Dallas Slip and Fall Lawyers
CALL (800) 863-5312 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION WITH A SLIP & FALL INJURY ATTORNEY
Not only are slip and fall accidents embarrassing, but they may also result in significant injury. Consequently, victims of slip and fall accidents may have to spend days, weeks, or even months seeking medical treatment and rehabilitating. In turn, this may lead to rising costs incurred for medical bills and missed time from work. Thankfully, victims of slip and fall accidents have rights and may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property and are interested in pursuing legal action, or to learn more about your rights, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Dallas slip and fall lawyers.
PROPERTY OWNER RESPONSIBILITIES
The law imposes a duty of care on landowners. This means that landowners are held to a certain standard with respect to protecting individuals who come onto his or her premises. This duty applies to anyone who owns property, both commercial and residential. Under the theory of premises liability, a landowner may be held liable when someone is injured on their property.
The exact duty of care owed by a landowner to another person depends on the type of relationship between the landowner and the person. Individuals who come onto a landowner’s property can be separated into three broad categories: trespassers, licensees, and invitees.
A trespasser is a person who enters onto a landowner’s property without the landowner’s permission. The law imposes minimal duties on a landowner with respect to trespassers, particularly trespassers who are on the property without the landowner’s knowledge. In other words, a landowner typically does not have a duty to keep his land in reasonable condition for the trespasser, nor is he expected to warn the trespasser of dangerous areas.
A licensee is a person who landowner permits on their property. In general, a licensee is on the property for his or her own amusement. This person is licensed to remain on the property only with the landowner’s consent. Typical examples of licensees include guests at a party or a family friend visiting a relative. In these cases, the landowner has a duty to warn of or make safe dangerous conditions of which the licensee is unaware and which the licensee is unlikely to discover.
An invitee is an individual who has been offered an express or implicit invitation onto the property, either for a mutual benefit or for something that is being conducted on the property. A typical example of an invitee is a store customer. Invitees are owed the highest duty of care by a landowner. This means that in addition to warning an invitee of non-obvious dangerous conditions, a landowner must also take the extra step of inspecting the premises and making sure its conditions remain safe.
COMMON SLIP AND FALL CAUSES
Slip in fall accidents can occur anywhere, at any time, for nearly any reason. Some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
One of the most prevalent scenarios involves a wet or slippery floor. For instance, grocery store customers are often injured after slipping on melted ice. Other wet floor accidents may involve a store failing to place warning signs around a recently mopped area. Other locations where wet floor slip and fall accidents can occur include schools, restaurants, and apartment complexes.
Escalators are another common source of slip and fall accidents. Specifically, when an escalator malfunctions or operates in a manner that it is not supposed to, persons on the escalator at the time of the malfunction are at risk of being injured. This type of accident may occur at grocery stores, malls, or stadiums.
Rocky, bumpy, or otherwise uneven surfaces are another culprit when it comes to causes of slip and fall accidents. Victims of this type of accident are often injured after taking a misstep into a curb, pothole, or another uneven surface. These types of accidents are most common at workplaces such as construction zones and store parking lots.
COMMON SLIP AND FALL INJURIES
One of the most common injuries that result from a slip and fall accident is injury to the lower back and spine. The impact of landing on a hard surface after a sudden and unexpected fall may cause vertebrae in a person’s spine to shift, thereby causing dull, radiating pain throughout the entire back and spine. In most cases, the pain is immediate. In other cases, the pain may take hours or even days to set in.
When a person falls unexpectedly, a natural reflex is to try to break the fall by extending the arms outward. When this happens, a person may be at risk of injuring his or her wrists. Therefore, many slip and fall cases involve the victim suffering a broken or sprained wrist.
Head injuries and concussions are also a common consequence of slip and fall injuries. The force of a person falling to the ground may cause the person’s head to hit the floor upon impact. Such a collision may put the victim at risk of sustaining various head injuries including a concussion or internal bleeding.
Cuts and Bruises
Slip and fall accident victims may also be at risk of sustaining lacerations from falling on debris or sharp objects. Additionally, bruising is a very common injury, particularly in the area of the body that made contact with the ground.
