Whether you are a resident, a guest, a customer, or just a person passing through on your way to another destination, you expect buildings to be structurally sound and safe for habitation. Likewise, exterior areas like parking lots, parking garages, and sidewalks should also be maintained in safe condition. When a property owner decides to cut costs by neglecting his or her duties to maintain a building and comply with code, major hazards can rapidly develop, jeopardizing the health, safety, and life of inhabitants, customers, and others.
If you or one of your family members was injured in a slip and fall accident that was caused by a property hazard, such as a broken step or puddle from a leak, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The Dallas slip and fall attorneys of Queenan Law can help.
Types of Injuries Sustained in Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents often cause catastrophic or fatal injuries, particularly when they involve falls from heights. Even when an accidental fall is a survivable event, the resulting injuries often leave the victim burdened with chronic pain and long-term or permanent impairment, leading to lifelong medical expenses coupled with a diminished earning capacity to create ongoing financial strain.
Falls are especially devastating among the elderly. Not only are seniors, who often have poor vision and delayed reflexes, more likely to experience falls, they are also more likely to be seriously or fatally injured when an accident occurs. Broken hips are a particularly common outcome of falls among the elderly, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that falls are responsible for a shocking 95% of hip fractures among adults aged 65 or older.
Even for young individuals, trip and falls can produce severely disabling injuries. Some common examples of serious injuries resulting from accidental falls include:
- Ankle Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Broken Bones/Bone Fractures
- Facial Injuries
- Foot Injuries
- Hand Injuries
- Mouth/Oral Injuries
- Soft Tissue Injuries (Sprains, Strains)
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Wrist Injuries
TBI and concussions, which are a form of mild TBI, are of particular concern. According to the CDC, falls are the number one leading cause of TBI, accounting for over 40% of cases from 2006 to 2010. In severe cases, TBI can cause cognitive impairment, balance problems, incontinence, pain, depression, memory problems, paralysis or loss of sensation, and other major complications.
Grounds to File a Premises Liability Lawsuit in Dallas, TX
Premises liability is a complex area of personal injury law that deals with property owners’ obligations to keep their buildings, pieces of land, and other types of property safe for the people who visit or inhabit them. If an individual gets injured on another person’s property, the owner may be liable if the following elements are all present:
- The property owner had a duty of care to the person who was injured. For example, landlords have a duty of care toward their tenants.
- The property owner breached, or violated, their duty of care. To continue with the above example, this might be a landlord who disregards a leak or a broken railing in a common area of an apartment complex, despite knowing that the problem is a hazard and requires maintenance to remove or repair.
- The property owner’s actions, or failures to act, resulted in an accident that should have been preventable.
- The victim was harmed as a result of the accident which occurred.
If all of these facts are true, you may have grounds for a claim or lawsuit against the property owner or other parties. Even if you are unsure about whether you have a claim, we urge you to contact our law offices for a consultation. We can provide you with answers and information about your legal rights as a victim of negligence.
Determining Liability in a Slip and Fall Accident Claim in Dallas, TX
Accidental falls can occur for a variety of reasons, but many are the direct result of careless and negligent conduct. In many cases, slip and fall accidents are the product of inadequate property maintenance, which can quickly cause trip hazards to develop or accumulate at an indoor, outdoor, residential, or commercial property. Some common locations where slip and fall accidents occur in Texas include:
- Apartment Common Areas
- Business Sidewalks
- Cafes and Coffeeshops
- Department Stores
- Fast Food Franchises
- Grocery Stores
- Hotels and Motels
- Movie Theatres
- Music Venues
- Parking Garages
- Parking Lots
- Shopping Malls
Slip and fall claims relate to an area of personal injury law known as premises liability. In short, premises liability means that property owners are responsible for maintaining properties (premises) that are reasonably safe for residents, visitors, customers, and others. If a landlord or other property owner fails to meet this standard, he or she may be liable for personal injury or wrongful death which results.
Examples of property hazards that can develop due to negligent maintenance, and lead to an accidental fall, include:
- Cracked, broken, or uneven stairs, sidewalks, and flooring materials.
- Dangerous natural features, like fallen branches or other debris.
- Dim lighting in dark areas.
- Leaking ceilings, drink machines, or product containers.
- Loose, bunched-up carpeting that isn’t properly fixed to the floor.
- Loose or tangled cords, wires, and cables.
- Rotten, soggy floorboards.
- Wobbly railings and banisters that aren’t securely attached to the walls.
Our attorneys will aggressively investigate the scene of the accident to determine how and why your fall occurred. Property owners sometimes attempt to cover up or hide hazards in order to evade responsibility, but our tough and knowledgeable legal team will utilize every available resource in the effort to hold the guilty party accountable for your pain and suffering.
Recoverable Damages in a Premises Liability Case
Many types of accidents can take place when a property is not maintained in safe condition. For example, faulty wiring could cause a person to be badly shocked or even electrocuted. An unsecured object could fall from above, striking a victim on the head or shoulders. A person could be attacked or sexually assaulted at a place of business because the company failed to hire, or adequately screen, the necessary security guards. A property could contain defective escalators or elevators, or have serious fire hazards.
With that being said, a large portion of premises liability claims involve a specific type of accident known as a slip and fall accident, or, as it is sometimes called, a slip, trip, and fall accident. These types of accidents can affect people of all ages, but are especially dangerous for individuals aged 65 or older, as seniors are at an elevated risk for sustaining a pelvic fracture (broken hip) when a fall occurs.
If your slip and fall injury was caused by a property hazard, the owner may be responsible for the expenses that resulted, including your medical bills. Other losses for which compensation may be available include:
- Lost Wages
- Mental Anguish
- Pain and Suffering
- Reduced Earning Capacity
- Scarring and Disfigurement
Dallas Slip and Fall Injury Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
When you or a family member has recently suffered a serious injury, all you want to do is rest and recover – not deal with complicated legal statutes and insurance paperwork. We understand completely, which is why our attorneys will be there to handle all of the legal work on your family’s behalf. Let us investigate the causes of your accident while you get the rest you need to heal. Equipped with more than 20 years of experience, our slip and fall injury lawyers are committed to helping injured Texans recover the compensation they deserve for negligently inflicted injuries.
To talk about your Dallas injury claim in a free legal consultation, call the Dallas slip and fall lawyers of Queenan Law as soon as possible at (817) 476-1797. We can answer your questions and help you understand your rights as an accident victim.