Houston Slip and Fall Lawyer
A serious slip and fall accident can change your life in an instant. The legal team at The Patel Firm is here to help you get back to your normal life as quickly as possible. Our goal is to provide excellent legal representation while helping you acquire the financial compensation you deserve.
You need to understand your rights as a slip and fall victim. Every public entity has a duty to keep their physical spaces open to the public safely for both visitors and shoppers. This duty of care is a fixed constant in negligence law, and the environmental conditions or other facts will not change the fact that a business owner owes all patrons a duty to keep the premises safe from dangerous hazards and other conditions.
Both employees and owners must implement policies that focus on inspecting the physical spaces in which they work and rectify any dangerous conditions that may likely cause injuries to customers or visitors. Employees will be tasked with cleaning up spills and placing warning signs to give people notice that a dangerous condition exists.
Owners and operators will likely repair stairs or rails while fixing other hazardous conditions that may create a potential danger to guests or visitors on the property.
Some businesses fail to follow safety policies and ensure that their physical spaces are free of dangerous hazards and conditions which may cause injuries to visitors or guests. You may experience a slip and fall accident if you patronize one of these businesses or public spaces.
Liability and The Classification of the Injured Person
Texas law states that the injured party’s legal status or classification determines the duty a real property owner owes to a person who enters the property. The duty may vary depending on whether the injured person is an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. These classifications have different meanings.
These categories may confuse some laypeople, but they are necessary because they arose out of the common law, and these terms have historical roots in Anglo-American law. Do not be intimidated by these terms because they merely signify commonsense ideas related to the purposes for which individuals patronize or visit public areas in a community.
A trespasser is a person who enters the property of another without an invitation to enter the property or a valid right to enter the property. Under Texas law, a person who enters a space as an invitee can become a trespasser if he leaves the authorized area to which he was invited. If a customer wanders into an “employee only” area in the back of a restaurant without being granted permission, she would be considered a trespasser even though the individual originally entered the store as an invitee.
A court will likely classify trespassers into known trespassers and unknown trespassers. These distinctions can be important later on in the litigation process when opposing counsel may try to argue that you, in fact, held a different status than the one pleaded in your complaint. The insurance defense firms also have attorneys that bill by the hour, and therefore, it can take a long time to receive motions and other filings from attorneys representing insurance companies.
A licensee is defined by Texas law as a person who enters the property of another for the mutual benefit of the owner or possessor and the individual visiting the property.
An invitee is a person who enters the property of another for the mutual benefit of the property owner or possessor. A retail customer in a mall is an invitee. A social guest at another’s home or an apartment is another example of an invitee.
These classifications determine the duty that person with control over the property owes to the injured person.
Duty to a Trespasser
A person in control of property owes a trespasser the duty to willfully or intentionally cause that person harm. Trespasser premises liability cases are often difficult to prove. These parties will search for exceptions to the trespasser status.
Duty to a Licensee
An owner or occupier of land owes a duty to licensees to warn them of known dangerous conditions. There is no duty for the land occupier to conduct any inspections to make the property reasonably safe for a licensee because a licensee is not as protected as a person the landowner invited to come onto the premises.
Duty to an Invitee
A landowner must exercise reasonable care to create a safe space in which invitees can visit. The owner or occupier in control of the property must disclose every unreasonably dangerous condition of which he is aware and those conditions that he should know had he conducted a reasonable inspection of the property.
The language stating that the owner or occupier “knew or should have known” is known as “constructive knowledge.” If an owner or occupier of land has actual or constructive knowledge of an unreasonably dangerous condition posing a slip and fall hazard, he must either eliminate that danger or warn the people visiting the property of the danger’s existence.
If the owner or occupier fails to do one of these things, then they will be liable for any injuries caused by the unreasonably dangerous condition. The warning or notice given needs to make the visitor aware of the risk of harm posed by the dangerous condition.
Business Owners and Slip and Fall Accidents
The owner of a business or a public space where visitors are invited to come and shop or engage in commerce has a duty to perform reasonable inspections to keep the premises safe for visitors and guests.
If the owner or occupier of land fails to conduct reasonable inspections and identify unreasonably dangerous conditions and the owner does not fix the condition, so it is made safe, then the owner will be liable. The owner or occupier will also be liable if they fail to warn the guests about the condition.
