The owner of a property might be held liable if a visitor or tenant suffers an injury on their property. If there is evidence that the property owner was negligent in the maintenance or upkeep of their property, the injured party might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The Arlington, TX premises liability attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. are committed to holding property owners financially responsible for injuries in the Arlington area. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you. Call (817) 476-1797 to schedule a free consultation.
Examples of Common Slip and Fall Accidents in Arlington
You can take some precautions against certain property conditions that tend to lead to a higher amount of slip and fall accidents by learning how to identify them. Some of the many property conditions that lead to slip and fall accidents include the following:
- Pathways without adequate lighting
- Spills that are not cleaned up properly
- Unsecured electrical cords and phone cords
- Failing to close cabinets, drawers, and doors.
- Debris and garbage that is left in common areas
- Misuse of chairs, tables, and ladders
- Failing to clean up from snow and ice
- Unsecured support railings
- Uneven and improperly maintained sidewalks and pavement
Liability for Property Injuries in Arlington, TX
Just because someone was injured at a property does not mean the owner was negligent or responsible for any harm incurred. Determining liability often requires a thorough investigation into the conditions and factors that led to the injury. There is also a distinction between the property owner and another person or renter that might control the property. Additionally, if the injury occurred in a public building, such as a government building or school, the rules are more complicated. Our experienced premises liability attorneys have the depth of skill and resources to deal with these challenges.
To hold a property owner liable for any injuries sustained on their property requires four elements a legal duty, a breach of that duty, causation, and damages.
The type of property determines what laws apply to the landowner: the rules for commercial properties are usually different from residential ones. Additionally, the property owner owes a substantially different duty to an invited guest than to someone who has entered the property without an invitation. If the relationship between the injured party and the property owner is a landlord-tenant relationship, then additional duties may exist due to the lease agreement. Every case must be evaluated on its own merits as the standard of care depends on the specific situation.
Breach of Duty
Once our attorneys have reviewed all of the factors and determined that there was a duty, then a breach of that duty must be established. Generally, in a premises liability case, that requires proving that the property owner…
- Was aware of or should have been aware of a hazardous or dangerous condition and
- Neglected to address the condition or provide an adequate warning
Causation means that the negligent conduct must have actually caused your injury. To establish causation, one must prove that they did not know about the dangerous condition, did not ignore a foreseeable risk, and acted reasonably in avoiding injuries.
To prove liability, the injuries sustained must result in quantifiable damages. Damages from premises liability cases vary from very slight to very serious and can be categorized as economic or noneconomic. Some potential damages include…
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Decreased earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Physical limitations
What Are the Duties a Landowner Owes to Others?
In a premises liability case, not everyone is owed the same level of care to be protected from dangerous conditions on another’s property. Each of the above classifications determines the duty owed to the injured person. The duties owed are as follows:
Duty to a Trespasser
In line with the reason why a person is considered a trespasser is a duty that they are owed, which is only a minimal duty. The law often treats trespassers rather harshly when they file a premises liability action such as a slip and fall, this is because it is assumed that they were not supposed to be there and it is hard to impose a duty on a landowner to protect someone who they did not want on their property.
Duty to an Invitee
A property owner owes an invitee on their premises a duty to exercise reasonable care to provide safe premises. Generally, this can be satisfied if the property owner discloses all unreasonably dangerous conditions of which he is aware and those that he should have knowledge of upon reasonable inspection of the property. In the case of slip and fall accidents, this is often breached when there is some liquid or other substance left out that the land or property owner knew about and did not address.
Duty to a Licensee
A person who is in control of the premises or property owes a licensee a duty to disclose only those known dangerous conditions on the property.
It is crucial that anytime you consider filing a premises liability action for slip and fall you understand and prove what type of entrant you were at the time you were injured. If you are misclassified you may be barred from recovering for any of your injuries.
Steps to Take if You Are Injured on Someone Else’s Property in Arlington
If you suffered an injury at another person’s or company’s property, there are several steps you should take. These steps help protect your right to compensation and provide our Arlington premises attorneys the necessary tools to fight for you.
Report the Incident
If you sustain an injury on a commercial property, such as a gym, supermarket, or other business, contact a manager or supervisor to file an accident report. There might be video evidence, so it is crucial that our attorney quickly sends a letter demanding they preserve any video evidence.
Carefully Observe Your Surroundings
The plaintiff in a premises liability lawsuit must prove that there was a dangerous condition that the owner knew about or should have known about. Any evidence you can provide will help establish liability. Some ways you can find out whether they knew about the danger include the following:
- Just ask the manager or another employee if they were aware of the condition.
- Ask eyewitnesses whether they reported the hazardous situation to anyone.
- Examine the surroundings to see if there were signs that the condition was going to be addressed, such as signs, buckets, or mops.
- Try and determine the source of the dangerous condition — for example, a broken pipe, leaky roof, or uneven floorboard.
- Listen for any conversations between employees that indicate they knew about the dangerous condition.
In the age of smartphones, nearly everyone has a camera available. If you are able, take photographs of the area and the dangerous condition. Photos from the scene could be clearer than surveillance video. If video does not exist, then your photographs could be the best evidence of the condition at the time of the accident. Additionally, be sure to take photographs of your injuries.
