You might be surprised to learn that a slip-and-fall accident can leave you with serious injuries. These injuries may take months to recover from or even cause permanent damage. They may leave you unable to work as well, and the most upsetting part is that they likely could have been prevented.
When you suffer injuries in a slip-and-fall accident, you shouldn’t be stuck with mountains of medical bills because someone else was negligent. Here’s what you should know about this type of personal injury.
- How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
- What Elements Are Required for a Slip and Fall Claim?
- Who Is Responsible When You Have Slip and Fall Injuries?
- Proving Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents
- Damages You Can Recover in Your Slip and Fall Case
- How Long Do Slip and Fall Victims Have to Take Legal Action?
How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
Slip and fall accidents — sometimes referred to as slip, trip, and fall accidents — occur when a property owner is negligent about a hazard that could harm invited guests or patrons. These things can happen in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, apartment complexes, and other places.
You may have a slip and fall accident case arise for many different scenarios. For example, poor lighting in a parking garage could cause you to trip and fall. If there are loose handrails on stairs, missing steps, or other hazards in a stairwell, this would also be something a property owner should make sure is safe.
You could trip on uneven sidewalks, fall over unmarked obstacles, or slip on a wet floor that lacks proper signage to warn you. The key to slip, trip, and fall accidents is that the property owner is supposed to keep you safe. In the event a new hazard arises, signs should be placed to warn you of the danger.
What Elements Are Required for a Slip and Fall Claim?
In slip-and-fall accident cases, you must prove that the owner or property manager had a legal responsibility for your safety. Additionally, you need to prove that there was an unsafe condition on the property that caused your injuries. The hazard in question needs to be something the owner knew about or should have known existed, and you must have sustained damages as well.
This only applies if you are legally permitted to be on the premises. For example, if you’re a patron of a store, you are an invitee. This extension of permission to be on the property is also allowed to any licensee, such as those delivering food ingredients to a restaurant.
Who Is Responsible When You Have Slip and Fall Injuries?
It may surprise you how serious the injuries can be in slip-and-fall accidents. Hip fractures are particularly common for elderly injury victims in these scenarios. Traumatic brain injuries, concussions, back and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones are other common injuries suffered following a slip-and-fall.
If you’re now stuck with medical expenses to treat these injuries, it makes sense to wonder who is responsible. If negligence was a factor, the property owner or building manager would be the liable party responsible for compensating you for your financial losses. Property owners should have liability insurance in place for things of this nature.
However, fault may not only reside with the property owner. If they contracted other businesses to help maintain the premises or defective safety equipment was a factor, an investigation would determine other liable parties.
Proving Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents
As the injured party, you will need to prove negligence to pursue compensation in your slip and fall accident case. What most slip-and-fall victims may not realize is that getting photos and videos of the event can be a huge help in showing the hazard exists. Often, property managers will quickly repair the problem and claim that there was nothing to harm anyone on the property.
Even if this is true, it can help to get inspection records from the property. The hazard that caused you harm may be cited in these records. There may also be safety violations issued to the property owner by the city or state authorities.
Security camera footage and statements from eyewitnesses can help. If possible, the shoes you were wearing can be presented as evidence in cases where a slippery substance made you fall. You should put them in a plastic bag to preserve until the conclusion of your case.
Your medical records detailing the treatments you received will also be needed. This will show the property owner’s insurance company that you incurred injuries.
Slip and fall cases can be tricky to prove, but with a personal injury attorney, you’ll have a legal advocate who can help you gather the evidence needed.
Damages You Can Recover in Your Slip and Fall Case
If you are hurt on a property you are legally permitted to be on and can show your injuries were caused by a neglected hazard, you can file a personal injury case to seek financial recovery. This can include expenses for your medical treatments, surgery, physical therapy, and pain medications.
You may also be able to recover lost wages for the time you were unable to work following your slip and fall accident. If your injuries have led to a permanent disability, you can seek lost future income. Additionally, pain and suffering and other non-economic damages may be part of your claim.
How Long Do Slip and Fall Victims Have to Take Legal Action?
In Texas, it is important to move forward quickly when you want to file a slip and fall accident lawsuit. You generally have two years from the date of your accident to file, which sounds like plenty of time. In reality, you will already be spending much of that time going to your medical appointments for treatments and negotiating with the insurance company.If things aren’t being handled or the insurer denies your claim, you will want to work with a McAllen personal injury lawyer. With legal representation, you’ll have someone standing up for you when the at-fault party tries to downplay your injuries.