Leaks in machines and spills on the ground may go unnoticed in public places. Hotels and other businesses often have faulty railings, rotten wood on balconies, and poor lighting. Many different kinds of properties expose people to slip and fall accidents:
- Outlet malls
- Grocery stores, department stores, and malls
- Corporate campuses and office buildings
- Wedding venues and banquet halls
- Bars and restaurants
- Go Cart tracks
- Playgrounds, swimming pools, ponds, and amenity lakes
- Community recreation centers and neighborhood centers
- Water parks
- Hotels and resorts
Many of these businesses know slip and fall accidents can occur, and their managers often organize risk management groups who understand how to obscure the evidence of their liability. If you wait too long to hire a slip and fall lawyer, then it is possible that the problem that caused your injuries will be repaired, and the evidence will vanish.
You should contact The Patel Firm today before the negligent owner or occupier of land can alter or repair the dangerous condition on the premises that caused your injuries.
Typical Slip and Fall Accident Injuries
Many injuries from slip and fall accidents may range from extremely minor to severe. The age and physical condition of the slip and fall accident victim may influence if the individual’s body can recover from a fall onto a polished tile floor or a concrete floor.
Some of the most common slip and fall injuries include the following:
- Skull fractures
- Jaw fractures and facial bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Arm and leg fractures
- Spinal injuries
- Neck, back, and shoulder injuries
Damages and Slip and Fall Cases
When an individual is injured during a slip and fall accident, that person may claim lost earnings and earning capacity. The individual may also claim medical bills, future medical care, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. Also, an individual may seek damages for physical impairment and any scarring that results from the slip and fall accident.
The specific damages you plead in your complaint will vary depending on your prior medical history and whether or not your injuries affected your ability to work or earn an income through some other means. You should call The Patel Firm today to make sure that you have adequate legal representation to help you plead the correct amount of damages.
Slip and fall injuries and accidents account for approximately 20% of workers’ compensation payouts in the United States. Almost 50% of workplace deaths are caused by slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall cases focus on proving the liable parties’ negligence and obtaining financial compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and other damages.
You might need to hire an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation claims if you suffered your slip and fall accident while you were working. Our lawyers at The Patel Firm are excellent workers’ compensation attorneys who will be able to provide you with the legal representation you deserve.
The Property Owner Said I Should Have Been More Observant and Aware of My Surroundings
People are responsible for their own safety, and you should take reasonable precautions to watch where you are walking. However, this does not mean that property owners are permitted to let hazardous conditions exist on their properties. Poor lighting, uneven floors, and defective scaffolding can create situations where an extremely careful person would slip and fall.
The attorneys at The Patel Firm will investigate the causes of your accident. You should consult with an experienced slip and fall attorney today to make sure that you have all the resources you need to present the strongest case possible.
Suffering a Slip and Fall Accident at the Workplace
If you suffered an injury at work, then you have a responsibility to inform your employer about the accident as quickly as possible. You should inform your employer within thirty days of the date of your slip and fall accident at the workplace. If you do not report your injuries, then this may restrict your ability to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
Your slip and fall accident at work may involve third parties because your employer may be subleasing property from a Sublessor. If the property owner may also be liable, then your employer may be covered under an insurance policy held by the property owner. These cases can often create complex problems that a layperson may have a difficult time understanding.
You need to retain a Houston slip and fall lawyer to ensure that you have the best legal representation available to you, so you do not get manipulated by the insurance companies or any other parties to the lawsuit. Your legal rights are valuable, and you should not wait to file your legal claims.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury. You need to act quickly and retain a Houston slip and fall lawyer to make sure that you are doing everything you can to ensure you obtain the financial compensation you deserve.
Call Us Today to Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation with a Houston Slip and Fall Attorney
It is important for you to understand that your rights as an invitee or licensee will affect how a court analyzes your case. You may be classified as a trespasser during the time you suffered your slip and fall accident, and you need a Houston slip and fall lawyer to help you understand the implications of these different designations and how they may affect your case.
Every slip and fall case is different, and you do not have to pursue your claims alone. Your ability to navigate the legal system alone will make it more difficult for you to obtain the amount of monetary compensation that you deserve. You should value your legal rights and your constitutional right to hold liable parties accountable in a court of law.
Some clients may be intimidated by the legal system, but it is not necessary to refrain from defending your legal rights out of fear or confusion. Call our office today at (361) 400-2036 to schedule your free case evaluation with a slip and fall attorney in Houston. You can also reach out to us through our online contact form.