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Who’s Liable for Falling on an Uneven Sidewalk or Street?

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

A slip or trip and fall accident can cause serious injuries, including broken bones and concussions. If you get injured after falling on an uneven sidewalk or street, you may be able to bring a claim for financial compensation for your injuries and related bills. The party that is liable, or financially responsible, for your fall will depend on who owns the road and whether that party was negligent. Learn more about your rights as a fall victim in Dallas, Texas.

Who Is Liable for a Premises Liability Accident?

Premises liability is the area of law that holds the owner or controller of a property responsible for injuries that occur on that property. A property owner will only be liable for an injury, however, if the owner was negligent in preventing the injury. Negligence is the failure to use a normal amount of care or prudence for a situation. A property owner in Texas is negligent if he or she fails to keep a property reasonably safe for visitors. Property owners have three basic duties of care:

  1. Inspect land, buildings, roads and sidewalks for trip and fall hazards.
  2. Repair any discovered or already observed injury hazards.
  3. Warn visitors of defects that exist on the property that might not be obvious.

A property owner may not have all of these duties if the visitor is a licensee – someone who enters the property for their own purposes – or a trespasser. However, invitees, or guests invited to the property, are owed the highest duties of care. If a property owner does not meet his or her duty of care, the owner could be held liable for a resultant accident. In other words, liability will go to a property owner if another owner would have prevented the fall accident in similar circumstances.


Liable for Falling on an Uneven Sidewalk or Street

Private vs. Public Property

Determining liability after you fall on an uneven sidewalk or street requires an investigation into who owns or controls the property. If you fell on someone’s private property, such as a private driveway or road, the individual owner of the property could bear responsibility for your accident. In most cases, a homeowners insurance company will pay for injuries to others that arise because of property defects.

If you fell on a publicly owned sidewalk or street, however, the government entity that owns the land may be liable. If you fell on a public sidewalk in downtown Dallas, for example, the City of Dallas may have to pay for your accident and injuries. Municipalities have the same responsibilities as private property owners to maintain safe premises. If there is evidence that the government entity in charge of maintaining safe roads and sidewalks knew or should have known about a hazard but failed to remedy it, the municipality is liable for your injuries.

How Can You Prove Government Negligence?

If you need to bring a trip and fall accident lawsuit against a city, county or another government agency in Texas, it is important to understand what is required of you as the filing party, or plaintiff. The burden of proof rests with your side of the case. This means it is your responsibility to prove that the defendant is liable, not the defendant’s responsibility to prove that he or she is not liable. The burden of proof in a premises liability lawsuit is a preponderance of the evidence. This is enough clear and convincing evidence to prove that the defendant more likely caused your accident than not (with at least 50 percent certainty).

It is up to you or your premises liability lawyer to establish that the government that owned the sidewalk or street where you fell should have done more to prevent the accident, such as sending a maintenance crew to repair an uneven curb or marking the area off with hazard tape. This may require evidence such as photographs and surveillance footage, previous complaints submitted to the city for the uneven road, eyewitness statements, and expert testimony. An experienced attorney can help you collect evidence to support your claim against the government for your fall accident.

Posted by Legal Team at 9:36 am

How to Prove Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case in Texas

Friday, October 1, 2021

If you get injured in a slip and fall accident in Texas, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the property owner or another party. Before you can recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses, however, you or your attorney must prove negligence. This legal requirement asks for evidence proving that the defendant caused or contributed to your accident.

What Is Negligence?

In personal injury law, negligence is the failure to use a normal or reasonable amount of care based on the circumstances. In a premises liability case, for example, negligence may be a property owner intentionally ignoring a property hazard or defect. Negligence consists of four key elements:

  • Duty of care, or an obligation to act with care and prudence.
  • A breach or violation of the duty of care.
  • A causal link between the defendant’s breach and the plaintiff’s injury.
  • Compensable losses suffered by the plaintiff.

If a reasonable and prudent party would have done something differently in the same situation, the party in question is most likely guilty of negligence. When one person’s negligence injures someone else, the negligent party can be held financially responsible, or liable, for related losses.


Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case

Examples of Negligence in a Slip and Fall Accident Case

Many different examples of negligence could cause a slip or trip and fall accident in Texas. If the property owner reasonably should have known about the risk or defect that caused your accident, yet did nothing to remedy the hazard, he or she may be liable for your losses. Examples of property owner negligence that can cause slip and falls include:

  • Store employees ignoring slip and fall hazards.
  • Failing to follow a cleaning or mopping schedule.
  • Failing to post “Warning: Wet Floor” signs when necessary.
  • Ignoring dangerous weather, such as rain or snow.
  • Allowing a staircase to fall into a state of disrepair.
  • Ignoring the need to repair an uneven curb or surface.
  • Using lighting that is too low.
  • Failing to equip nursing home residents with proper footwear.
  • Failing to properly maintain a property.

As the plaintiff, or filing party, in a slip and fall case in Texas, it is up to you or your attorney to prove that the defendant was negligent and that this caused your accident. Meeting the burden of proof requires clear and convincing evidence of negligence or fault.

Evidence in a Slip and Fall Case

Evidence can refer to any records, information or data that can help you prove the claim that you are making is more likely to be true than not true. This is the burden of proof in a slip and fall case, known as a preponderance of the evidence. Take the following steps to collect evidence to support your legal claim as an injured accident victim in Texas:

  1. Immediately after your slip and fall accident, talk to eyewitnesses and report the incident to a staff member or supervisor.
  2. Take photographs while you are still at the scene of the accident, taking special care to capture the puddle, slippery surface or hazard that caused your accident.
  3. If there are surveillance cameras that might have caught your fall on tape, request a copy.
    After going to a hospital for immediate medical care, request copies of your medical records.
  4. Work with a slip and fall accident lawyer to gather other forms of evidence, such as maintenance logs.

The best way to prove negligence in a slip and fall case in Texas is with assistance from an attorney. An attorney will understand how to prove your case, as well as the best ways to negotiate with an insurance company for maximum financial compensation. You can relax and focus on healing while your lawyer takes the necessary steps to prove your case. Consult with a premises liability lawyer in Dallas today if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident.

Posted by Legal Team at 6:51 am

What Are Long-Term Injuries From a Slip and Fall Accident?

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Slip and fall accidents do not only cause minor bumps and bruises. According to statistics from the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and fall accidents account for over one million emergency room visits per year. A victim may end up in the emergency room after a fall for a serious injury such as a broken bone or head trauma. In the most severe cases, a slip and fall accident could inflict long-term physical injuries.

San Antonio Slip & Fall Lawyer

Complications From Hip Fractures

Bone fractures are one of the most common serious injuries related to slip and fall accidents. Bone fractures can occur in any part of the body in a fall, but the most frequent places injured are the wrists, arms, knees and hips. Out of all bone fractures from falls, hip fractures are the most dangerous – especially for the elderly. At least half of all seniors over the age of 65 who are hospitalized due to hip fractures from falls cannot live independently after the injury.

What makes a hip fracture a potential long-term injury is the risk of severe health complications. A hip fracture from a slip and fall accident can keep a victim immobile for a long period of time during the healing process. This can lead to additional health issues, such as bedsores, urinary tract infections, blood clots and the loss of muscle mass. Even after a hip fracture heals, a victim can continue to suffer from the effects of related complications. Elderly victims may not survive their hip fractures due to the risk of secondary conditions.

Knee Damage

A slip and fall accident can cause severe knee damage, as the victim may twist his or her knee during the fall. The kneecap may also break or shatter upon impact with the ground. Knee injuries can be difficult to heal. The knee is a highly complex part of the body that consists of many different bones, muscles and ligaments. A torn ACL or MCL can be especially difficult to repair and may cause long-lasting pain or immobility. Many victims require knee reconstruction surgeries and ongoing physical rehabilitation after fall-related knee injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury can occur in a slip and fall accident if the victim strikes his or her head in the fall. If the head hits the ground or a sharp object on the way down, it can cause brain trauma, with or without a skull fracture. Brain trauma can mean bleeding or swelling in the brain, as well as damage to the cells in part of the brain.

