If you were injured because of a trip or fall, the Texas Slip and Fall Injury Guide was created by Austin injury lawyer Daniel R. Smith to help people like you earn maximum compensation from the insurance companies.
Sometimes tripping can be a minor, slightly embarrassing event. You might be able to brush it off and laugh about it later. Other times, it can cause some pretty significant injuries that will affect your life. When you are involved in a slip and fall that results in injuries, please do not hesitate to call our office today for a free consultation. We will get started on your case right away to make sure that you are set to get the compensation you need and deserve. We will not settle for less than that.
Types of Slip and Fall Injuries
If you think about slipping and falling, most people can get up and walk away with a bruise or two and be just fine. If you’re here, you probably did not get off so easily. There are a few different types of injuries you can get from tripping or slipping. They include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal cord injury
- Injury to soft tissue
It is possible that some of the damage you have had will be permanent and that will be taken into account when your attorney comes up with a number to ask the liable party’s insurance company for.
Essential First Steps for a Good Case
After the incident, there are two things that need to be done right away. Odds are your injuries won’t be life-threatening, but if they are, you need to get to the emergency room immediately. Otherwise, you can wait to get to the urgent care or your primary doctor long enough to collect some evidence from the scene. The most important thing to do is get photos of what caused your slip and fall. If you were at a grocery store and you slipping in a spill, get a photo of that. If you were at a friend’s house and they have a driveway that was uneven and you tripped on that, get a photo. To utilize this evidence in the best way possible, you should hire an experienced Texas slip and fall attorney right away.
How to Get Full Compensation
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state which has to do with how you can get compensation and what would need to happen to get you barred from compensation. Modified comparative negligence means that you have the potential to have your award reduced or completely eliminated depending on if you are deemed at fault for the slip and fall. If you have been deemed 50% or more at fault, then you will no longer be eligible for compensation. If you are 0% at fault, you will be getting the full award of your compensation. When you have partial fault for an accident, your award will be reduced. For example, if you are found to be 10% at fault for your slip and fall for whatever reason, your award will be reduced by that percent. Let’s say you were awarded $50,000 and have that 10% of fault. You would be eligible for $45,0000 of that award.
Statute of Limitations
If you slip and fall today, according to Texas law, you would have two years from today to either bring your claim or settle it in civil court. This might seem like a really long time, but these cases don’t settle overnight. There is a lot to do with your attorney and having ample amount of time to get your case strong will only be a benefit to you. If you miss this time limit, you will lose your right to compensation completely. Do not delay after the accident to contact an attorney to make sure you are well-prepared way before your statute of limitations runs out.
Liable Party’s Insurance Company
After the accident, you may be feeling hesitant to take legal action especially if you fell at a friend’s house. What you should know about slip and fall claims is that you are not suing your friend. You are not demanding they pay for your medical bills and lost wages out of their own pockets. You are asking their insurance company to pay your damages. You should never feel guilty for pursuing a claim. You should feel wary about the insurance company, though. They are not looking out for your best interests. Their goal is to keep you from getting the compensation you deserve. They will do this by asking you for a recorded statement and ask you questions that are framed in a way to make you seem like the liable party in this event. You can tell them that any questions can be asked through your attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions | Texas Slip and Fall Injury Guide
What Do I Do After I’m Hurt?
Recently, I got a call from someone who was seriously injured in a slip and fall accident, and they asked me what they should do. The first thing I told them was to seek medical treatment immediately and follow the doctor’s orders. That’s to give yourself the best chance at recovery.
The next thing is to notify the place where the incident occurred about what happened. Ideally, that’s done when the slip and fall occurred, but if it isn’t, then as soon as possible. After that, hire an attorney. Sometimes business have recordings of what occurred, but those recordings are automatically deleted, so it’s very important that an attorney contacts the business and witnesses as soon as possible to gather all of that evidence. Slip and falls are the hardest types of cases in Texas, so it’s of essential importance that all that evidence is gathered as soon as possible.
Lastly, it’s important to hire the right attorney. The right attorney is an attorney who is experienced in slip and falls and is focused on personal injury claims. Slip and falls are very different than other claims. That attorney should also be a trial attorney. That means that they prepare every case as if they are going to trial and are ready for it. Insurance companies know who those people are and they treat those attorneys more favorably.
How Do I Find the Right Attorney?
The other day, our office got a call about someone who had been in a store, slipped and fell because of a slippery substance on the floor and they broke their hip. They asked me, “How do I choose the right attorney for my slip and fall case?” The first thing you need to establish is a level of comfort with the attorney. Attorney-client relationships are built on trust, and we should be able to do that in our first meeting, whether it be over the phone or in-person.
Next, you need to hire an attorney with experience, not just in personal injury law but also slip and falls. Slip and falls are the hardest cases in Texas. Despite the Texas supreme court’s opinion to have these cases eliminated, we have still had success winning those cases, whether it be through a settlement or otherwise.
