What to Do After Your Slip and Fall Accident
If you trip and fall while visiting a business or a property, you can help protect your rights to compensation by taking the following steps:
- First, if you need emergency treatment, that should be your number one priority. Always address your injuries first and call an ambulance if necessary. Getting a timely diagnosis of all your injuries, as well as treatment recommendations, in official emergency medical records can help you prove your injuries at a later date.
- If you can stay at the scene for a few minutes before heading to the emergency room, take pictures of the hazard that caused your fall. Take pictures of the entire area, as you never know what may be relevant to proving the negligence of the business.
- Speak with management so they can file an incident report. This can also serve as evidence that the fall occurred if the store tries to dispute the incident.
- Finally, you should always call an experienced personal injury law firm as soon as possible after your fall. It is never too early to begin discussing your legal rights and options, and your law firm can get to work investigating your fall and identifying liable parties.
We know that your full attention might be on your injuries, medical treatment, and physical recovery, and it is all too easy to put off finding the right law firm.
The good news is that you don’t have to look any further! The law offices of Stewart J. Guss and his team of experienced lawyers and legal professionals aim to make slip and fall claims as easy as possible for you, so please call us right now at 800-898-4877, or CLICK HERE to send us a message about your case.
FAQs About Slip and Fall Accidents in Houston
What Are Some Examples of Slip and Fall Accidents?
Slip and fall accidents occur for many reasons, and the risks of slipping and falling are present everywhere you go. When a property owner or other party fails to keep their premises safe and a slip and fall occurs, you may qualify to pursue a legal claim.
Some example scenarios include:
- A shopper who slips on a spilled cleaning product in a grocery store
- A customer who falls on a cracked sidewalk outside the door to a business
- An older person falling down the stairs at a shopping center due to a broken or missing handrail
- A visitor to a hospital falling on an unsecured rug in the waiting area
The types and severity of injuries may vary. Still, they can all arise from the negligence of a property owner or other party responsible for keeping the premises in a safe condition.
Where Do Slip and Fall Accident Cases Occur?
Slip and fall accident cases can arise whenever someone suffers injuries after slipping and falling on another’s property. A slip and fall typically occurs due to a hazard on the property.
For example, some places where slip and fall injuries may occur include:
- Restaurants, bars, and hotels
- Grocery stores, retail stores, and shopping malls
- Government buildings
- Hospitals and nursing homes
- Medical and other professional services offices
Slip and fall accidents can happen inside when customers, patients, or visitors enter these places. However, they can also happen outside of these places, such as on sidewalks or in parking lots. Property owners have a legal duty to fix dangerous conditions anywhere on their premises or warn the public that they exist, precisely so slip and fall accidents do not occur.
Who Is Responsible for Slip and Fall Accidents?
Under Texas law, anyone who bears some responsibility for a slip and fall accident can be liable for the costs of victims’ resulting injuries.
As such, injury victims may have personal injury claims against the following persons or companies:
- Property owners
- Business owners or managers
- Property managers or landlords
- Other negligent guests or employees present on the property
- Manufacturers of defective products or equipment
Even if you are watching your step, you may not see a hazard in time to avoid slipping and falling. Moreover, taking reasonable precautions while walking does not excuse property owners from taking care of their premises and keeping all areas safe for others.
More than one person or company could also be responsible for your injuries in a slip and fall accident case. Therefore, determining what led to your injuries and identifying all potentially responsible parties is a critical part of the investigative process that our Houston slip and fall lawyers can perform for you.
What Legal Responsibility Do Property Owners Have to Keep You Safe?
The owner or manager of a business open to the public owes the highest duty of care to keep visitors safe.
Legally, this duty includes:
- Regularly inspecting the property for any hazards that might injure people
- Promptly remedying any hazards
- Warning people of the hazards if they cannot immediately fix them
For example, suppose that a property owner finds a large hole in the floor of their store and cannot fix it right away or needs to call a contractor to help repair it. Until they have repaired the hole, the owner should take steps to adequately warn the public of the hole, such as by encircling the area with orange hazard cones and caution tape or posting prominent warning signs.
What Are the Three Types of Visitors to a Property?
An injury victim’s status refers to why they were on the property when they suffered injuries, which directly affects the legal duty that the property owner owes them.
The extent of this legal duty ranges from guests invited onto the property to trespassers, who have no legal authority to be on the property, as follows:
- Invitees are people who property owners want to visit the property for their own benefit, such as guests, customers, and friends.
- Licensees are people present on the property with permission of the owner, but for their mutual benefit, such as construction or utility workers.
- Trespassers have no permission to be on the property, so the owners owe them the lowest duty of care. The only duty of the property owner is to refrain from causing any intentional or willful harm to trespassers.
What Happens if My Slip and Fall Accident Happens at Work?
If you suffer an injury at work, you typically must file a workers’ compensation claim to receive financial support. Many Texas businesses have this no-fault insurance to protect their employees when accidents occur on the premises.
