Slip-and-falls are the main reason for emergency room visits and they lead to an estimated 300,000 serious injuries per year. In addition, they rank third in the most common reasons of work place injuries.
A slip and fall accident happens when someone slips, trips or falls due to a “hazardous condition” (a situation that may lead to injuries) which exists on a public or private property. In general, property owners are responsible for any injuries suffered by their users, guests, and visitors while on their property.
Dangerous factors leading to slip-and-fall accidents
In general, slip-and-fall accidents are minor incidents, but in some cases, they lead to serious injuries, especially if they result from dangerous conditions, such as the following:
- Slippery or wet floors;
- Uneven tile or flooring surfaces;
- Raised or cracked sidewalks;
- Abrupt edges or cracks on driveways or sidewalks;
- Improper lighting;
- Unsecured or torn rugs or carpets (carpets that are unattached or slip easily);
- Stairs with narrow treads or broken handrails;
- Appliance or other cords stretched across walking paths;
- A change in floor surface.
These situations can happen in restaurants, on the sports field, in hospitals, shopping centers, stores, in private buildings or in public spaces such as on sidewalks and such accidents can be traced to someone’s negligence.
Liability in a slip-and-fall accident claim
Whether you intend to pursue an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit, you will have to prove who is at fault for your slip-and-fall injuries. The property owner or an employee should have identified the potential danger and removed it before someone got hurt. The main point is to determine if a reasonable person could’ve noticed the hazardous conditions and avoid it. If a property owner (or an employee) leaves a hazardous obstacle on purpose, it’s reasonably foreseeable someone will get injured.
After a slip-and-fall accident
If you are injured due to a slip-and-fall accident caused by someone’s negligence or fault, we recommend following these steps:
- If you are injured, seek medical attention;
- Gather information about the scene of the accident to determine the causes, for instance take photographs, write down a description of the circumstances surrounding the accident including specific details, such as the conditions of the area: wet floor, poor lightning, date and time the fall, the absence of any warning signs of a slippery floor;
- Get contact details of people who witnessed the incident;
- Contact the owner or the manager of the premises and explain what happened (if you fall in a supermarket, let the manager know about your injury and the circumstances of your accident, otherwise they might argue that your injuries were caused by a dangerous condition existing in the supermarket);
- Very important: it’s not in your best interest to talk to an insurance representative of the property owner until you contact your lawyer.
Hiring a layer is recommended since in such cases, time limitations apply, so you have to discuss your legal options as soon as possible if you want to receive compensation for your injuries.
The insurance company will start an investigation immediately after the accident in order to decide to what extent the accident was caused by your negligence. The questions you might be asked are related to:
- The type of injuries;
- What you were doing before the accident;
- The reasons you were at the accident scene;
- Whether there were warning signs about the hazardous conditions;
- If you were you taking part in activities that contributed to your slip-and-fall accident, such as: texting while walking, running, jumping or “skating” on a wet floor.
Insurance representatives usually seek to minimize the damages and try to reach a quick settlement with the victim and that’s why you need the help of a lawyer with considerable experience in dealing with insurance companies.
Common injuries suffered by slip-and-fall accidents’ victims
- Spinal cord injuries, leading to paraplegia, quadriplegia or nerve damage;
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI);
- Fractured bones including hip fractures and clavicle damage;
- Facial injuries (cuts, bruises);
- Neck, shoulder and back injuries;
- Loss of pregnancy caused by slip-and-falls;
- Knee injuries (including tears, sprains or strains).
Some of the most important factors in determining the settlement amount in a personal injury lawsuit are as follows:
- The type of injuries suffered by the victim;
- The cost of medical expenses (including present and future medical care and rehabilitation costs);
- Loss of wages and loss of future income determined by a permanent disability.
- Non-financial damages, such as pain and suffering;
- The percentage of fault – if the victim was partially at fault for causing the accident, they can still file a claim, only that the compensation amount will depend on the percentage of fault.
Pearland Personal Injury Lawyers will build a strong case
If you or a loved one suffered a slip-and-fall injury, you will have two legal options: negotiate a settlement agreement (you receive an amount to cover your losses, but you give up the right to file a lawsuit) or take your case to court where the right amount of compensation will be decided.
Either way, the expertise of a trustworthy lawyer is needed. Pearland Personal Injury Lawyers has extensive experience in such cases after successfully defending the rights of numerous slip-and-fall victims from Houston and surrounding areas (Pearland, Brazoria County, Galveston, Fort Bend, Harris). We fully support you from the minute you decide to hire us. We are experienced in successfully handling both negotiations and court representations, so don’t hesitate to call us today and schedule a free initial consultation.