HOW TO FILE A SLIP AND FALL INJURY CLAIM
1. Seek Medical Attention
The most important step to take after being involved in an accident is to seek immediate medical attention. In many cases, the victim who fell is embarrassed and just wants to go home. In other cases, the adrenaline of the accident may lead the victim to entirely forget that medical attention is even an option. However, it is important to remember to seek medical attention, even if the injury seems minor. In many cases, the victim may feel fine in the immediate aftermath but will begin experiencing pain or discomfort hours or days after the accident. Thus, it is often a wise decision to get medical attention as soon as possible after a slip and fall injury.
2. File a Report
When possible, a slip and fall accident victim should also file an incident report. If the injury occurred at a store or location with on-site managers, the report should be filed with a manager or supervisor. Filing a report will create an official record of the incident which may provide benefits when it comes to strengthening the viability of a claim. When filling out the report, be sure to disclose as many details as possible, including where the accident occurred, how it occurred, and what injuries resulted.
3. Contact a Slip and Fall Lawyer
The next step in the process is to contact a slip and fall lawyer. A slip and fall lawyer in Dallas may schedule an initial consultation where the victim can provide the lawyer with his or her side of the story. After listening to and gathering all the important facts of the case, the slip and fall lawyer may be able to provide legal advice regarding your rights and options moving forward.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
The investigation phase of an injury claim involves the lawyer gathering important facts and evidence which may be used to show that the property owner should be held legally accountable for the injuries sustained on his premises. For instance, the lawyer may interview witnesses, review surveillance footage, analyze medical records, and discuss the case with experts. The investigation process may also involve accounting for the damages sustained as a result of the accident.
5. Settlement and Lawsuit
Prior to litigation, a slip and fall injury victim may have the option of accepting a settlement from the landowner or the landowner’s insurance company. In such cases, a slip and fall injury lawyer may negotiate the terms of the settlement on your behalf. If it is not in your best interest to accept a settlement offer, your case may proceed to trial. At trial, your lawyer may represent you by advocating on your behalf to establish the landowner’s fault.
SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT COMPENSATION
If the victim can prove that the accident was the property owner’s fault, the property owner or their insurance company faces the possibility of having to compensate the victim for the harm suffered, otherwise known as “damages.” The damages that may be awarded to a victim can be separated into three general categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are damages that can be added up on paper and calculated. In slip and fall accident cases, economic damages that may be available to the victim include:
- Medical bills
- Pharmacy bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Property damage
- Lost income (present and future), and
- Loss of earning capacity.
In contrast, non-economic damages refer to intangible losses that cannot be easily calculated. Rather, non-economic damages are subjectively evaluated by the jury in a lawsuit. Types of non-economic damages that may be available include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disability, and
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are a type of damages awarded not to compensate the victim, but to punish the wrongdoer. Punitive damages are rare but may be awarded in cases where the at-fault party’s conduct was found to be especially reckless, malicious, or intentional.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
LEGAL TIME LIMITS
A “statute of limitations” acts as a legal time-limit on which a personal injury victim must initiate a lawsuit. If the victim fails to file a claim within the relevant statute of limitations, the victim may be effectively barred from litigating the claim in court.
In Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including claims for slip and fall accidents. Therefore, a victim must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident. For instance, if the accident occurred on January 1, 2020, the victim has until January 1, 2022 to file a claim.
In certain situations, this two-year statute of limitations may be “tolled,” or paused. Tolling has the effect of giving the victim extra time to initiate a lawsuit. For instance, in cases where the victim was a minor child, the statute of limitations may be extended until the child reaches the age of majority or until the child is legally emancipated. The child will then have two years from that date to file a lawsuit.
Consulting with a slip and fall lawyer may help you grasp a better understanding of the ramifications of a statute of limitations and may help ensure that your claim is filed in a proper and timely fashion.
CALL THE DALLAS SLIP AND FALL LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
The experienced Dallas attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to handle your case. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation. No one would have to worry about affording legal representation while they are recovering from injuries, which is why we don’t charge you anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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