There are a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to personal liability cases. Personal injury is a broad topic of law that encompasses a couple of different types of cases. They can include workers’ compensation and personal liability cases—often known informally as slip and fall. People’s ideas of what these cases entail can differ and are often misinformed by popular media, movies, or rumors. In Texas, premises liability cases can be difficult and thus require the help of a knowledgeable attorney.
So how do you know when you have a premises liability case? Let’s take a look!
Premises Liability Explained
Just because a person falls or injures themselves on someone else’s property does not guarantee a case. There are several factors that come into play as well as necessary burdens of proof. There are statutes in place that protect property owners from frivolous lawsuits. So to have a case, there needs to be proof that the landowner’s or property owner’s negligence caused you to fall.
What Should I Do After I Experience a Fall?
Slips and falls can be tricky and deceiving. It’s not uncommon for a person to “feel fine” after they experience a fall and see residual injuries or damages later. One famous example is the late wife of actor Liam Neeson. The 45-year-old Natasha Richardson was skiing when she fell and hit her head. She got up and seemed to be fine. She waved off ambulances and medical attention. As it turned out, her head had been seriously injured and she ended up succumbing to her injuries that night.
That, of course, is an extreme example and by all accounts, this was kind of a freak accident, but it does speak to the idea that we often feel just fine right after it happens and neglect to see a doctor. So, what is one of the first things you should do?
Go see a doctor. Get checked out, especially if you feel that there might have been some serious trauma involved, and even if you don’t. A check-up won’t hurt, but it can save you from making a condition worse unknowingly.
How is Compensation Determined?
Your personal injury lawyer will work out a fair compensation based on several factors. Some of the main details a lawyer looks at include:
- Any lost wages from your employment
- A reduction in earning potential (for example, if you worked as a massage therapist but injured your hand)
- The liability of the person that is responsible for the accident
- The extend of your injuries and medical bills associated with the injury
Examples of Possible Slip and Fall Accidents and Hypothetical Case Results
Need an example? So let’s look at some hypothetical examples of slip and fall cases to provide illustrations of the details mentioned above. These are, of course, examples to give you an idea of what a case might require, but they are in no way legal advice.
#1 Falling on Icy Sidewalk
Conditions: Let’s say it is the middle of the shopping season and you are out and about doing some Christmas shopping. It has been raining and the sidewalk is icy and wet. You fall on the sidewalk in front of a store and hurt your back.
Do you have a case?
Casework: In order to investigate the case, a personal injury attorney would go back to the scene and take a look at some of the conditions. Let’s say that there was a neglected gutter on the storefront that led to the accumulation of water and ice on that particular stretch of sidewalk. The overhang right above the area had no gutter to control the runoff water, which meant the snow fell onto the sidewalk. An attorney would have to prove that the store owner, for example, should have known about this fault in their property.
#2 Falling on a Restaurant Hallway
Conditions: You are in a busy buffet restaurant. The drink station is near the bathrooms so that people must walk through that area to reach the facilities. As you walk across the drinks station, you slip and fall on some ice cubes on the floor. You come to discover that some of the ice was melted and had also helped cause the fall. You hurt your arm badly and think you might have a fracture.
Do you have a case?
Casework: To have a case it must be proven that the employees of the store or the store manager had known about and had failed to pick up the ice or that perhaps employee training was insufficient. An attorney might investigate the training practices, clean-up schedule, or interview witnesses and employees of the store. Some degree of clear and intentional neglect must be established in order to build a strong case. To suggest that an employee had failed to pick up the ice might not be enough to win the case, this may require some assurance that the staff knew about the ice and failed to clean it up.
How About Some Statistics About Fall and Injuries?
Everyone loves numbers and statistics. They can be surprising and enlightening at the same time.
- Falls account for about 8 million hospital emergency room visits
- According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, flooring materials directly contribute to about 2 million fall injuries a year
- For people between the ages of 65-84, falls are one of the main causes of injury-related death
- Falls account for about 87% of fractures in people 65 years of age and older and is the 2nd leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the same group
Think You Might Have a Case? Don’t Wait, Call Quiñonez Law
Have you been injured in a slip and fall scenario? Every case is different and one varying detail can make the difference between a case and no case. Being injured in a fall is not fun and can significantly alter a person’s quality of life and life circumstances. That’s why we’re here.
We investigate. We ask questions. We collect evidence.
Call Quiñonez Law today and let’s build this case together.
Our posts are for informational purposes only and are not meant to be legal advice. To speak to an attorney, call our office.