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.