A slip or stumble and fall may leave you with little more than a sprained ankle, scraped knee and a seriously bruised ego. However, sometimes a ground-level fall can lead to severe injuries. It is not unheard of for such a fall to result in a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, internal injuries or even death. You may find yourself with lifelong pain and suffering all because someone failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent your fall.
Some of the more common conditions that lead to falls include loose or torn carpeting, objects left in the aisle of a store, uneven pavement, and wet or icy spots on the ground or floor. It may seem clear to you that one or more of these conditions was the reasons for your fall, but a successful premises liability claim requires more than just the existence of a hazardous condition.
The complexities of a premises liability claim
Filing a lawsuit or an insurance claim for compensation following a slip and fall means that you carry the heavy work of providing proof that you deserve such compensation. You will need the ability to answer many questions to proceed with your claim, including:
- Did the owner or manager know about or cause the hazard?
- If not, should the owner or manager have known about the hazard?
- If the owner or manager did know about the hazard, did he or she fail to mitigate the condition?
- Did the property owner take reasonable steps to limit the presence of hazards?
It might be most difficult for you to prove that the owner or manager should have known about a dangerous situation that led to your fall and injuries. Perhaps following your fall, you overheard an employee or another customer comment that such a fall was bound to happen or that it was not the first time someone had fallen because of that hazard. The investigation into the situation may include questions such as these:
- Had the hazardous condition been present long enough for the owner or manager to discover it and take action to fix it?
- Does the property owner have a schedule of inspections and cleaning that would have allowed him or her to notice the danger in a timely manner?
- Was there a legitimate and pertinent reason for the presence of the tripping hazard that resulted in your fall?
You should also be aware that while you are trying to prove negligence on the part of the owner, he or she will likely be working to prove that your actions contributed to your own injuries. Any amount of negligence on your part may reduce the amount of compensation you may be due. An experienced Texas attorney may best handle the delicate balancing act of establishing responsibility for your injuries.