Dallas Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident Lawyer
We’ve all seen the cartoons where a character slips on a banana peel and goes flying. But truth be told, slipping or tripping and falling is no laughing matter. If you’ve been injured in a fall, you may be realizing the seriousness of this type of accident for the first time. But you are not alone. Falls are some of the most frequent and serious of all injuries, and if you’ve been injured in a fall on someone else’s property, with the help of a good Texas personal injury attorney, you may potentially be able to receive money as compensation for your damages.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident Statistics
Slip and fall accidents send nearly nine million people to the emergency room each year; and the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show the annual number of fatalities in the United States to be 30,208. That’s right behind motor vehicle accidents (In 2013, 32,719 people died in traffic crashes) as a cause of death. Here are some more statistics about fall injuries that illustrate the extent of the problem and the negative impact on the lives and health of many Americans:
- In addition to the more than 30,000 annual fatalities, the CDC reports that about 9 million people suffer non-fatal injuries from falls annually in the United States, serious enough to require emergency room treatment.
- Falls are the number two most common cause of death on the job, second only to motor vehicle crashes.
- Workplace slip and fall accidents are responsible for, on the average, more than 300,000 injuries every year.
- Every two minutes, another American is injured in a workplace fall.
- Falls are also the number two most common cause of fatalities in senior citizen communities and private homes.
- Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), according to the CDC.
- Traumatic brain injuries caused by falls are responsible for almost half of all fall-related fatalities among the elderly.
- Over 95 percent of all hip fractures result from falls.
- Uneven, broken, or otherwise defective and dangerous public walkways cause almost half of all slip, trip, and fall injuries.
Who is Liable?
The law in Texas requires that those who own or operate premises open to the public maintain the premises in a safe condition. Slip, trip, and fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability accident. Those in charge of the premises owe a duty of care to anyone legally on the property. If a property owner, lessee, manager, or maintenance contractor neglects to maintain and properly monitor the premises and fails to make repairs or post warnings, and a hazard occurs and is allowed to remain, if someone visiting the property is injured or killed as a result, the party responsible for the premises may be found liable for the victim’s damages.
If you have experienced a serious injury from a fall, chances are that you are in a lot of pain and are forced to restrict your activities substantially. You may be unable to work or take care of your regular duties in and around your home, and you have probably incurred piles of medical bills. When your fall was caused by a hazardous condition on someone else’s property in Texas, you may be able to recover money to compensate you for your economic and non-economic damages. You will, however, need to prove that the property owner was negligent and caused or allowed a hazardous condition to exist. This is best accomplished with the help of an experienced, board certified Texas slip, trip, and fall attorney.
Types of Injuries Sustained in Falls
Falls can easily result in very serious and sometimes catastrophic injuries. These are some of the common ones:
- Head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, often with paralysis
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones, especially hip and skull fractures
- Lacerations and scarring
- Internal bleeding
- Chronic pain
The Most Vulnerable Sector of the Population to Falls
Although a person of any age can be injured in a fall, the most vulnerable are our senior citizens. They are naturally frailer than younger people and tend to suffer from more serious injuries when they fall, often leading to loss of mobility, loss of independence, and a decreased life expectancy.
Where and How Falls Occur
Falls are most common on public walkways, they can occur anywhere: on stairs, ladders, job sites, restaurants, malls, store aisles, and driveways. They can be caused by fallen merchandise, food spills, potholes, and floors that have been over-waxed or are slippery and wet because of icy or rainy weather, or in areas that are strewn with items that create a tripping hazard. Stairs may be in poor repair or may lack handrails, or lighting conditions may be poor. There are many conditions that can cause a person to fall, and many things a property owner can and should do to prevent falls and the injuries they cause, for example:
- Providing adequate lighting
- Removing electrical cords out of areas where there is foot traffic
- Cleaning any spills without delay
- Posting warning signs or cordoning off any area that contains a hazard, such as a wet floor or fallen merchandise, until the problem has been cleared up.
- Keeping stairways free of tripping hazards
- Providing handrails on stairways
- Filling potholes and cracks that create uneven surfaces on sidewalks and in parking lots
- Aiming irrigation heads away from walkways
What Damages Can You Claim?
You can potentially recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that can be proven with bills, receipts and employment records:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Lost earnings and benefits
- Cost of medical or assistive devices
- Cost of household help to perform tasks you can no longer do
- Other out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of the injury
Non-economic damages are harder to assign a monetary value. They include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
What to Do (and Not Do) to Protect Your Right to Compensation for a Fall Injury
If you’ve fallen on someone else’s premises, taking certain steps can improve the likelihood that you will eventually receive money for your injuries. These are some of the things that you will benefit from doing (and avoiding). Clearly, your ability to do some of these things will depend on how badly you’ve been hurt.
- Report the fall to property management without delay.
- Take notes: record the name of the person you informed of the accident, if it was someone other than the manger or owner.
- Record the exact time and place your fall occurred.
- If anyone saw your accident, get their name, address, and phone number.
- Take pictures of the area, including the hazardous condition that resulted in your falling. If you don’t have a cell phone with a camera, ask someone else to get some pictures.
- See a doctor of how and where your fall occurred.
- Save the clothes and shoes you were wearing and don’t clean them.
- Don’t give a recorded statement or sign any paperwork for the premises management or their insurance company’s representative. If they ask, tell them they will have to talk to your lawyer.
- Make an appointment to speak with a Texas Board Certified personal injury attorney for a case analysis. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you will find one of the state’s top-rated lawyers by calling the law offices of attorney Aaron Herbert.
- Do allow an insurance adjuster or company representative to record a statement from you, and do not sign anything unless your attorney tells you to.
Free Consultation in Dallas-Ft. Worth
Slip, trip, and fall accidents can seriously disrupt your life. To get the compensation you need and deserve when your injury was someone else’s fault, call the law offices of Dallas attorney Aaron Herbert to discuss your case with a top-rated, board certified personal injury attorney.