Severe brain injuries can cause long-term symptoms that last weeks or even months, such as cognitive challenges, trouble communicating and headaches. In the most severe cases, a victim can have permanent brain damage from a fall accident.

Spinal Cord Injuries

If a slip and fall accident causes damage to the spinal cord, a victim can suffer long-term pain or disability. The spinal cord is a fragile column of vertebrae, nerves and disks. If any part of the spine gets injured in a fall accident, the victim may not be able to make a full recovery. Nerve damage may cause chronic back pain, while a more serious spinal cord injury in a bad fall could cause permanent paralysis (loss of feeling and movement from below the point of injury).

Consult an Attorney About a Long-Term Injury From a Slip and Fall

These are only a few examples of many different injuries that could cause long-term pain and other symptoms from a slip and fall accident. These are serious accidents that often lead to premises liability lawsuits in Texas. If you or a loved one has a long-term or catastrophic injury from a slip and fall accident, consult with an attorney about recovering compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. A lawyer can help if the property owner or another party owes you financial compensation.

Posted by admin at 7:42 pm

What to Do If You Fall in a Store

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of serious injuries in the U.S. Falls, in general, account for about eight million hospital visits each year, while slip and falls alone account for one million. You could slip and fall when you least expect it – such as while grocery or clothes shopping. If you do suffer an injury in a slip and fall accident, take the right steps toward financial recovery.

Report Your Fall

As soon as you fall in a store, tell somebody about the accident. Ask the first staff member you see to get a manager or supervisor to the scene. Request an official accident report. If you feel too injured to move, ask someone to call 911 and request paramedics. Tell the manager what happened in detail: where you were, what you think caused you to slip, and the time and date of the accident. Getting all the facts down on paper while they are still fresh in your mind can help you build a slip and fall case against the store later. Keep a copy of the accident report.

Take Pictures

While still at the scene of the slip and fall, take photographs. Use your cellphone or a camera to take pictures of the aisle or location where you fell, the slippery condition, any surrounding property damages or warning signs, and your personal injuries. Photographs can serve as indisputable evidence during a slip and fall accident claim, such as that the floors were wet or covered in food debris. If you cannot take pictures, ask an employee of the store (or a friend or family member) to do so for you and to send them to you, if possible.

Talk to Witnesses

If anyone saw the slip and fall accident happen, get that person’s full name and contact information. You may also ask if the eyewitness is willing to give a statement. You can record the statement right there, on your cellphone, or explain that someone will call the witness later for an official statement. Eyewitness accounts may support your version of events, such as that the dangerous condition was present for half an hour or more before your fall. If you do not wish to talk to witnesses directly, simply get their information and give it to an attorney to handle the rest. Do not harass or pester witnesses, as they may become unwilling to cooperate.

Dallas Premises Liability Lawyer


Go to the Hospital

Go directly to a hospital or health care center for a physical evaluation. A doctor can diagnose an injury you suspected you had based on your symptoms. A doctor could also find an injury you were unaware you had, such as a slipped spinal cord disk you did not feel because adrenaline from the fall was masking the pain. Prompt medical care is an important step for your insurance claim. An insurance company could allege that you exacerbated your injuries by delaying medical care if you wait too long to see a doctor. Keep copies of all medical records, treatment plans, and hospital bills.

Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney

It can be difficult to obtain fair compensation for a slip and fall accident in a store in Texas. A storeowner may refute liability by saying you should have noticed and avoided the dangerous condition, or by alleging that its employees upheld a reasonable standard of care by cleaning the floors regularly. Furthermore, if you suffered soft tissue injuries, such as a pulled muscle, it may be more difficult to prove than an injury that shows up on x-rays, such as a broken bone. Regardless of the specifics, contact a Dallas slip and fall attorney for assistance with your injury claim. A lawyer will help you take the next steps toward recovering fair compensation.

Posted by admin at 6:29 pm

Who is Liable for Public Pool Slip and Falls?

Saturday, June 15, 2019

During the summer months, frequenting public pools to cool off is a tradition for many families across the country. Especially in extremely hot states like Texas, public pools can be a godsend for individuals that don’t have pools of their own. However fun they might be, congested public locations can pose safety risks, especially for young children. Moreover, if a public facility fails to properly warn the public about risks associated with their equipment and/or services, or provide proper maintenance to the premises, they could cause severe injury to those that trustingly enter their establishment.

