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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