How long your Texas slip and fall case takes to settle depends on a variety of factors. With an experienced attorney by your side, you may be able to reduce the length of negotiations and reach a fair slip-and-fall settlement without a protracted legal battle.
Average Texas Slip and Fall Case
On average, most slip-and-fall cases in Texas take one to two years to settle unless the premise owner chooses to fight the claim and forces you to file a lawsuit. However, in a case with a minor injury, or one not under dispute, it may be resolved in a matter of months. For more serious injuries or instances where liability is contested, it may have to go to trial before any resolution can be reached.
One of the most effective ways to speed up a slip-and-fall case in Texas is by establishing the facts with an attorney. Before negotiating with a potential liable property owner and their legal counsel, your attorney should gather evidence like police reports, eyewitness statements, video footage, eyewitness accounts, medical records, and anything else that may be relevant to securing a slip-and-fall settlement in a timely manner.
Why is My Texas Slip and Fall Case Delayed?
One main reason why your slip and fall case in Texas may be delayed is if you waited to seek medical care or are still undergoing rehabilitation after your accident. After a fall on someone else’s property, it is always advisable to see a doctor as soon as possible. If you wait to seek medical attention, it may become more difficult to establish that your injuries were directly caused by your slip and fall accident.
Other Medical Delays
In some slip-and-fall cases, a Texas court may delay a settlement until you have fully recovered from your injuries. This delay can work in your favor by ensuring that the full extent of your medical bills and expenses are accounted for in the final slip-and-fall settlement.
Severity of Injury
If you have suffered a traumatic injury of any kind, your case may take longer to resolve, as you may be seeking a larger settlement for extensive medical expenses. While larger slip-and-fall cases do not always take longer to settle, there may be more facts to present and establish. Examples may include your pain and suffering resulting from the accident, lost wages due to missing work, loss of consortium or enjoyment of life, temporary or lasting disability, and more. These details can lead to a longer discovery process compared to more minor slip-and-fall cases.
Another reason your case may be delayed is that proving liability can actually be very difficult in these cases, especially if you do not get an attorney to secure the video evidence immediately after the fall. Stores will often “recycle” video evidence in the weeks following a slip-and-fall accident if no one sends a formal preservation of evidence letter.
Property owners have different levels of liability in Texas, depending on the classification of the injured party. For those who are considered invitees, such as invited guests to a home or apartment, or retail customers to a store, the owner of the property has the maximum amount of responsibility to provide a safe visit. A property owner may protect themselves from liability for an invitee’s injury by proactively remedying any known slip and fall risks in a timely manner or posting adequate warning signs about those which cannot be remedied in a timely manner.
Property owners have less responsibility to protect licensees and trespassers on their property in the State of Texas. While you may be able to file a slip-and-fall claim in Texas if you fall outside of the most protected category of invitee, you will likely have a much harder time proving that the homeowner or store owner is liable for your injuries. Disputes over liability or classification of the injured party can result in ongoing delays in a slip-and-fall case in Texas.
Slip and Fall Litigation
One step that naturally takes time in a Texas slip-and-fall accident case is litigation. Once you have filed your civil court case after a Texas slip and fall accident, there is a period of time that spans from weeks to months when the other party must be served paperwork showing your intent to sue. The defendant, typically the homeowner or property owner, then has time to respond to your allegations.
After an answer is filed, your case is set to move into the discovery phase. This pre-trial phase can span for months, or even years in the most severe of cases, before the trial can begin. During this period, lawyers exchange evidence that they have gathered and consult with witnesses who will be asked to speak for and against your case.
Once discovery has been completed, it is common for the Courts to order the case to go to mediation. The sides typically must agree upon a mediator who will try his best to get the two sides to come to a resolution both can live with.
If neither party settles the Texas slip and fall case, it will go to trial. As long as a successful settlement is reached, this can be the end of the road for your case. If not, you may be able to appeal the court’s decision. Because of the many options to settle or appeal your case, there is no one answer for how long your slip and fall injury case may take to fully resolve once there has been a dispute between both parties.
Texas Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations
When you file your slip and fall claim in civil court, you must do so within the Texas statute of limitations. Under the Civil Practices and Remedy Code for Texas, adults have two years to file their claim after the initial date of injury. Minors get until 2 years from their 18th birthday to file their claim–but beware that the claim for a minor’s medical expenses incurred up until they turn 18 belongs to the parent, not the minor.
If you have missed this deadline, it is in your best interests to still consult with a local injury attorney. There may be a way to file a delayed claim and still recover compensation.
Talk to a Lawyer
Whether your case is settled directly with the opposing party or if it goes into litigation and ultimately a civil trial, having an expert by your side can help ensure that you do not experience any of the common pitfalls many injured Texans face when seeking compensation. Get a free consultation at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury & Accident Lawyers today.