Generally speaking, when there is a danger on someone else’s property, they can be held responsible for the injuries those dangers cause. When people slip and fall on their property, the owner is often responsible. To ensure this, the law requires property owners to take reasonable steps to clean up dangerous spills, repair dangerous flooring, or at least put up a warning sign. If there is a warning sign, does that automatically mean you can’t sue?
As with many legal questions, the answer is based on the specific circumstances and details of what happened. All things considered, a sign might not be an adequate warning of dangers on the property, which could allow victims of slip and falls to still sue for their injuries. However, you should have a lawyer review your case on an individual basis for help.
If you were injured in a slip and fall on someone else’s property, call the Arlington slip and fall lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm right away. We offer free consultations where you can learn more about filing your case and what your chances of success look like. For your free case consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.
Can You Sue For Injuries in Texas if You Fell Near a Warning Sign
One of the most common ways that businesses and property owners use warning signs is to warn guests and customers about wet floors. Most people are familiar with these yellow caution signs used in wet bathrooms, in areas being mopped, and in grocery store aisles near spills. In general, a business that puts up a warning sign usually meets its legal duty to warn guests of the dangers of a spill or wet floor, but these signs are not always enough to block a lawsuit.
For a property owner to be held responsible for a slip and fall on their property, the victim needs to prove that the property owner violated their duty to clean up the danger or warn the victim. Usually, putting up a bright yellow sign that says “CAUTION: WET FLOOR” is sufficient to warn someone of a spill and satisfy everything the property owner needs to do, but there are some exceptions to this.
Proximity to Danger
First, the sign needs to be placed near the spill. Putting a wet floor sign at the entrance to a store because there is a spill 30 yards away in Aisle 3 might not be sufficient. In contrast, putting a sign at either end of an aisle to warn of a spill in the middle of the aisle might not be as big of an issue, and a court might find that that satisfies the store operator’s duty.
Second, the sign needs to be readable and attention-grabbing. Small signs might not be noticed, which is why wet floor signs are often around 26 inches long. Similarly, a white or black placard might not be very easy to spot, so these signs are often bright yellow. Typically, these signs also include more than one language (or one language on each side) and a pictorial representation of the warning to avoid any language barrier issues or issues for children and other people who cannot read.
Third, a sign that does nothing to actually communicate what the danger is might not be enough to help prevent injuries. In this case, the warning sign might not be an “adequate” warning sign and could fall short of what is required. For instance, a sign that simply says “caution” does not tell someone where to look for the danger. That could be a warning of a low-hanging light fixture as much as it could be a warning of a loose tile on the floor. Whether the sign provides an adequate warning or not needs to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis.
Can You Sue in Texas if You Slip and Fall Because of a Disability When There Are Warning Signs?
Sometimes the reason that someone does not see or follow the warning signs posted near a spill or another danger is because of a disability that prevents the warning from being adequate. For example, a large, bright yellow “caution” sign might do nothing to help a blind guest who cannot see the sign. In these cases, it might be unreasonable not to warn the patron in another way – such as by speaking to them about the dangerous spill or helping to escort them around the store.
Other disabilities, such as autism, processing disorders, or even Tourette syndrome, might make it hard to read, understand, or comply with a warning sign. Wet floor signs and other warning signs should be ADA compliant, but they are not always helpful for disabled people, potentially leaving them in harm’s way without warning. Moreover, it might not be practical to ask the property owner to be able to identify when someone has a disability that would make the sign inadequate.
Ultimately, the law only requires a “reasonable” warning, and the general public (which would make up a jury) might not be willing to extend that “reasonableness” to require an owner to use auditory warnings or to have someone stay near the sign to give additional warnings. Ultimately, it may be up to a judge and jury to decide whether the property owner’s actions were reasonable or not in the given circumstances.
Talk to a lawyer for help understanding whether the store met its duty or left you at risk and whether you could be able to file a lawsuit or not for your slip and fall injuries.
Call Our Slip and Fall Lawyers for Help with a Texas Injury Case
If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property, talk to one of our Houston slip and fall lawyers – even if there was a warning sign. Call The Queenan Law Firm today at (817) 476-1797 for a free consultation.