Slip and fall accidents can have serious consequences. They're common from a wet floor or even an exposed electrical wire. If you're injured in a slip and fall incident in Dallas, someone else's negligence may be at fault. To determine if that's the case, you may want to seek out a Dallas personal injury lawyer. Depending on what your injuries consist of, you may be able to leverage significant amounts of compensation as a result. However, the location that you had your slip and fall injury also matters. The time and location of your fall all play a part in your case. How do you prove liability if you're injured on private property? Here we explore the conditions necessary to win a slip and fall case.
Hazards That May Result in Slip And Fall Accidents
In many cases, slip and fall injuries occur because of hazards that exist on the premises. A condition leading to an injury could be something as simple as an unmarked rope causing you to trip on the premises. Other times, it may be an improperly marked wet floor. A typical condition for a slip and fall hazard may fall under these common categories:
- Wet floors
- Poorly lit areas
- Uneven or damaged floor surfaces without clear marking
- Potentially dangerous equipment left untended
- Unlabeled electrical hazards
Each of these can cause significant damage to someone accidentally. Property owners can use liability insurance to help them deal with slip and fall cases. These insurance firms have a dedicated interest in keeping the cost of payments for damages low. They may employ several tactics to avoid having to pay a settlement to the injured party. Documentation for your treatments becomes a vital part of proving your claim and ensuring you get the money that's due to you.
Types of Injuries You May Sustain
Slip and fall accidents don't just endanger certain portions of your body all the time. They can cause severe problems with several different organs. Depending on where you fell and the type of response, your injuries may be more or less severe. In a worst-case scenario, an injured person may die or become permanently disabled. Among the common injuries, you're likely to encounter when it comes to slip and fall accidents are:
Broken Bones: The impact from a slip and fall injury could lead to this condition around the body. If the victim hits something else on their way to the ground, it could lead to more severe injuries along with pain.
Soft Tissue Injuries: These injuries aren't evident to the average onlooker. They occur within the body and may impact muscles, tendons, and other soft tissue that isn't immediately visible. Medical care is usually needed to spot these problems before they become severe.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): TBIs may range from concussions and bumps on the head to severe and debilitating injuries like skull fractures. In their worst expressions, TBIs can change how a person goes through their daily lives. TBIs can impact a person's ability to do simple things like walk or control their bodily functions.
Nerve Damage: Falls can have a negative impact on the nervous system. Nerves may become pinched or phantom pains may develop that need constant treatment. Spinal cord injuries may also occur from slip and fall injuries, resulting in the loss of mobility and lower quality of life.
Damage to Other Organs: The human body is a seamless system designed so that organs can depend on each other to function. If one of your organs is damaged in a slip and fall incident (e.g., your kidneys) it impacts how the other organs in your body function.
Recovery from these conditions can take time and potentially rack up massive medical bills as a result. Part of the settlement for these injuries may take the form of compensation for those medical bills.
Understanding How Slip And Fall Cases Are Seen Legally
When someone enters the premises of a building, then trips, and falls, they might be liable to compensation for their injuries. This procedure would be the case even if the person were on those premises with the owner's permission. If there are dangerous conditions that aren't clearly marked, that's a lack of due care. Generally, in a slip and fall case, a property owner is said to have a duty of care. This term means that the property owner would ensure that things that may cause harm to a person are adequately secured and dealt with. However, as Cambridge notes, the duty of care should take into account proper behavior by the visitor as well. This duty of care only extends to dangerous conditions that the owner knows about.
As any personal injury attorney knows, at the heart of any slip and fall case is the question of negligence. Was the premises owner negligent in their duty of care to the visitor who was injured? Was the visitor paying proper attention to warning signs? The personal injury claim will consider these questions. The lawyers for the property owner are likely to argue that you may have had some responsibility for your own injuries. In such a case, the settlement amount that you secure could be considerably less. Even if there is a shared fault finding, your settlement will likely be a bit less than if the property owner were found guilty. There's a rule called the "comparative negligence rule" that will determine the settlement owed to you in Dallas.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 33, Subchapter A notes the rule in its entirety. In non-specialist terms, this rule states that your compensation for any negligence will be reduced based on the amount you were at fault personally. If, however, the jury finds that you're more than 50% at fault for your injuries, you will receive no compensation for your premises liability claim. This rule isn't just something that your accident lawyers should be aware of if your case goes to court. Settlement lawyers may also use the rule to determine the amount of compensation that their client will have to pay in an out-of-court settlement.
When you receive the initial settlement offer, the chances are that the lawyers on the property owner's side may have already looked at the evidence and come up with a number. However, that doesn't mean that they are offering fair compensation for your fall. It simply shows that they are willing to attempt a settlement. You may press to have the case go to court, but you might not even receive anything if the jury sees you as more than half liable. Consulting an experienced slip and fall lawyer may be the best option in this case.
The Difficulty In Determining Negligence
Reasonable care is a significant part of determining negligence in a personal injury case. If you were visiting businesses but ignored warning signs, you were not exercising reasonable care. Being careless might get you injured through no fault of the business owners. In such a case, the court is likely to find that your injury claim has no merit because the owner was not the responsible party. A slip and fall case needs to show that the victim was exercising reasonable care when injured. This goes for injuries sustained on both slippery floors as well as parking lots.
The second crucial point that slip and fall cases rely on is proving that the property owner was negligent in their duty of care to the visitor. Determining how much of that fault rests with the visitor is sometimes left to the insurance adjuster. The adjuster will attempt to find holes in your story and prove that their client isn't liable for the injuries caused. This approach might take the form of denying your claims or determining that your case is not strong enough to stand up in court. Witnesses may affect how the jury sees the case.
Next Steps to Take
If you have to deal with an insurance company for your slip and fall claim, you should determine the strength of your case from the outset. Consulting with a skilled lawyer will give you the edge since they can help you understand what you need. Additionally, a lawyer can aid you in negotiating the best possible settlement. The insurance company will have their own legal firm present to represent them. Choosing to lawyer up simply puts you on equal footing with their negotiator. You also have the option of sending a demand letter through your lawyer. This action may speed up the process or aggravate the insurance company. If talks break down, then taking the case to court may be in your best interest. Having Glenn law firm on your side gives you the peace of mind to take on an insurance company's legal team.