What Could Go Wrong?

Though at first glance, a location might seem safe, this is not always the case. Upon further inspection, small building code violations and other instances of premises neglect reveal themselves. Some of the most common issues that cause premises-related accidents include:

  • A lack of signage designating rules, pool conditions (ex. water depth), or safety guidelines.
  • Inadequate shelving or other faulty equipment/furniture that guests interact with.
  • In public pools, this could mean leaving maintenance equipment out or neglecting to keep the pool area clean.
  • Uneven or rough surfaces that cause tripping, especially in environments that involve water. This applies to the pool’s structure, too. For example, a pool with concrete edging or tiling that lift.
  • Failing to maintain safety-related features, like railings and ladders that lead out of the pool.
  • Failing to place precautionary signs around areas that need maintenance, or areas flooded with water. 

Premises liability cases have their basis in the property owner’s negligence. If you suffered an injury caused by any aspect of an establishment that you know the owner is responsible for maintaining, you could have a valid case to file.

What is Comparative Negligence?

As mentioned above, premises liability cases are negligence based. In personal injury law, you must prove how the defendant caused your injuries. Proving negligence typically requires claimants to provide evidence that follows the same cause-effect timeline, no matter the type of personal injury case:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to provide safe services and/or products. In a premises liability case, this means the pool owner was responsible for keeping their facility safe while warning against potential hazards.
  • The defendant failed to meet this duty to maintain the plaintiff’s safety. This could be by neglecting pool facility maintenance or put up safety signs.
  • The defendant’s negligent actions directly caused the incident that injured the plaintiff. For instance, a guest might trip over uneven tiling in a pool locker room/bathroom. The defendant neglected to fix their facility’s surfaces, causing the plaintiff’s accident.
  • The plaintiff sustained verifiable injury. Claimants can prove this by providing their medical records after seeing a physician for their injuries.

Providing different forms of evidence surrounding these four key points builds a strong case on the plaintiff’s behalf.

Comparative Negligence

The state of Texas exercises comparative negligence laws. This means that each party must assume responsibility for their contribution to the accident. Law enforcement, insurance companies, or the court assigns each party a fault percentage that designates the proportion of blame each party possesses. Texas utilizes modified comparative fault, meaning you must possess less than 50% of the fault to file a claim for damages. Individuals that caused more than half the damage in an accident will most likely assume responsibility for their damages and the other party’s damages.

Who is Liable?

In premises liability cases several saving graces could save the owner from liability. For example, posted signs, rules, warnings, or other hazard-related materials throughout the facility could act in their favor when determining if the owner was negligent.

However, if there were no signs designating danger, like a sign warning about broken floor tiles, or other communication about premises safety, the plaintiff will likely possess a rating that allows them to file a claim. This means the facility’s owner is liable for all damages associated with the accident.

When entering any facility, it is the guest’s responsibility to abide by all rules and safety precautions communicated by the property’s owner. However, if they neglect to keep up their facility or provide safety regulations to their guests, they remain liable. This means you should talk to an experienced Dallas personal Injury Lawyer.

Posted by admin at 7:09 pm

What Are Owners Liable for in a Slip & Fall Accident on Their Property?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

When a person legally visits another person’s property, the visitor has a reasonable expectation to visit without fear of injuries. Property owners have a legal duty to ensure their properties do not pose any risks of injury to lawful visitors. They must take appropriate steps to address and correct known safety issues or at least provide adequate warnings to lawful visitors if those visitors are likely to encounter known safety issues while on the property. A personal injury attorney in Dallas can help an injured person understand his or her options for legal recourse after a slip and fall injury on private property.

Damages in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit

A slip and fall lawsuit against a property owner will follow a similar framework to any other personal injury claim. The plaintiff’s attorney will need to prove that the property owner owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, failed to uphold that duty, and consequently caused the plaintiff’s claimed damages. Several types of damages are available in a typical personal injury claim.

