Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and Fall Lawyer

Houston Attorneys for Slip and Fall Accident Victims

A slip and fall lawyer fights to hold a negligent landowner liable when he ignores a slippery hazard on the floor of his residence or place of business but invites people onto the property.  This most commonly involves a store owner or business operator who makes his place of work open to the public without making sure it is safe for the public. It may also involve a private residence opened up to people but with hidden defects or dangers of which the owner fails to warn others. Irrespective of how your slip and fall accident happened, talk to a Houston slip and fall lawyer to determine your rights today by calling 800-298-0111.

The law firm of Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury and Accident Lawyers has been helping slip and fall victims recover money damages for injuries, medical bills, lost income, impairment, and mental anguish since 1979. Call us to arrange a free consultation.

Liability Dependent Upon Classification Of the Injured Person

Texas law states that the duty a person in control of real property owes to a person who enters the property is determined by the injured party’s legal status.  This duty may vary drastically depending upon the injured person’s status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.  Here is what each of those classifications of legal status means:

  • Invitee – An “invitee” is defined by the law as a person who enters the property of another for the property possessor’s benefit.  A retail customer is an “invitee.”  A social guest at a home or an apartment is another example of an invitee.
  • Licensee – A “licensee” is defined by the law as a person who enters the property of another for the mutual benefit of the landowner/possessor and the individual visiting.
  • Trespasser – A “trespasser” is defined by law as a person who enters the property of another without any invitation or right.   It is important to know that the status of a person who enters as an invitee can become a trespasser if he leaves the authorized area to which he was invited. For example, if a customer were to find his way back into an “employee only” area such as a workspace, warehouse, or lunchroom without anyone having granted her permission, she would be considered a trespasser even though she originally entered the store as an invitee.

Classification determines the duty that the person with right-of-control over the property owes to the injured person. The duties are:

  • Duty to an Invitee – A landowner owes the duty to exercise reasonable care to provide a safe premise upon which to visit. The person in control of the property is obligated to disclose all unreasonably dangerous conditions of which he is aware and those that he should know had he conducted a  reasonable inspection of the property. This is a “knew or should have known” standard known as “constructive knowledge.”  If the landowner has actual or constructive knowledge of an unreasonably dangerous condition posing a slip-and-fall hazard, he must either eliminate that danger or warn the public of the danger.  Failure to do one or the other results in liability for injury caused by the unreasonably dangerous condition. Furthermore, the warning given needs to appropriately make the visitor aware of the risk of harm posed by the condition.
  • Duty to a Licensee – A premises occupier owes a duty to licensees to disclose known dangerous conditions.  There is no duty for the land occupier to conduct any inspections to make the property reasonably safe for a licensee because a licensee is not as protected as someone the landowner invited to come.
  • Duty to a Trespasser – This is the least duty. A person in control of the premises owes a trespasser the duty to not intentionally or willfully cause that person harm.  Trespasser premise liability cases are some of the most difficult cases to prove. As a result,  they often find themselves looking for an exception to the trespasser status–some of which are discussed below.

Are Business Owners Liable for Slip and Fall Accidents?

Wet floor signThe owner of any place where the general public is invited to come and shop or conduct business has a duty to conduct reasonable inspections to keep the premises safe for their patrons. Failure to conduct reasonable inspections, identify unreasonably dangerous conditions, and either remedy the condition or warn the public of the condition may result in the business owner’s liability for a patron’s injury thereby.

Spills and leaks in machines often cause hard-to-notice slip and fall hazards in public places. Faulty railing, rotten balconies, and steps, poor lighting, holes, and elevation changes in walkways all may lead to a serious injury from an unanticipated fall. Properties that frequently expose people to slip and fall accidents include:

  • Hotels
  • Water Parks
  • Neighborhood and Community Recreation Centers
  • Amenity Lakes, Ponds, Swimming Pools, and Playgrounds
  • Go Cart Tracks
  • Restaurants and Bars
  • Banquet Halls and Wedding Venues
  • Office Buildings and Corporate Campuses
  • Grocery Stores, Malls, and Department Stores
  • Katy Outlet Malls.