Rather than filing a claim or lawsuit against the property owner or other liable party, you would file a claim with the workers’ compensation insurance company. Such a claim usually covers medical costs and a certain percentage of your weekly wages if you are out for an extended period.
What Evidence Is Necessary to Prove a Slip and Fall Accident Case?
You must provide evidence of several elements to prove liability in a slip and fall accident case. Some of these elements include the existence of the hazard, the liable party’s knowledge of the hazard, and their failure to address it. You must also prove that these factors created the condition for your slip and fall, causing you to suffer injuries and losses.
Essentially, you must show that you would not have slipped, fallen, and sustained injuries if the property owner had remedied or warned you of the dangerous condition.
Evidence that our attorneys often look for in these cases include:
- Surveillance camera footage: Video footage could show the circumstance leading up to, during, and after the slip and fall, potentially proving each of the elements outlined above.
- Witness testimony: A witness could corroborate your story or provide additional insight into the case. For example, they may have reported the hazard on a separate occasion, suggesting that the liable party was aware of the situation before your fall.
- The facility’s records: If someone had already reported the hazard, the owner may have a written record of it and any attempts to make repairs.
- The victim’s personal records: For instance, you can provide evidence of your injuries through medical records and bills, doctor statements, work records, and similar types of evidence.
Other forms of evidence could also be available, depending on the specifics of your accident.
What Kind of Legal Case Is a Slip and Fall Accident Claim?
A slip and fall accident claim is a type of premises liability case. This type of legal claim occurs when a person suffers an injury due to a dangerous condition on someone else’s property. Under premises liability laws, owners and others who have control over property that is open to the public have a legal duty to keep the premises safe for others.
Premises liability cases can also fall under personal injury or wrongful death. Which applies will determine who can file for damages and the types of damages that could be recoverable.
Why Should I File a Slip and Fall Accident Case?
Although a slip and fall might seem like a minor accident, that is not always the case. In fact, these incidents can lead to severe injuries that may result in permanent impairments. The more severe and permanent the injury, the more medical bills you will likely face. In addition, you may be unable to work temporarily or even permanently if you suffer a severe injury from a slip and fall.
Slip and fall accidents can even be fatal in some cases, especially for elderly individuals or those with underlying health conditions. When you or a loved one suffers injuries such as these in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you may have a legal compensation claim.
You should not be solely responsible for the costs of an injury that was not your fault. When someone makes a mistake, they should have to pay for that mistake. Through an accident case, you could pursue compensation for the costs of your or your loved one’s injuries.
How Much Compensation Can I Get for My Slip and Fall Accident?
If you suffer injuries in a slip and fall accident on another party’s property, you may be able to recover compensation through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. While the types of compensation may be similar from one case to another, the amount can vary.
Every case is different, so there is no average or minimum amount of compensation that victims may get in a slip and fall accident case.
Some of the factors that influence how much compensation you qualify to receive include:
- The extent of your injuries
- The overall impact of the injuries on your personal and professional life
- The permanency of your injuries or any impairments
- How much work you must miss due to the injury or if you can return to work at all
Your potential recovery in a slip and fall accident directly reflects the circumstances surrounding your injuries and how they affect your life. For example, a broken wrist that completely heals most likely requires less medical treatment and a shorter recovery period than a traumatic brain injury that may result in a permanent impairment.
Although the insurance companies involved will try to deny or minimize your claim, you can pursue all forms of compensation related to the losses you have sustained in your accident. Our slip and fall attorneys can help document those injuries and other related losses to build your case and strengthen your claim for damages.
How Long Does a Slip and Fall Claim Take to Settle?
The amount of time it takes to settle a case depends on multiple factors, including:
- The strength of your evidence against the liable party
- The size of your claim
- The liable party’s willingness to negotiate a settlement
- The complexity of the case
Ideally, it could take no more than a few weeks to negotiate a settlement that addresses all of your damages. However, not all slip and fall cases are easy to prove.
The liable party may try to pin the blame on you, requiring additional time and resources to prove your fight to financial recovery. However, our attorneys can handle these accusations of fault for you and take steps to keep negotiations moving forward, such as filing a lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have to File My Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, you typically have two years from the date that your accident occurred to file a lawsuit. If you miss this strict filing deadline, you lose your chance to get any compensation for your injuries. You also will be unable to hold negligent property owners responsible for their conduct in failing to maintain or repair areas of their premises.
However, some exceptions to this general rule or statute of limitations do exist. As a result, you may have more or less time to file your case in court. You can avoid missing this deadline by getting legal advice as quickly as possible after your accident occurs.
How Often Do Slip and Fall Cases Go to Trial?
Most personal injury cases don’t go all the way to trial, even if our firm must file a lawsuit to turn up the heat during negotiations. Trials are often costly and time-consuming for the liable party. As such, the simple act of filing a lawsuit could encourage them to increase their settlement offer.
Still, our attorneys are prepared to go to court in any case if it becomes necessary. As your legal advocates, we will do what is best for you and your financial recovery.