Get Medical Attention
The full effects of falls on hard surfaces or falls down a flight of stairs are not always readily apparent. Unknown injuries might be serious and could require immediate attention. Having your injuries examined by a trained physician could help your premises liability lawsuit. A medical report and proper medical attention lessen the likelihood that an insurance company would deny or lower their settlement offer.
Filing a Lawsuit with Help from an Arlington Premises Liability Lawyer
Most slip and fall cases happen in a place where there is some sort of insurance coverage. Businesses and stores have liability insurance for these kinds of situations, and homeowners and renters have homeowners insurance or renters insurance for accidents at their private residences. This means that the first thing to expect in many slip and fall cases is that the insurance company may try to reach you to settle the case.
You have the choice of whether to accept an insurance payout or press the case by filing a lawsuit. Your Arlington slip and fall lawyer can help you understand whether the insurance offer is fair in your case and help negotiate better offers if you are considering settling the case. If no offer is made or the insurance company refuses to pay what you need, we can take the case to court and file a personal injury lawsuit for you.
There are many steps in a court case before the trial starts. Our attorneys will handle the evidence exchange, depositions, and other steps in your case, all aimed at setting you up for a strong case at trial.
Although a trial is an option and may take place in your case, most injury cases settle without a trial. Often, the pressure of having to face a jury is enough to push defendants and their insurance companies to settle, especially since trials can be expensive for the businesses and property owners that have to defend themselves against accusations of negligence. Our attorneys can help advise you on whether to settle or take the case to trial, helping you weigh the pros and cons of both choices.
Ultimately, your attorney will be experienced, practiced professional who can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit and getting the compensation you need after a slip and fall accident in Arlington. Call The Queenan Law Firm for a free consultation on your case and more information about how to proceed with your claim.
Before filing your case, we will look into the following options to help secure your case:
- Quickly sending letters to the property owners to preserve video evidence
- Obtaining or subpoenaing incident reports, managers’ logs, police reports, medical records, or other necessary documents related to your accident
- Photographing the site of the accident before any repairs or changes are made
- Contacting and interviewing any eyewitnesses who saw the accident or who were aware of the dangerous condition before the incident occurred
- Deposing the property owner, manager, or employees on the record
Evidence Needed to Prove Slip and Fall Injury Cases in Arlington
If you are going to file a slip and fall injury case, one of the most important things you will need is evidence of what happened. “Evidence” in a personal injury case – or any court case – refers to anything that helps show what happened and who is responsible. Our Arlington slip and fall injury lawyers can help you collect and present evidence in your case to prove who was responsible and what damages you suffered.
The evidence in a slip and fall case can include documentary evidence, such as the paperwork and records showing what injuries you faced, what expenses you faced, and what other economic results came about because of the accident. This evidence is particularly important in proving damages in your case.
Evidence can also include pictures and videos of the accident or the accident scene that help show how the slip and fall happened. Security cameras are primarily used in stores and other public places to catch shoplifters and criminal issues, but they also provide an excellent record of accidents like slip and falls. Your lawyer can send letters to the store or property where the accident happened and tell them to preserve any video footage for trial.
One of the most important pieces of evidence in any slip and fall case is the victim’s testimony. The victim is the main person who can explain what they experienced in the lead-up to the accident, how they slipped, and what conditions caused the fall. Other witnesses can also testify to what they saw and heard as the accident happened.
In some cases, the only evidence available is in the hands of the defendant. Fortunately, court cases involve a step called “discovery,” where both sides submit and share evidence related to the accident. This means that if there was a store clerk or a property manager that knew about the dangerous condition and failed to report it or repair it, we can interview them in a deposition, get that information on record, and use it against the defendant.
How Trespassing Affects Your Right to Sue for Injuries
Texas law prescribes that not every person who is on another property is viewed the same under the law. You are probably familiar with the term trespasser; however, you may be unfamiliar with the other classifications of people who may be on another’s property, invitees and licensees. Under Texas’s premise liability law, each of these entrants is owed a certain duty. What duty they are owed depends on their status at the time they are injured on a property. One who owns or is in control of property may owe a different duty depending upon the injured person’s status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. The three classifications are as follows:
A “trespasser” is probably the most familiar category to most people. A trespasser is a person who enters the property of another without any invitation or right to be there or on the property. These are people who usually ignore signs that say no trespassing.
An “invitee” is a less familiar classification to most people; however, it is often the status that is assigned to an individual who enters the property of another for the property possessor’s benefit. The classic example of an invitee and the most accessible is a customer in a store.
The licensee classification is another type of person who may be on a piece of property. A “licensee” is a person who enters the property of another for the mutual benefit of the landowner/possessor and the individual visiting.
These three classifications of entrants are well recognized throughout Texas as the types of people who may be on someone else’s property. However, a person’s status can change once they are on the property if they exceed their invitation or go to an area where they should not be.
Call Our Arlington, TX Slip and Fall Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you have sustained an injury as the result of a property owner’s negligence, contact our Arlington, TX premises liability attorney. The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. is committed to providing professional, compassionate representation to Arlington residents who have suffered injuries through no fault of their own. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you. Call (817) 476-1797 to schedule a free consultation.