If you tripped, slipped or fell on the property of another person, and you found that he or she was unable to take care of their property in a way that would not have caused an accident, then the owner would likely be held responsible for your injuries. In this article, we’ll take a look at common examples of outdoor slip-and-fall accidents, the conditions that make them possible, and the rules that define owner’s duty of care toward visitors. Contact our Austin personal injury attorneys
for help today.
Snow Outside A Building
Generally speaking, owners are not required by law to remove snow or ice that has accumulated outside the premises of the building, especially if it is due to the weather. However, if there are certain conditions on the property that caused the unusual accumulation, and they failed to act on it, resulting in injuries for pedestrians, then they may be held liable for the injuries following a slip-and-fall accident. Here are some conditions in which the owner could be held accountable:
- The rough, sloping surface of the building’s parking area becomes a puddle and freezes into ice patches during winter.
- Ice that accumulates on the roof of the building, eventually melts and drips off as a result of a clogged drain, and refreezes when it hits the ground.
Inadequate Lighting Outdoors
When it comes to parking lots, stairs and curbs, inadequate lighting may be grounds for an establishment to be sued for personal injury. If it can be proven that the owner knew that there was inadequate lighting in the area, and that correcting this problem would have prevented injuries from happening, then he or she can be held liable for personal injury.
A parking space owner has the responsibility to ensure that the space is well-maintained that customers, pedestrians and other individuals are safe while in there. Maintenance could involve patching and filling cracks and holes that can be potentially dangerous especially if paired with poor lighting.
Furthermore, for multilevel parking lots, the elevation going from one level to another should be subtle and gradual to prevent injuries from those who are walking through the ramps.
Sidewalks are typically owned by the town or the city, and are usually not a part of an establishment’s area of responsibility, per se. However, if a condition on the establishment exists, that creates a problem in the sidewalk and ends up causing injuries to people, then it is possible that they could be liable for personal injury. An example of which is if the establishment occupies the sidewalk then pedestrians are forced to walk on the street. Had the established not occupied the sidewalk (which is not their property anymore), the individual would not have walked on the street and therefore avoided possible injuries.
Slip And Falls While Shopping
There are different kinds of injuries that can occur while shopping. Some of which include:
- Head and body injuries due to falling objects, out-of-reach displays, retail displays and other possible mishaps.
- Slip-and-fall injuries due to wet floors, poorly lit areas, escalator malfunctions and torn flooring.
- Shopping cart injuries due to unstable carts that could tip over.
- Parking lot injuries, which can happen as a result of poorly designed parking systems as well as failing to remove snow and ice.
- Overcrowding injuries, which can happen in an emergency situation and a stampede occurs.
Those who are injured on commercial property may file for a personal injury claim, provided that the establishment was found to be negligent of its duties, which caused the accident to occur. The law of premises liability states that establishments have a duty to its customers to exercise reasonable care to ensure that they are safe from potential situations or dangers that can result in an injury. As an example, a restaurant should clean up any spilled food or drinks immediately to ensure that no customers slip and fall because of it. This also includes the installation of security systems to ensure that the customers are safe while in the establishment.
In proving that an establishment is responsible for the injuries sustained, the following must be established:
- The establishment was aware that there was a dangerous condition in the property.
- The establishment did not regularly check the property for any possible dangers.
- The establishment did not provide adequate maintenance and repair to avoid the danger.
- The customer would not have been injured if not for the said dangerous condition.
- A direct link can be drawn between the danger found and the injury that came out of it.
- The customer suffered damages as a result of the injury.
For the establishment on the other hand, they can raise the following defenses to a claim being made against them:
- There is no dangerous condition that exists within the property.
- The owner of the establishment had no previous knowledge of said danger.
- The owner of the establishment take reasonable steps to avoid any dangerous situation.
- The dangerous condition was too obvious not to avoid.
- The dangerous condition did not cause the customer’s injuries.
- The injury took place in a restricted area, off-limits for customers.
- The customer assumed the risk and acted negligently nonetheless.
What Monetary Compensation Is Available In Slip And Falls?
