Can You Sue for a Slip and Fall Injury?
Yes, you can sue for a slip and fall injury. Slip and fall accidents can lead to cuts, bruises, sprains, broken bones, head injuries, and other serious conditions. Recovering from a slip and fall injury can force you to take time off of work leading to lost wages and mounting medical bills. If the property owner or manager did not do enough to prevent your fall, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
What Is a Slip and Fall Injury?
A slip and fall injury happens when there is not enough traction or friction between your feet and the surface you are walking on. Slipping injuries can be caused by:
- Loose mats and rugs.
- Oily or wet surfaces.
- Icy or broken walkways.
- Walking surfaces with little to no traction.
Elderly people are most at risk for falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control, three million older adults are treated in hospital emergency departments each year for injuries caused by falls. They also reported one out of five falls causes a head injury or broken bones.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 887 work-related fatalities from falls, slips, and trips in 2017. This is the second most common type of fatal occupational injury in the U.S.
Comparative Negligence Laws
You may be able to receive compensation after a slip and fall even if you are partly at fault for your injuries. The laws regarding how this affects a slip and fall lawsuit are called comparative negligence, and they vary from state to state.
Texas uses what’s known as modified comparative negligence. This means you can’t recover damages if you are found to be more than 50% responsible for your fall. If you are 50% responsible or less you can recover damages, but your award will be reduced by the percentage that you are found to be at fault.
Negligence needs to be proven in order to prevail in a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit. This means the property owner or manager failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the circumstances that caused the slip and fall. Some factors to consider when establishing negligence include:
- How long was the hazard there? Did the business or property owner have time to correct the problem?
- Could they have blocked off the area more effectively or placed warning signs?
- Was there a routine in place to check for hazards? If so, does a log exist showing whether this routine took place in the hours preceding your fall?
- Was there adequate lighting and visibility in the area where your fall occurred?
Statute of Limitations
The Texas Statute of Limitations is two years. This means you have two years from the day your slip and fall injury occurs to file a lawsuit. This is true even if you didn’t discover the full extent of your injuries until later.
If you file your lawsuit after this window of time, the judge assigned to your case will most likely dismiss your case at the outset. If you are thinking of suing over your slip and fall injury, contact an attorney as soon as possible so that he or she can help you meet this important deadline.
Attorneys have experience negotiating with insurance companies, and this can result in a higher settlement for you without even filing a lawsuit. A qualified attorney can help gather information, investigate your case, file a claim with the insurance company and, if necessary, file a slip and fall lawsuit on your behalf.