Trip and Fall Accident Lawyer
Trip and Fall Accident Attorneys in Houston, Texas
If you have suffered an injury due to a trip hazard causing you to fall in a place of business, you may have legal recourse. Our trip and fall attorneys offer a free consultation to discuss your legal rights. Call us today at (713) 932-0777.
Trip and fall accidents are subject to the same rules as slip and fall accidents when it comes to determining liability. A property owner or person in control of property can be liable for injury to a visitor upon the property depending upon the visitor’s status as an invitee (social guests and store customers), licensee (uninvited guest or person there for the mutual benefit of both), or trespasser. For more information on these individual statuses, talk to one of our trip and fall accident lawyers or visit the slip and fall page.
When is a Business Liable to a Customer for a Trip and Fall Injury?
Under Texas law, a customer or invitee is owed a duty by businesses to make the premises reasonably safe. In order to prove liability, a trip and fall lawyer must prove that:
- There existed a concealed unreasonably dangerous condition upon the property;
- The property owner (or person in control) knew or should have known of the unreasonably dangerous condition upon reasonable inspection;
- The property owner both failed to remedy the dangerous condition and failed to warn the person who was injured, and;
- The unreasonably dangerous condition proximately caused the injuries.
This standard applies to trip and falls in people’s homes as well as businesses.
What is an Invitee?
An invitee is a person who is invited by express or implied invitation to enter the property of another. In the instance of a business, they are also referred to as a “business invitee.” A business invitee enters the premises by invitation for business purposes–that is, some business benefit enumerates to the business owner by the person being there. An example of this would be a patron to a store or restaurant. Because the business is open and inviting the public to come to the business, that business owes the people it invites in a higher duty of care than it would if the person was a trespasser or other unwanted guest. Specifically, the business owes a duty to conduct reasonable inspections of the premises and to then either remedy any unreasonably dangerous conditions or warn the invitee of any unreasonably dangerous conditions of which the business knows or should have known of upon reasonable time to discover. If you are not entering as an invitee, there is only a very limited duty not to willfully or wantonly cause you injury.
What Constitutes an Unreasonably Dangerous Condition?
Texas Courts define an “unreasonably dangerous condition” as a defect that constitutes an unreasonable risk of harm such that a person using ordinary care could not encounter such a condition with safety. See Univ. of Texas-Pan America v. Aguilar, 2007 WL. 610731 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2007, no. pet. h.). Determining whether a particular condition on the property can or cannot be encountered with safety is often a question that must be decided by a jury since there is no precise definition.
Furthermore, the condition must be concealed. This requirement does not mean that someone tries to hide it. Rather, it simply means that the invitee did not have actual knowledge of the dangerous condition and that the condition was not so “open and obvious” that the invitee should have seen it had they been exercising ordinary care. This requirement exists because there is no duty to warn someone of something they already know or should know. For example, if the invitee sees the condition and knowingly encounters it when there is an alternative route, the invitee has effectively assumed the risk of injury. This will typically relieve the landowner of any liability.
Examples of Causes of Trip and Fall Accidents
Trip and fall accidents occur in all types of settings from homes, to the workplace to retail stores. The reality is that most of them occur because of someone’s forgetfulness or thoughtlessness. Sometimes they are simply a result of poor planning and inspection. Some examples of trip and falls we have handled are:
- A supermarket stocker leaves a pallet cart behind customers while unloading or restocking.
- A salesperson leaves a store display with a low base sticking out into an aisle.
- A business fails to clearly mark a step-off in a sidewalk where the elevation change is obscured by the matching color of the concrete.
- A business owner fails to adequately light steps in an entryway.
- A contractor leaves low-stacked wood or tools in a heavily traveled work area.
Call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. for a Free Consultation
No matter what the cause, if you were injured as a result of a trip and fall, call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. to determine your rights. Our initial consult is free of charge. We will discuss the case with you and help you understand your legal options. If we take on the case, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means we front the expenses and you don’t pay us a dime for fees or expenses unless we make a recovery for you.