Slip and Fall Lawyer in Houston, Texas
If you have a slip and fall injury, you must take certain steps to protect yourself immediately. Often, a slip and fall injury seems to cause just minor bruising or abrasions, and then more serious injuries are discovered later. Texas personal injury laws are complex, but Roberts Markland, LLP, has the knowledge and experience you need to handle your case.
Slip and fall cases in Texas are governed by two major laws. Here is what you need to know.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations governs how long you have to bring a court case. In Texas, slip and fall cases are governed by the same statute of limitations as all personal injury cases: two years. You may sue for personal injury, property damage, or both, but all damages fall within the two year statute of limitations.
The two year “clock” starts running on the date of the slip and fall, regardless of how much later you determine the extent of your injuries or property damage. Even if you are confident that you can settle with the property owner where the incident occurred, it is vital to give yourself plenty of time to go to court should it become necessary. There are very rare instances that might “toll” (pause) the clock, but an attorney is almost always required to take advantage of these circumstances.
To collect damages from a slip and fall, you must prove liability. After all, everyone has an obligation to watch where he or she is going, and it would be unreasonable to expect every potential hazard to be cleared away the moment that it occurs. To prove liability, one of the following circumstances must apply:
The owner of the premises or his or her employee must have directly caused the hazardous situation
The owner of the premises or his or her employee must have known about the hazard and chosen not to do anything about it
The owner of the premises or his or her employee should have known of the hazard because a “reasonable person” caring for the property would have found and addressed it
However, even if you can prove liability on the part of the owner of the premises, Texas law acknowledges what is known as modified comparative negligence. This means that your awarded damages will be reduced by the amount you are determined to be at fault.
Examples of ways in which you might be at fault include, but are not limited to:
You were in an area not open to visitors
You were on your phone or otherwise not watching your step
Your footwear was inappropriate for the conditions
You bypassed signage, ropes, cones, or other barriers around the hazard
You did not take steps to avoid the hazard that a “reasonable person” would have taken
If you are found to be 50 percent or less at fault, your damages will be reduced by the percentage at which you are at fault. If you are found to be 50 percent or more at fault, you will not receive any compensation at all.
Modified comparative negligence makes it absolutely essential to hire an experienced slip and fall attorney even if you expect to settle. Insurance companies and defense attorneys often attempt to shift as much liability as possible onto the injured party to reduce settlements or even avoid making payment altogether. Your attorney can fight back.
Ready to Get Started?
If you believe you have a slip and fall case in the Houston area, call Roberts Markland today at 713-630-0900 to learn how we can help.