How Do You Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident?

Whether or Not a Landowner Is Liable/At Fault Depends Upon the Circumstances

Thousands of people are injured every year after slipping on wet floors, stairs, and other surfaces. If this has happened to you or a loved one, it makes sense that you might be are eager to seek justice as a result. However, the laws governing these situations can be complex, and thus it is advisable to first chat about your options with a skilled slip and fall lawyer.

One key question you must first ask is whether it could have been prevented by the owner of the property where you slipped. In other words, given that it is common for small leaks or uneven surfaces to occur everyday without property owners necessarily knowing about it, it is important to know that they are not automatically at fault (and thus liable) for your slip and fall accident. This is especially the case if it is obvious that you as the injured person should have known about the dangerous condition that caused your accident (such as an obvious pool of gasoline that you should have avoided). While the property owner must act carefully and avoid negligence, you must also not be careless in failing to avoid something obvious.

The Law & Legal Duty

Specifically, under Texas premises liability law, the property owner or occupier has a duty to keep the premises that are under their control reasonably safe. If a plaintiff is injured by a condition on the property, they can prevail against that owner and occupier if they can prove that the owner or occupier (or their employee) breached its duty of care under the law via some act or failure to act (which then, of course, caused the injury). Those in charge of the property must have caused the dangerous condition or must have known about it (because a reasonable person would), but have done nothing to remedy the issue.

Questions To Determine Negligence And/Or Reasonableness?

But how does a judge or jury determine whether the property owner was negligent and/or reasonable? They look at the circumstances of each situation on a case-by-case basis. Questions that are sometimes asked include:

  • How long had the dangerous condition been there?
  • Was there evidence that the owner knew about it?
  • Does the owner or occupier have any procedure(s) in place to examine and repair situations on the property?
  • Was there a legitimate reason for the condition?
  • Would it have been relatively easy to make the condition safe enough to avoid the accident?
  • Did any other negligence on behalf of the owner, occupier, or their employee contribute to the situation?

Keep in mind that it isn’t just the owner’s carelessness that is relevant here. You too will be questioned as to why you were in that spot, whether you were careful, whether there were any warnings provided that you could slip and fall there, etc. You should also recognize that under the law, a landowner has a different duty depending upon whether someone is a guest, invitee, or trespasser. Landowners are not liable for injuries to trespassers with the exception of willful or wanton acts or gross negligence.

Don’t Forget About the Statute Of Limitations

However, Texas law also imposes a statute of limitations on how long you have to bring a civil action seeking compensation as a result of any personal injury you experienced as a result of your injury. In Texas, you have two years to file your civil action against the individual or business responsible.

Contact Our Texas Slip and Fall Attorneys

If you have suffered from slip and fall injuries here in Texas, contact us today to find out how we can help.

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