· Medical expenses. Slip and fall injuries can cause cuts, bruises, broken bones, spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and a host of other possible afflictions. A property owner who was negligent in the care and maintenance of a property and caused such injuries is liable for the victim’s immediate and future medical expenses resulting from the incident. This can include hospital bills, ambulance fees, surgical costs, and any costs for necessary ongoing treatment like physical therapy.

· Lost income. A slip and fall injury may cause the victim to miss work, and the defendant is liable for the wages lost during the victim’s recovery period.

· Property damage. If a slip and fall incident also damaged or destroyed the victim’s personal property (such as an expensive watch or smartphone), the plaintiff can claim compensation for the costs of repairing or replacing these items.

· Pain and suffering. The jury reviewing a slip and fall lawsuit will consider the plaintiff’s medical expenses as well as testimony from expert witnesses to determine a fair amount of compensation for the plaintiff’s physical pain, emotional anguish, and mental distress resulting from the incident.

· Punitive damages. In some cases, a jury may decide that a property owner was intentionally reckless or negligent beyond the scope of typical negligence and award punitive damages in addition to other damages. This discourages similar behavior in the future and the amount typically depends on the personal finances of the defendant; wealthier defendants pay more in punitive damages.

Determining Liability for a Slip and Fall Incident in Texas

Property owners are not automatically liable for any and all slip and fall injuries that occur on their property. Several factors may negate or mitigate a property owner’s liability. To succeed with a slip and fall lawsuit against a property owner, the plaintiff’s Dallas slip & fall injury lawyer must prove several conditions.

· The defendant owns the property where the incident occurred.
· The plaintiff was on the property lawfully. Property owners have no duty of care to trespassers.
· A condition on the property existed that created an unreasonable risk of harm.
· The risk of harm was foreseeable, or the property owner knew about the hazardous condition prior to the injury in question.
· The defendant failed to address the hazardous condition in a timely and/or appropriate manner, or did not take adequate steps to warn the plaintiff of the risk.
· The plaintiff suffered actual harm, such as a physical injury or economic expenses resulting from a physical injury.
· The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s damages.

When a slip and fall injury occurs on private property in the Dallas area, a Dallas slip & fall injury lawyer can help a victim recover his or her damages and hold a negligent property owner accountable. Call the law firm of Aaron A. Herbert today to learn more about our speciality practice areas.

Posted by admin at 12:29 am

What Can I Do if My Child Was Injured in a Haunted House?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Creepy music, dimly lit passages, and eerie décor set the stage for paying customers seeking to feel startled and scared in the classic Halloween-time haunted house. As costumed employees jump around corners and faux guillotines drop right in front of guests, people suffer premises-related injuries every year. In certain cases, haunted house owners bear responsibility for resulting injuries, and parents should take swift action to protect their children’s rights.

Types of Haunted House Injuries

Owners often lay out haunted houses in a way that disorients customers, creates sensations of unease, and directs the flow of traffic. If the owners and operators do not use extreme care during construction and employee training, they can create accident hazards and increase the overall risk of injury. Some of the most common types of haunted houses injuries include:

  • Actor-caused accidents. In character, some haunted house employees take their roles too seriously. They may grab guests or run into them with force. These actions can cause a child or adult to fall backwards, into other customers, or into a safety hazard.
  • Trampling incidents. In a particularly frightening moment, crowds may run together to get away from the startling image and knock down and/or trample unsuspecting children. Many reputable haunted houses limit the number of visitors allowed inside at one time to prevent these kinds of accidents.
  • Unsafe premises incidents. Haunted house operators must use reasonable care when constructing and maintaining the venue for the season. Improper ventilation, poorly secured props, rides, and exposed construction materials can all contribute to preventable injuries onsite. These oversights can result in injuries including carbon monoxide poisoning, lacerations, burns, and broken limbs.

The causes of these incidents are outside a visitor’s control. They can happen despite a visitor’s individual safety precautions.

Scare Related vs. Premises Liability Related Injuries

Haunted house owners are liable for injuries that arise from onsite hazards and negligent actions. However, all haunted house visitors assume a certain amount of risk the moment they walk through the entrance. If your or your child’s injury resulted from normal, safe, and age-appropriate haunted house conditions, the courts will likely side with the haunted house. Anxiety attacks and other fear-related injuries will generally not stand up as fair personal injury arguments in court.