You need to hire someone who is a trial attorney. Trial attorneys work cases differently. They work every case as if they’re going to trial. Also, insurance companies and businesses on the other side know who the trial attorneys are by reputation, and that means that they’re more willing to give a fair settlement offer.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
You may be wondering, “What are some of the common mistakes that people make when dealing with insurance companies that insure the business?” There are two main common mistakes that people make time and time again. The first common mistake is that people think that it’s a good idea to give a recorded statement. The insurance company is not going to cooperate with you. They won’t give you other people’s recorded statements even if it would help your case. They’re trying to trap you, and they’re doing everything they can to mislead you in the recorded statement to get you to say something that would help them pay you less and not fairly compensate you for your injuries.
The next big mistake that people make is they take the first offer from the insurance company. The insurance company is just trying to lowball you to get it done quickly and cheaply, and there’s no reason to accept that. The offer is negotiable.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
After a slip and fall, you may be asking yourself, “What are the common mistakes that people make?” The first mistake that people make is they don’t seek medical treatment immediately. Sometimes, if they do seek medical treatment, they don’t follow the doctor’s orders.
If you don’t follow the doctor’s orders or you don’t seek medical treatment immediately, the insurance company is going to say that you weren’t really hurt. They’re not going to understand that you waited to see if it was worth going to the doctor. They’re also not going to understand that you have other responsibilities in your life that you had to take care of.
The next most common mistake is people giving a recorded statement. They think that the insurance adjuster is trying to help fairly compensate them for their injuries, but that’s not true. They’re there to try to limit their exposure, and they are trained to try to trick you on those phone calls to get you to say things that will hurt your case.
The next most common mistake is delaying in hiring representation and sometimes hiring the wrong attorney. You need to hire an attorney who is focused on personal injury law and a large part of their practice should be devoted to slip and falls. These cases are different than other cases. You should get this attorney quickly so they can investigate and collect evidence before it goes missing. An attorney can help locate witnesses and do the best that they can to make sure those things do not go missing.
What If I Have a Preexisting Condition?
Preexisting conditions are complicated. For example, if someone had a back injury but then fell and injured their hip, their back injury that existed before the fall could’ve been unaffected and there would be no change to their case at all.
On the flip side, if they fell and they injured their back again, then the business would be responsible for the change. If their back was generally a pain level of three, on a scale of one to ten before the fall, but then a six after the fall, the business would be responsible for that change. Preexisting conditions really need to be looked at on a case-by-case basis in slip and fall accidents.
How Much is My Case Worth?
You may be looking to find the answer to the question, “How much is my case worth?” Unfortunately, early on, we don’t know that answer. It’s based on a number of things. Generally, as a good rule of thumb, the more serious your injuries, the more your case is worth.
Personal injury law in Texas allows you to be compensated for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering. Until you’re done with your medical treatment, it’s very difficult to determine how much your case is worth.
How Long Will This Case Take?
Unfortunately there isn’t a crystal clear answer to how long your case will take. The first thing we have to know is the extent of your injuries, and we won’t know that until you’re done with your medical treatment or you’re at a stage in your medical treatment where it’s very clear what the extent of your injuries are.
Once we know the extent of your injuries, we can submit a demand to the insurance company that outlines what happened, the extent of your injuries, and ask them for fair and just compensation. At that point, the insurance company normally has a few weeks to respond. If they respond with a number and it’s something we can work with, we try to negotiate a fair deal. Unfortunately, most of the time they don’t respond with something we can work with and we have to file a lawsuit.
After filing the lawsuit, we have to serve the defendant and they have 30 days to respond. Normally, there’s no issues with service, and when they respond they’re represented by an attorney. After the attorney responds, we call that attorney and we try to get a trial date, and then we have an end in sight. Hopefully, we can negotiate a fair settlement before that trial date, without having to go to trial, but if not, we’re ready to go to trial.
Will My Slip and Fall Case Go to Trial?
Recently I was talking to a client of mine who was a victim of a slip and fall, and she asked if we’re going to trial. The answer to that question is unclear. You will always be the boss on whether or not we accept a settlement. My job is to advise my clients on whether or not it is a fair and just offer. My clients can always disagree with me and decide to take an offer if they so choose.
Beyond that, what I can assure you is that you will be very well-prepared for trial. It is nothing to be scared of. It’s simply an opportunity for you to tell your story to a jury of your peers and a judge.
Call Our Austin Office Today
If you are looking for an experienced Austin slip and fall lawyer to take on your case and lead you to victory, please call Daniel Smith today for a free initial consultation. We will sit down with you and go over the details of the case from start to finish, let you know what your legal options are, and advice you on how to proceed. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today to get the ball rolling on your slip and fall case.