Call for Help With Your Slip and Fall Insurance Claim
Most people don’t realize they can file an insurance claim after a slip and fall accident. Just like other drivers should have auto insurance to cover crashes, stores and businesses should have adequate insurance policies to cover accidents that happen on the premises. While these policies may be substantial, these insurance companies are notorious for making life difficult for claimants and denying them the payment they fully deserve.
Even though insurance companies promise to be there when someone files a claim, these insurers are FIRST and FOREMOST companies. This means their TOP priority is always to maximize profits. The fewer claims they pay out, the higher their profits! This means they approach the claims process ready to limit payments whenever they can.
Insurers for large companies and store chains are skilled at taking advantage of injured claimants. Walmart even has its own insurance company called Claims Management, Inc., which is solely dedicated to handling claims against the store and limiting liability for the corporation. This giant billion-dollar corporation is willing to go to great lengths creating its own company JUST to avoid paying customers injured in its stores. It’s an understatement to say that many businesses and corporate insurance companies and ruthless when it comes to covering up mistakes and preventing liability for accidents like slips and falls.
The following are only some of the many ways a company’s insurer may try to limit your payment:
Challenging liability for the accident: Liability is often hotly contested in many slip and fall accidents. Many people may lose their balance and fall on their own, and insurance companies will certainly claim this is what happened. They will deny a hazard existed or that the hazard caused your fall. They will try to put the blame on you, which eliminates the responsibility to pay a claim.
Our team of lawyers and legal professionals regularly work to present clear evidence of negligence in slip and fall cases, which can require a thorough investigation and consulting with experts. We know how to prove that the store should be responsible for your losses, which can be a legally-complicated task. This is only one reason why you should call an injury lawyer when you slip and fall!
Doubting your injuries: Even if a business admits liability for a fall, the insurance company can still challenge the amount of damages you’re claiming. For example, if you claim medical bills for various treatments, the insurer may question whether all of those treatments were necessary for your type of injuries. They may claim that your injuries weren’t serious enough to cause pain and suffering or to justify your days or weeks of missed work. In some cases, the insurance adjuster may doubt whether the fall even caused your stated injuries or whether you had pre-existing conditions.
When you’re dealing with serious and painful injuries, as well as restrictions at work and home due to your injuries, it can be devastating when an insurance company claims your condition is not as serious as you say. Having them doubt you in an already difficult time can be heartbreaking. Remember that hope is never lost in this situation, as we know how to handle slip and fall insurance claims! We use your medical records, the testimony of your doctors and other medical experts, and any other necessary resource to prove the severity of your injuries and the extent of your losses.
Don’t settle for any less than you deserve. Insurance adjusters and companies will notice when a claimant does not have legal representation, and will tell you that you don’t need to call a lawyer.
This is not true.
A legal team can help you get what you rightfully deserve from a trip and fall claim.
Know your worth. We do.
To save money, the insurance companies use two very different strategies: promising to give a low settlement quickly, or delaying the processing of your claim until you give up.
It’s safe to say that you should never accept a slip and fall insurance settlement without first discussing the matter with an experienced lawyer. Only an experienced slip and fall injury lawyer can examine all of your losses and calculate the full value of your claim. Many people grossly underestimate their losses when they file their own claims, but our team knows how to account for ALL your past and future damages so you aren’t left having to pay for anything out of pocket.
We also know how to handle insurance adjusters and how to combat their tricks and tactics. Often, simply having our firm on your side will show the insurance company that you mean business and that you won’t back down. They know they can’t play their usual games with us, so it can often result in a fair settlement offer in a shorter period of time. Even if they fail to make the right offer up front, we can identify that the offer is insufficient and insist on more. We have our own negotiating tactics when dealing with difficult insurance companies.
In some cases, an insurer will refuse to cooperate and make a fair offer. Some lawyers may push you to accept the final offer, even if it’s inadequate, so they can resolve the case. However, our legal team is never afraid to escalate the matter and file a personal injury claim in court. Sometimes, the filing of a lawsuit will convince the insurance company to come around. We know how to handle the litigation process so we can best fight for the full compensation for each of our clients!
Contact a Houston Slip and Fall Injury for More Information Today
Did you sustain a slip and fall injury in Houston, Katy, Spring, The Woodlands, Cypress, Tomball, or anywhere in Texas? The Houston slip and fall legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, has the knowledge, skill, and experience to seek recoveries even in the most difficult cases.
In fact, the legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is nationally-recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, reach out to schedule a free consultation! Do not sign anything until you speak with us – you could risk losing some or all of the compensation that is due to you.
We take all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing upfront. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I was extremely impressed with how easy they made the process of dealing with my insurance company, doctors offices, and other bill collectors involved in my accident. They are very good at keeping you informed about your case, and turn your calls very quickly. If I am ever in another car accident I will be using them again.”
– Allen C.
Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers
12777 Jones Rd #297
Houston, TX 77070
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