These businesses expect these falls to happen and they often have risk management teams who know how to take action to hide the evidence of their liability. If you wait to hire a slip-and-fall lawyer to take quick action on your case, there is a strong possibility that the problem will be repaired and the evidence will disappear. Contact a slip and fall attorney who will investigate the scene right away, before the negligent party can change or repair the faulty condition on the premises.

Are Homeowners Liable for Falls On Their Property?

Homeowners and landowners are also responsible for eliminating and/or disclosing known hazards and hazards of which they should know upon reasonable inspection to their social guests. They must tell their guests about the potential risks they encounter when they are invited in. Failure to do so can result in civil liability for personal injury damages.

Also, licensees and even certain trespassers have a right to be warned of known dangers if their presence can be anticipated. A dangerous condition on a property that is likely to draw children or others onto the property because of its allure or appeal is an example of this known as an “attractive nuisance.” Properties with swimming ponds, trails, or tracks that might be reasonably anticipated to draw people onto the property may fall under the attractive nuisance doctrine if they conceal a hidden danger.  Additionally, if a landowner is aware of people regularly trespassing and he does nothing to stop them (such as a farm owner allowing school kids to cut across a field), the trespassers may become licensees or even invitees under the eyes of the law–allowing a lesser burden of proof for liability.

Knowledge-Based Defenses

  •  Actual Knowledge Defense – Awareness or knowledge of a dangerous condition by the injured plaintiff is a legal defense to liability that can be raised by the person in control of the premises.  This makes perfect sense if you think about it. A landowner can discharge their obligations by warning the visitor of the unreasonably dangerous condition. The point of a warning is to give a person knowledge. If he already knows there is no need to warn him.  As a result, actual knowledge by the injured party of the dangerous condition is an absolute bar to liability for a slip and fall accident.
  • Open and Obvious Defense – If a hazard is “open and obvious”  for everyone to see the risk, then the person in control of the property is no longer required to remedy it or warn the person of the danger. An example of this might be when a person tries to walk across a frozen pond.  However, this defense is not effective when a person has no choice but to encounter the hazard due to circumstances under the property owner’s control.  An example of this is an unlit stairway that is the only way for an apartment resident to get out of his apartment. A good slip-and-fall attorney can effectively argue that a warning is wholly inadequate where the fall victim has no other alternative than to encounter the risk.

Slip and Falls Statistics

According to OSHA, slip and falls account for 230,000 injuries on the job.  An estimated three times that many non-work slip and falls occur every year as well.

Common Slip and Fall Accident Injuries

Injuries from slip and fall accidents can range from very minor to extremely severe. Age and infirmity play a huge role in the body’s ability to “bounce back” from a fall on a concrete floor or a polished tile floor as is often found in supermarkets, malls, and stores.  Some of the common injuries we see include:

What Damages Can I Recover From a Slip and Fall Case?

When you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you are entitled to make a claim for your lost earnings and earning capacity, medical bills, future medical care, pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, and scarring that you sustain as a result of the fall.

Let Us Help You

At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. in Houston, Texas, we act quickly and advocate relentlessly on behalf of serious injury victims and their families. Each case is treated according to the unique needs of each client. Call us today to speak with an experienced, trusted slip and fall accident attorney regarding your injury claim: (713) 932-0777. Our office is conveniently located for Houston and Katy residents next to the Memorial City Mall on I-1o.

 Client Reviews

Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ” I would recommend Simmons and Fletcher to anyone! From start to finish my case was handled properly! Amanda Johnston handled my case so well, as well as communicated with me throughout the entire ordeal, and even after everything was over, she still contacted me asking how I was. They understood my pain, and always made sure to keep me in mind when handling my case! The entire process was fair, and there wasn’t anything to worry about keeping Simmons and Fletcher in mind. If I worked for a company, I’d hope for it to be like Simmons and Fletcher. Their professionalism and mannerisms are astonishing!!” -Christashaia W., an actual client.

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