The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over nine million individuals suffered injuries from unintentional falls in 2016. Although anyone can sustain a serious injury from a slip and fall, elderly individuals face heightened risk. In fact, unintentional falls are the leading cause of death for those ages 65 and older. Depending on the circumstances of the fall, victims may sustain a wide variety of injuries. While many slip and falls occur in a victim’s own home, some occur on another individual’s property, and may even be the result of the property owner’s negligence.
If you’ve sustained an injury in a slip and fall accident on another individual’s property, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries. Call one of the experienced slip and fall attorneys at the Law Offices of George Salinas, located in Austin, Texas, at (512) 851-1004, or contact us online, to discuss the details of your case and determine your eligibility for compensation.
Our Past Results in Slip and Fall Cases
At the Law Offices of George Salinas, our legal team has extensive experience negotiating, settling, and litigating slip and fall personal injury cases. In the past, we have secured millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. We cannot guarantee a favorable result in your case, as each case is unique, but the skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of George Salinas will diligently advocate for you to attain the best possible result.
What Causes a Slip and Fall Accident?
Many scenarios can lead to a fall that results in injury. Slip and falls typically involve situations where a victim falls on a slippery surface or trips over a hazard. Some examples of situations that might lead to a slip and fall accident include:
- Slippery floors as a result of waxing, water from rain, or spills
- Uncleared snow and ice—although rare in Austin
- Falling debris
- Poorly maintained sidewalks and walkways
- Structural problems in a building
- Old or poorly maintained staircases
What Injuries Might Result From a Slip and Fall Accident?
Slip and fall injuries vary greatly depending on the location of the fall and the direction in which a victim’s body falls to the ground. One out of five falls results in a serious injury, which might include:
- Fractured or broken bones, including wrists, arms, ankles, and hips
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, which might lead to lifelong complications or death
- Soft tissue damage, including sprains, strains, and tears of muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Psychological trauma that increases individuals’ fear of falling, thereby reducing their daily activity, making them weaker, and increasing their chances of suffering another fall
Liability for a Slip and Fall Injury
According to Texas law, property owners have a duty of care for those who visit their property. Depending on the type of property, this duty extends to social guests, customers, and members of the community that visit public spaces. Property owners are required to warn and protect visitors of known dangers. Business owners must post warnings that alert customers to potential risks. Some caveats to this broad duty of care include:
- A property owner cannot intentionally harm a trespasser, but only owes a trespasser a duty of care if the property owner is aware of the trespasser’s presence.
- A property owner has a higher duty of care in regards to children. Property owners must put up barriers, lock doors, and take other necessary steps to protect children—even those who are trespassing—from a potential risk.
- Property owners are not liable for injuries when an independent contractor is working in their home, unless they have previous knowledge of a hazard.
What Types of Damages Might I Recover Following a Slip and Fall Accident?
In personal injury cases that involve a slip and fall, victims might recover the following type of compensatory damages from the property owner or his insurance carrier:
- Medical costs, including emergency services, hospitalization, radiology, prescription drugs, doctor visits, travel expenses, and physical therapy
- Future medical costs in the case of a permanent disability or serious injury with a long recovery time
- Lost wages for missing work due to an injury
- Loss of earning capacity for permanent disabilities that prohibit a victim from ever returning to work
- Pain and suffering for the physical and emotional trauma of an injury
When a slip and fall accident occurs, liable parties often attempt to employ defensive tactics aimed at reducing how much compensation they must pay. Texas is a modified comparative fault jurisdiction, which means that once a court deems the property owner negligent, it assigns a portion of fault to each party. The court will reduce awarded damages by the percentage fault assigned to the victim. In the event that a court decides a victim was over 50 percent responsible for his or her own injury, that victim is prohibited from collecting any damages. This legal doctrine motivates the defense to shift as much blame to the victim as possible. To avoid culpability, the defense may argue that:
- You were on a prohibited area of the property.
- You were distracted while you were walking.
- You were wearing inappropriate or unsafe footwear.
- You ignored signs that the business owner posted to warn of the hazardous condition.
- You should have seen the hazard because it was obvious.
Hire an Experienced Slip and Fall Lawyer in Austin
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to ensure that you receive compensation for the full cost of your injuries. A qualified attorney with experience in slip and fall accidents knows the potential counterclaims and attacks that the defense may attempt to employ. Your attorney will advocate for you and fight to make sure those who are liable are held accountable. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, call the Law Offices of George Salinas today at (512) 851-1004, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation.
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