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09/14/2021

Shopping can be a fascinating activity, especially when you're in the company of your loved ones. You probably wouldn't imagine that anything would go wrong until you slip and sustain a severe injury. A CDC report showed that one out of five falls could cause severe injuries like broken bones and head injuries. A traumatic brain injury can be life-altering and, unfortunately, is a common type of injury that many slip-and-fall victims suffer.

Many things can make you fall unexpectedly. From wet floors and slippery surfaces to insufficient lighting, uneven floors, and slick entryways, the culprits are many. While accidental injury in the supermarket can be inevitable, sometimes, the property owner is at fault. 

If that's the case, your accident lawyer can file an injury claim against the building owner. Sometimes, you may also be a responsible party in your accident. This article sheds more light on this.

Is a Store Liable For Slip and Fall Accidents in Dallas?

Who's Responsible for My Slip & Fall Accident?

From spinal cord injury to shoulder injury or neck injury, slip-and-fall accidents can cause devastating damage to a person. Apart from the bodily injury, the injured party usually suffers emotional distress and economic loss due to heavy medical bills. As such, if you're a slip-and-fall accident victim, it's okay to seek legal remedy for your pain and suffering.

One effective legal remedy obtainable in these cases is a civil action for damages for your loss. To get compensation, you must find out who is liable for your injuries. Many times, it's the property owner of the store where the accident occurred who bears liability for the accident.

According to the NSC (National Safety Council), falls are 100% preventable. Most times, they occur due to the property owner's negligence. As such, the injured person can bring a premises liability claim against such careless owners. The store may be responsible for your accident because they must take reasonable steps to keep their property safe. 

That means they must prevent any hazardous condition that may lead to an accident on their premises once they're aware. For example, the property manager must ensure that wet surfaces are dried as soon as possible. Wet surfaces create unsafe conditions in a store, and if the store neglects to clean them, they've breached their duty. The burden of proof to show the store owners negligence rests on you.

If you can prove the store owners' breach of duty, you can successfully file an accident claim against them. To successfully win your case, you must show that the property owner owed you a duty of care. Next, you must show a breach of duty through negligent actions.  

Proving that the store had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition may be challenging, especially if they deny such knowledge. However, where you can't prove actual knowledge, constructive knowledge is enough. Constructive knowledge means that the store possibly knew or ought to have known about the dangerous condition. That is, they would notice the property defect if they were inspecting it as they should.

It's not enough that the store was careless; there must be proof linking the negligence directly to your injury. So, if it is proven that something else caused your injury,  you may lose your claim. The compensation you can get in a successful claim includes damages for medical bills, loss of enjoyment, non-economic damages, etc.

Does Comparative Negligence Affect My Premises Liability Claim?

Premises liability laws make owners of the property responsible for accidents caused by dangerous conditions they had actual knowledge of. However, in some cases, the injured party may also be accountable for their injuries. In Texas, this is called comparative negligence. It can significantly affect your personal injury claim against the property owners.

There are many circumstances where you can also be an at-fault party in your accident. Some common examples are:

  • The premises where you fell was out-of-bounds for your category of visitors.
  • You were distracted and weren't paying reasonable attention to where you were going.
  • The clothing you had on was inappropriate and dangerous for the premises you were in.
  • The store warned about the unsafe condition and provided actual notice to customers, but you ignored it.
  • The dangerous situation was an obvious condition, constituting constructive notice.

If the building owners can prove your carelessness, Texas' Modified Comparative Negligence rule (also called the 51% bar) will apply. This rule stipulates that you will forfeit your compensation if you carry 51% or more liability for your fall. That is, if you are more than 50% at fault for the accident, you will lose your personal injury lawsuit.

A wet floor has a warning sign in a building in Texas

If you're 50% or less at fault, you will be able to claim damages for your injuries. However, your Texas' Modified Comparative Negligence rule sum will reduce in proportion to your fault percentage. For example, imagine that you're 30% liable for your accident, and your damages are $60,000 altogether. In that case, you'd get only $42,000 ( $60,000 minus 30%) as compensation.

Even if you don't file a personal injury lawsuit, the modified comparative rule can still affect your insurance claim. That's because the insurance companies may want to apply this time in their negotiations with you. You'd need a personal injury lawyer to bargain the best sums for you in such cases.

What Should I Do After a Dallas Slip-and-Fall Accident?

Let's say you slipped on a slippery floor and crashed heavily on the ground as you went grocery shopping. The last thing on your mind at that point is a personal injury lawsuit. Your first instinct may be to manage the situation and let go of the embarrassment as soon as you can. You may also be concerned about relieving any chronic pain you may feel at that point.

However, the actions you take shortly after the slip-and-fall accident can significantly determine your case's outcome. Do the following to increase your chances of success: 

  • Call for Medical Attention

The first thing to do after a slip and fall is to call for urgent medical attention. It's still important to do this even if you don't have an obvious injury. First, you may have an internal injury that would only get worse with time. Secondly, medical attention helps to prove that you were injured.

  • Gather Evidence

While waiting for medical attention, take as many pictures and videos of the accident scene as you can. Be sure to capture obvious hazards, if any, strategically. If you didn't have your phone with you, take a mental picture of the scene.

Try to remember the details preceding your fall. When you can return on another day to take the pictures. The unsafe conditions that caused your fall may still be left unattended.

  • Interview Witnesses 

Watch out for the people that saw you fall and try to speak with them. Some of them may have helped you back on your feet after the fall. You can ask them about the hazards and politely request that they narrate what they saw. You can also request to record them as they speak.

  • File an Incident Report 

Depending on the type of premises you fell in, you must file a report to the appropriate channels. If it's private property, you will file a claim with the owner. For commercial property, you may have to file with both the owner and the occupier. 

If it's government property, you may have to consult with your accident attorney about that. There are strict laws and procedures guiding premises liability for government buildings.

  • Call Your Premises Liability Attorney 

One of the most important things to do after a slip & fall accident is to call your attorney. Your lawyer will advise you on your legal options and help you get the best compensation possible. Remember not to give any recorded statements before your attorney arrives.

Dealing with a catastrophic injury after a slip and fall isn't easy. If a store's lack of reasonable care caused your injury, you deserve compensation for such negligence. As such, you need an experienced slip and fall accident attorney to assist you in your claims.

A man falls on a slippery floor in a Houston office building

At Glenn Law Firm, we boast of the best personal injury attorneys in Dallas, Texas. Our well-trained lawyers will listen to your case and offer client-centered representation for you from scratch to finish. Even if you were comparatively negligent, we would ensure we negotiate the best compensation deals possible.

Your legal option to claim damages for your injuries elapses after a period of time. So, contact us now for a free case review. 

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