Slips, trips, and falls are one of the leading causes of accidental injuries in the United States. In fact, each year there are over 9 million visits to hospitals and emergency rooms because of slips and falls. Each slip and fall accident is unique, however in our experience, we have noticed that certain property conditions lead to a higher prevalence of slip and fall cases including:
Slip and fall can be caused by many property conditions. Our injury attorneys have handled cases related to:
- Broken Hand Railings
- Uneven Flooring and loose floors
- Loose or warped Carpeting
- Loose Wiring or extension cords
- Wet and Slippery substances
- Damage to the structure of a building
- Broken Ladders
- Poor Lighting
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year. While there are many accidents that occur in your own home when you slip and fall outside your home in a store, parking lot, garage, museum, you may be able to file a personal injury case to recover for your injuries.
Liability Dependent Upon Classification Of the Injured Person
You may think if you are on someone’s piece of property you are just considered to be a person in a store, mall, museum, or park. However, you may be surprised to find that even though there are no signs that you are given a special classification under the law which may determine if you are able to recover from a slip and fall accident. Under Texas law, a store owner may or may not owe you a duty based on your status as either an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. 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:
Invitee – Going into a store to buy an item will generally be the basis for assigning a person the status as an invitee. This is an important distinction for slip and fall cases because generally, an invitee can expect that they will find a safe store, mall, park, or museum. Landowners have a duty to protect invitees from all unreasonably dangerous conditions of which he is aware and those that he should have knowledge of upon reasonable inspection of the property. This may require a store-owner to conduct sweeps and periodic checks of their store to ensure that there is nothing on the ground that a person could slip on. However, if an invitee exceeds the scope of their invitation they may not be able to recover for their injuries. The classic example of when an invitee has exceeded their invitation is when they enter an area of a store that is marked employees only.
Licensee – Licensees are those people who enter another’s property for the mutual benefit of the landowner. The most common example is a social guest. In most cases, a property owner is liable for a licensee’s injuries if The owner knew there is a condition on the property that poses an unreasonable risk of harm to anyone who encounters it; The owner could not reasonably expect visitors to realize the existence of danger or how serious the danger is; The owner did not use reasonable care to eliminate the danger or to warn visitors that there was a dangerous condition on the property; and
The licensee was unaware of the dangerous condition and the risk it posed.
Trespasser – A “trespasser is a person who enters another’s property without an invitation or a legal right to be there. For example, a mailman is not trespassing when they deliver mail to your door, even though you have not explicitly invited that individual mailman, this is because they have a legal right to be there. A landowner owes the lowest duty of care to a person who is trespassing on their property. Their only obligation in regards to trespassers or to refrain from intentionally injuring them.
Damages in a Premises Liability Lawsuit
Slip and fall accidents are the cause of anywhere between $13 and $14 billion dollars in injuries every year. This is because slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries resulting in large medical bills, doctors visits, surgeries, physical therapy, medication, and lost time at work. When someone has been injured in a slip and fall accident they often have to find a way to adjust to the bills and missed time from work in addition to their new physical limitations. Fortunately, Texas law provides slip and fall accident victims and their families with a path to justice and a way to continue providing for their families. One of the most effective methods of maintaining financial stability while you are recovering from a slip and fall accident is by filing a premises liability lawsuit.
Money is often the chief concern for those who have been injured in a slip and fall accident. Money damages are a way that the court can place a person in the condition they were in before the accident. However, the court does not just guess at this amount, in order to assign a certain amount of money damages for a slip and fall accident the court will often look to:
- The cost of past and future medical treatment;
- Physical pain and emotional suffering;
- Wages lost because of work missed after an accident;
- Reduced earning capacity due to permanent disability; and
- Time spent away from your family and loved ones
Contact a Houston Slip and Fall Accident Attorney if You Experienced an Injury
Slip and Fall accidents are no joke and if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident you should not wait to contact an experienced attorney. Queenan Law represents personal injury victims across Texas, including Arlington, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston. Even if you are unsure whether you have a case or need an attorney, we encourage you to contact our law offices for a free, friendly, and completely confidential consultation regarding your legal matter. Call Queenan Law at (817) 476-1797 to get an assessment of your case today.