Texas Slip and Fall Lawyer

Houston Slip and Fall Accident Attorneys

Slip and fall accidents or are often the subject of jokes in cartoons and slapstick comedy in the media but did you know that in 2014, slip and falls accounted for over 32,000 accidental deaths?  When you are seriously injured because someone left a slip hazard on the floor, it is no laughing matter. Call a slip and fall lawyer to fight for your rights.

The law office of Simmons and Fletcher P.C. in Houston, TX, is ready to investigate your case. We have a slip and fall attorney who is ready to provide a free consultation for your potential lawsuit. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is in your best interests to contact an experienced Houston slip and fall accident lawyer right away. Call us at: 1-800-298-0111 to arrange your 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 mean:

  • Invitee – An “invitee” is defined by the law as a person who enters the property of another for the property possessors benefit.  A retail customer is an “invitee.”  A social guest at home or 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 land owner/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 work space, warehouse or lunch room without anyone having granted her permission, she would be considered a trespasser even thought 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 as related to status are:

  • Duty to an Invitee – The duty to exercise reasonable care to provide a safe premises upon which to visit. The person in control of the property is obligated disclose all unreasonably dangerous conditions of which he is aware and those that he should have knowledge of  had he conducted a  reasonable inspection of the property.  This is a “knew or should have known” standard known as “constructive knowledge.”  If the land owner has actual or constructive knowledge of an unreasonably dangerous condition posing a slip and fall hazard, he has a duty to 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 duty to licensees to disclose known dangerous conditions.  There is no duty to for the land occupier to conduct any inspections in order 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.

Slip and Fall Accidents in Grocery Stores and Commercial Properties

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

And many more commercial and community subdivision properties.

floor mat to prevent slip and falls

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 an attorney who will investigate the scene right away, before the negligent party can change or repair the faulty condition on the premises.

Slip and Fall Accidents On Private Properties and Residences

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 of potential risks they encounter when they are invited in. Failure to do so can result in civil liability for personal injury damages.

In addition, licensees and even certain trespassers have a right to be warned of known dangers if their presence can be anticipated. A dangerous condition on 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 has knowledge, there is no need to warn him.  As a result, actual knowledge by the injured party is an absolute bar to liability.
  • 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 where a person tries to walk across a frozen pond.  However, this defense is not effective where 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.

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 int he body’s ability to “bounce back” from a fall on a hard concrete or polished tile floor as is often found in supermarkets, malls and stores.  Some of the common injuries we see include:

Let Us Help You Recover From Your Accident

At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. in Houston, Texas, we act quickly and advocate relentlessly on behalf of serious injury victims and their families for the maximum recovery they deserve. 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: 800-298-0111. Our office is conveniently located to Houston and Katy residents next to the Memorial City Mall on I-1o.

See What Our Clients Think

Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ” I would recommend Simmons and Fletcher to anyone! From start to finish my case was handled properly! Amanda Johnston handle 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. There professionalism, and mannerisms are astonishing!!” -Christashaia W., actual client.

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Author

Paul Cannon

Paul Cannon has practiced personal injury trial law since 1995. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law (2005). He has earned recognition as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters in 2017 & 2018, and as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association in 2017. He is a Shareholder, trial lawyer and online marketing manager at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. His legal writings have been published by the Texas Bar Journal, Business.com, Lawyer.com HG Legal Resources, Lawfirms.com, and others. He has been asked to give education talks and media interviews on dog bite law.