in a fall, the person or business responsible for causing the accident should be held accountable.
In Texas, those who are hurt in slip and fall accidents may seek compensation from negligent property owners who failed to correct a property hazard or warn people about dangerous conditions on their property. Seeking compensation for a slip and fall can be challenging. It is crucial to enlist an attorney with the experience and resources to help you with your claim.
If you have suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a slip and fall accident in the greater Corpus Christi area, you will want to contact our experienced slip and fall attorneys as soon as possible. Contact Herrman & Herrman and schedule a confidential consultation right away to discuss the details of your case.
Our firm has office locations in Corpus Christi, McAllen, San Antonio, and Brownsville. We also can meet with you at your home or hospital room if your injuries from slip and fall limit your mobility and make it difficult for you to visit our office. We can explore all of your legal options when you call (361) 882-4357 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
What is Considered a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip, trip, or fall accident happens when some hazard, such as torn carpet, rotted stairs, inadequate lighting or a wet floor, causes a person to fall and injure himself or herself.
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, and property owner liability often becomes an issue. The owner and the insurance carrier will likely deny responsibility or try to shift the blame to avoid paying for your injury claim.
Disputes about liability are common in slip and fall accident cases, which is why it is critical for victims to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Your lawyer will investigate the accident and work to build a convincing claim for compensation. The lawyer will seek to negotiate a fair settlement that takes into account all the costs you’ve incurred and will incur in the future. If the insurance company representing the at-fault property owner refuses to agree to a fair settlement, a slip and fall lawsuit may be filed asking the court to award compensation for injuries.
Most Common Types of Slip and Fall Accidents in TX
Slip and fall accidents can arise from many different kinds of factors in a variety of public and private places.
Some of the most common causes include:
- Potholes, curbs in parking lots
- Defects in pavement
- Unsafe or hazardous premise/property
- Broken handrails
- Cracked or uneven flooring
- Torn floor mats
- Inadequate lighting
- Wet, slippery flooring
- Exposed cords
- Stray electrical cords and wires
- Dirty and/or trash covered floors
Some of the most common places slip and fall accidents happen are:
- Amusement Parks
- Escalators and Elevators
- Small Businesses
- Office Buildings
- Movie Theaters
- Grocery Stores
- Parking Lots and Garages
- Retail Stores
- Hotels and Resorts
- Public Spaces
When you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident, one of the most valuable things you can do is to take photos of the hazard that caused your fall. Keep in mind that property owners will usually correct such dangers quickly after a slip and fall accident, so it is important to contact a slip and fall lawyer promptly. Evidence could disappear over time. Make sure to preserve the clothing you were wearing at the time of the accident. Your shoes and clothes will tell a story, so don’t wash them. Give them to your slip and fall lawyer for safekeeping.
Is a Property Owner Liable in Fall Injury?
Premises liability is the area of law governing personal injury claims filed against property owners for dangerous or defective property conditions. As the Supreme Court of Texas ruled in Nixon v. Mr. Property Management Company, Inc., 690 S.W.2d 546 (Tex. 1985), the duty a property owner owes to a person depends on a person’s status. People are typically classified into one of three categories:
- Invitees — An invitee is a person who is on property by the expressed or implied invitation of the property owner, typically for the mutual benefit of both parties. Any member of the public that is on premises open to the public is considered an invitee. A property owner has a duty to either warn an invitee about a dangerous condition or make the condition safe for the invitee.
- Licensees — A licensee is a person who is on property with the consent of the property owner, but is usually there for their own benefit. A property owner has a duty to either warn a licensee about a dangerous condition or make the condition safe for the licensee. The property owner can only be held liable when they had actual knowledge of the dangerous or defective condition.
- Trespassers — A trespasser is a person who is on property without the consent of the property owner. The trespasser is not owed any duty of care, but a property owner cannot cause injury to the trespasser or act with gross negligence.
Texas does recognize a certain exception to the duty of care owed to trespassers known as the “attractive nuisance” doctrine. An attractive nuisance refers to any object on property such as a swimming pool or trampoline that is likely to attract small children too young to understand the inherent dangers.
When a property owner has an attractive nuisance, the owner must take measures so that it cannot be accessed by children. This may involve putting a fence around a swimming pool. If the property owner fails to take adequate safety measures, the owner can be liable for accidents to children even when the children were trespassers on the property.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
You should always seek medical attention first after a slip and fall accident. This is true even when you do not think that you were injured. Remember that many serious injuries can have delayed symptoms or not be readily apparent except to a medical professional. When you wait days or weeks to visit a doctor, an insurance company will use that delay as evidence that you were either not as seriously hurt as you claim, or that you did not treat your injuries properly. This is a common tactic used to diminish the value of premises liability claims.
Look for people who may have seen your fall. Get their names, phone numbers, or some kind of contact information in case they are needed as witnesses.
Try to make sure that you contact a slip and fall attorney as soon as you possible. Avoid speaking to any insurance company until you have legal representation.
Typical Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents
Some of the most common injuries caused by slip and fall accidents include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Fractured hip or pelvis
- Cuts and lacerations
- Sprains and strains
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries (including partial or total paralysis)
Elements of Successful Fall Claims
A slip and fall lawsuit will require proof of the four elements central to most negligence claims:
- Duty of Care — A property owner must have had a duty of care to you to warn about a dangerous condition or make the condition safe.
- Breach of Duty — The property owner must have breached that duty of care by not warning about a dangerous condition or making the condition safe.
- Causation — The property owner’s breach of duty must have caused your injuries.
- Damages — Your injuries must have resulted in damages.
Most slip and fall cases are resolved through settlements. If the case goes to trial, your attorney will present your case seeking to prove the property owner’s negligence by a preponderance of the evidence for you to obtain a jury award.
Texas Slip and Fall Laws
Texas law establishes the statute of limitations of two years from the date of a slip and fall accident to file a lawsuit. The limitations period can be delayed when a victim was a minor. In that case, the slip-and-fall victim will have two years to file from the date he or she turns 18 years of age.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001 establishes “proportionate responsibility,” more commonly known as modified comparative fault, under which a person cannot recover damages when their percentage of responsibility exceeds 50 percent.
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.012, the court must reduce the amount of damages recovered by a person in a slip and fall accident case by a percentage equal to their percentage of responsibility. That means that a person who is awarded $100,000 in a slip and fall accident case for which they are found to have been 25 percent at fault will have their award reduced by $25,000 and receive $75,000 in compensation.
Contact a Texas Slip and Fall Lawyer at Herrman & Herrman
The attorneys at Herrman & Herrman are ready to fight for you if you were seriously injured in a slip and fall accident in Corpus Christi. We are a bilingual law firm comfortable communicating in English or Spanish. We are available to help you, day or night. Call (361) 882-4357 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.