Get Answers From An Attorney Who Knows Texas Slip-And-Fall Law
I am Joseph Onwuteaka, a personal injury lawyer with more than 30 years of experience in slip-and-falls and premises liability. Below I have addressed some common questions that people have about premises liability law. But these cases are fact-specific and every situation is different.
I am happy to discuss the facts of your accident and answer your additional questions in a free consultation. Call my Houston office at 281-661-5333.
What is premises liability?
This is a legal doctrine that says property owners owe a duty of basic safety to patrons, tenants and visitors. If their failure to provide a safe environment leads to injury, the owner can be sued for monetary damages.
Are owners automatically liable for a slip-and-fall?
No. In fact, Texas law is favorable to property owners. The victim must prove three things: (1) serious injury, (2) a dangerous condition and (3) that the owner had the opportunity to fix the hazard or warn people. There are many factors, such as whether the safety hazard was obvious and how long it had existed. Many lawyers do not take slip-and-fall cases because of the difficulty and legwork required. I take the tough cases that other attorneys won’t.
What types of damages can I recover?
If the owner is found liable, you can seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. Slip-and-falls often involve broken bones, fractures, head trauma and other serious injuries, in which case damages might include future medical costs, loss of earning capacity, and permanent disfigurement or physical impairment.
What if I was partly at fault?
Under Texas comparative fault law you can still recover partial compensation as long as you were not more than 50% at fault. For example, if you were running, didn’t see the safety cones or were looking at your phone when you tripped, the defense could argue that your compensation be reduced accordingly.
Do I need video proof?
Security cameras can be very beneficial in a slip-and-fall case, but it is not a requirement. Witnesses can be very helpful. I also research prior complaints or code violations that show a pattern of negligence. The cellphone in your purse or pocket can capture powerful proof of the dangerous condition before the property owner has a chance to cover it up.
What does it cost to hire a premises liability lawyer?
Nothing upfront. I handle slip-and-falls and other premises liability cases on a contingency fee. This means you owe no attorney fees unless I obtain a recovery for you. The percentage depends on whether we settle your case or have to litigate it.
What should I do if I was injured by unsafe property?
The first thing you should do is seek medical attention for your injuries. The next step should be to contact a premises liability attorney. There are many specific things you can do to protect your rights and strengthen your legal case:
First of all, you do not want to make any statements regarding your injuries or their cause. It is important that you preserve your rights in these situations and the best thing to do is to remain silent.
Take detailed photos of your injuries and the scene of the accident. A picture is worth a thousand words and detailed photos can make a big difference in a premises liability claim. When you describe things, people make up their own pictures in their heads based on their interpretation of what you say. If you show them a photograph, there will be no question of what they are seeing.
Try to get the name and contact information of the owner or property manager. If you are able to do this, it saves time on the investigation and there is an immediate direction in your case. Then the attorney can work on pursuing important details and talk to witnesses before specifics become vague.
Save your attire and your footwear. The owner or company that is being held liable in the case will most likely try to argue that the accident was somehow your fault. Saving and preserving specific items – such as the clothing and footwear that you were wearing during the accident – will help prove otherwise.
Save receipts and documentation of all medical expenses related to the accident. Organize every doctor and hospital bill and keep them all in the same place for easy access. If the accident occurred in a place of business, they are required to make an accident report. It may just be an internal report, but it is required. Ask for a copy. If they give it to you it can also be very helpful.
Keep a journal. Write down the date of the accident and every detail that you can remember. Details will become vague with the passing of time, so get them on paper before that happens. A journal can also be used to document pain and suffering. Write down how things have changed for you since the accident. Document the things that are different. It will help substantiate the mental anguish as well.
Don’t sign anything. Again, preserve your rights. Insurance companies may try to get you to settle for a lesser amount than you are entitled to. Nothing needs to be signed so quickly that your attorney can not review it first.
Injured On Someone Else’s Property?
Call Law Office Of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C., at 281-661-5333 for a free case evaluation. I will personally handle your case and diligently pursue your maximum compensation. I represent the injured in Houston and the surrounding communities of Harris and Fort Bend counties.