When a serious slip and fall happens to you or a family member, you know that it is no laughing matter. While we have all tripped here and there and lost our balance, a serious fall can have catastrophic consequences, with broken bones, spine and spinal cord injuries, and even head and traumatic brain injuries being among the more serious injuries that can occur. This is especially true when the victim is older, pregnant, suffering from a disability, or has a preexisting condition or injury which is aggravated by the fall. Furthermore, other dangerous conditions connected with a fall can exacerbate the injury, such as stairs, sharp edges, or toxic materials. If you are injured in a store in the state of Texas, figuring out who is responsible and thus liable to pay the full costs of your losses – including medical bills, lost wages/income, and pain and suffering – is thus critical, and it is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to file suit against the proper defendants and aggressively pursue your financial recovery.
Who Caused the Fall to Happen?
Slip and falls can happen for a variety of reasons, but in most cases they are due to some substance or object being on the ground which causes the victim to lose his balance and fall. In a store, this might be cleaning solvent left over from mopping, rain from a leaky roof, ice or soapy water, store products or equipment left on the floor, and so on.
A party that intentionally or unintentionally places that substance or object in the path of the victim causing him to fall would thus be liable if it was unreasonable for that party to do so. There are several problems that arise, though, as this party may be unidentifiable and/or long gone from the scene, and, if even if they were located, not have sufficient financial assets to satisfy the full injuries suffered by the victim.
Premise Liability for Slip and Falls in Texas
Because of this, Texas recognizes the legal concept of premise liability which says that, when a person is an invitee (in other words, a customer or other visitor of a business) of a business owner’s premises, the business has a legal duty “to make safe or warn against any concealed, unreasonably dangerous conditions of which the landowner is, or reasonably should be, aware but the invitee is not.”
What does this mean exactly in the case of a slip and fall?
Essentially, if a person slips and falls because of a dangerous condition in the store – i.e. a substance spilled on the floor or other object in the customer’s path – and the store’s employees were either aware of the condition or should have been aware of the condition, yet did not act reasonably in either removing the danger (i.e., cleaning up the spill) or in adequately warning customers (i.e. placing clearly visible signs around the spill warning people of it), the store can be liable for the victim’s injuries.
Why Contacting an Attorney ASAP After a Fall is Important
Putting this in practice, there are a number of factual questions that will be critically important in determining whether a slip and fall victim in Texas can recover against the store, including:
- How long was the dangerous condition existing before the fall?
- What did the store employees do in response?
- Was the response, if any, adequate or reasonable?
- Should the customer have noticed the condition on his own?
- Did the customer actually notice the condition?
By contacting an experienced Texas slip and fall attorney as soon as possible after an accident occurs, your attorney will have the time, opportunity and resources to fully investigate the accident scene (i.e. obtain surveillance tape, interview eyewitnesses, examine the actual scene) to make your best case for premise liability and thus win your maximum recovery.
Work With Experienced Dallas Personal Injury Attorneys
The Kelley Law Firm PC in Dallas, TX represents the rights of personal injury victims and family members of those killed wrongfully. We have successfully recovered numerous 7-figure settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients, and are passionately committed to obtaining the maximum financial recovery that our clients deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation regarding your personal injury or wrongful death matter.