The concept of assumption of risk will only protect a haunted house up to a point. You may want to discuss a scare related claim with a personal injury attorney before writing off legal action.

What to Do After a Haunted House Injury

Always make sure younger children visit haunted houses with appropriate adult supervision and that older children go in groups. As soon as you learn of the injury, take these steps:

  • Gather information. If you weren’t present at the time of injury, visit the area where your child was injured and take pictures. If you were with your child at the time of the incident, take pictures/video and ask people nearby for their account of what happened, while collecting names/contact information.
  • Report the injury to the haunted house manager or owner. Ask to file an incident report as soon as possible, and record the names of employees who talk to you about the incident. A haunted house employee may even serve as a valuable witness.
  • Take your child to a medical provider. Tell the physician about the incident and keep all medical records associated with the injury. A swift evaluation can link the injury to the haunted house and serve as a basis for your personal injury claim.

Most reputable haunted houses carry liability insurance to cover premises liability claims that arise onsite. Before you speak to an adjustor, accept a settlement, or let the case go, speak to an attorney. Your child deserves justice in incidents that involve haunted house negligence or malicious conduct, and taking action can prevent similar incidents in the future.

Posted by admin at 8:18 pm

When Can I Sue for a Parking Lot Injury?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Parking lots are the scenes of a variety of harmful personal injuries in Texas every day. Customers may suffer slip, trip, and fall in public or private parking lots, as well as be victims of car accidents, physical assault, or theft. Never assume that because you aren’t inside of a store you don’t have the right to sue a property owner for parking lot injuries. Many parking lot injuries are preventable and are therefore the liability of negligent property owners. To learn when you can sue for a parking lot injury in Dallas, work with a local personal injury attorney. Here are a few basic examples of when an injured party can sue.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slip, trip, and fall accidents injure thousands of people every year. People suffer serious injuries in slip and fall accidents in parking lots, such as broken bones, concussions, and head and brain injuries. Knowing when the property owner is legally responsible for your parking lot slip, trip, or fall injury can help you know when to file a personal injury claim. An icy parking lot, rough patch of grass, or uneven curb is only grounds for a lawsuit if the property owner knew or reasonably should have known about the dangerous issue but did nothing to prevent injury.

The Texas courts may hold property owners liable for accidents and injuries that occur on a property if proper care would have prevented the injury. For example, say a woman trips on an uneven sidewalk walking from the parking lot into the store and breaks her hip. If the owner of a grocery store should have noticed the dangerously uneven curb with proper routine maintenance checks, the courts may hold him or her liable for the woman’s injuries. In this example, the woman was an invitee to the property and the owner owed her the highest standard of care – including checking for and repairing unknown hazards. The woman would have to prove that a prudent property owner would have noticed the hazard and repaired or warned customers of it in the same circumstances.

Auto Collisions

If you get into a car accident in a parking lot, you may have a case against the property owner. If you suffered a personal injury such as whiplash or expensive property damage, a case against the other driver or parking lot owner may be worthwhile. The courts may hold a property owner responsible for parking lot collisions if the parking lot was in a state of disrepair or had known dangers that contributed to the accident, such as a downed light pole or inadequate/confusing signage. If the parking lot owner knew or should have known about car accident hazards and didn’t do anything to prevent a collision, an accident may be his or her responsibility.

Security Issues

Premises liability laws also encompass a property’s security measures. If the owner of a property has reason to believe there is a need for security measures such as a security guard, cameras, or extra lighting to prevent physical assaults and theft but fails to incorporate such measures, resulting in injury, the courts may find the owner guilty of negligence. A property owner may know of a security concern if the neighborhood has a high crime rate, if the previous owner had security problems, or if issues have occurred on the property previously.

Failing to make a parking lot as secure as the circumstances warrant is a form of property owner negligence that can result in serious physical, mental, and financial harm to property visitors. If you suffer as a result, speak to a personal injury attorney, file your claim, and prove your claim in the Dallas civil court system.

Posted by admin at 9:51 pm