If you were hurt in an accident that left you deformed or disfigured, you can sue the plaintiff on the grounds that knowledge of the permanent physical damage is giving mental anguish.
Future Medical Bills
When settling, you don’t want to just present the current medical receipts and bills. Instead think about the medical changes that have resulted from this accident — in this case you will want to relate how often you will need to see a doctor in the future to your current settlement suit.
Sometimes included in the medical bills, these charges include compensation for having someone come over to take care of daily household things such as cleaning or cooking while the patient was recovering.
Loss Of Consortium
If the injured party is married, he or the uninjured spouse may claim they suffer from a loss of consortium, which may include solace, comfort, intimacy and sexual relations as a result of the accident. If the marriage was stable before the accident and certain forms of connection are now lost, the parties may sue for these types of damages.
Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life
This may mean an inability to enjoy the daily comforts or joys of the world that could previously be seen. This means that if a victim typically plays golf every day and finds great comfort from it and it had been an integral part of the lifestyle and finds himself no longer able to enjoy the game, he has experienced a loss of enjoyment.
Lost Earning Capacity
If a victim of an injury can prove that he or she will not be able to find the same caliber job that they enjoyed before the accident and can no longer make as much money or will be unable to work, they can sue on the grounds that they no longer can earn what they would have made without the injury.
Similar to the lost earning capacity, lost wages refer to the unearned wages specifically between the time of injury and time of settlement.
Medical expenses include bills and expenses for doctors, hospital visits, treatments and surgeries, ambulances, etc. The medical expenses must be the direct result of the injury in question.
Any mental suffering or emotional distress is considered mental anguish and may include fright, terror, apprehension, nervousness, anxiety, worry, humiliation, mortification, feeling of lost dignity, embarrassment, grief and shock.
Slip-And-Fall Claims For The Elderly
While slip-and-fall accidents are always a concern and can cause injury to even the youngest children, senior citizens are shown to have an increased risk of fatal falls. A study recently reported that the number of people aged 65 and over who have died following a slip-and-fall incident has increased in the past years. With an increasing life span, this only means more slip and falls that result in a fatal or permanent injury. For those wanting more information about this phenomenon, check out the facts associated with slip and falls among the elderly:
- Slip and falls are the most common cause of fatal injury among the elderly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries, which can put a painful halt on life for seniors who already may have decreased mobility.
- About 24,000 seniors died from slip-and-fall accidents in 2012, which is the last time this data was calculated. This number is up by almost 200 percent from the data recorded in 2002.
- In 2012, 2.4 million seniors were taken to the ER because of slip-and-fall accidents. This number is up by 50 percent since one decade ago, indicating that slip and falls are on their way toward becoming a daily fear for older Americans.
- In good news, senior care facilities appear to be taking measures to prevent slip and falls among the elderly. As a result of the increased slip and fall-related injuries, more senior care facilities and retirement housing centers are avoiding being the center of these injuries by installing better lighting and repairing any unpatched floors. Additionally, some centers are helping seniors develop better balance and agility through exercises.
- Slip-and-fall accidents may lead to personal injury lawsuits. While your primary concern when dealing with the slip and fall of a loved one or yourself is to get better, as the medical bills pile up and the injured person is unable to work, it may be necessary to receive monetary compensation. If the injury occurred on a premise that assumed responsibility for keeping patrons safe, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the party that owns the property. Additionally, if the slip and fall was the result of negligence or reckless behavior, the endangering party could be on the other end of a suit. In the event of a fatal injury, the family of the victim might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on the deceased’s behalf. In any case, you should not go through the legal process alone. Consulting an attorney can be the first step to making sure your expenses are taken care of.
Austin Slip-And-Fall Attorneys
There are many other types of suits that can be filed, so if you are considering a personal injury lawsuit
and are wondering what kind of damages you may be able to recover, call our office today so we can discuss the best settlement available to you. Our Austin personal injury attorneys offer consultations
If you or a loved one has suffered from injuries due to the negligence of other parties, then we encourage you to contact Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP
, for a discussion of your possible case.