The Nuts And Bolts Of An Older Adult Slip And Fall Claim In Texas
Overall, falls are the leading cause of ER visits in the Lone Star State. Individuals over 65 are especially at risk for serious falls. About three million older adults need hospital treatment for falls every year. Most of these incidents happen in a nursing home or another place away from home. In these situations, property owners are legally responsible for damages, at least in most cases.
Substantial compensation is available, but unlike what TV commercials imply, insurance companies don’t simply give it away. Instead, a Missouri City personal injury lawyer must fight for it in court. Usually, this compensation includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Generally, the nursing home or other property owner, even if that entity is an out-of-state holding company, is financially responsible for damages.
Duty of Care
Texas, like most other states, uses a victim classification system that’s based on the owner-victim relationship to determine the duty of care.
If a victim has direct or general permission to be on the property, and the owner benefits either financially or non-financially, the victim is an invitee. Because of this close relationship, the owner typically has a duty of reasonable care. This duty is essentially a codified legal version of the Good Samaritan story. The Good Samaritan went out of his way to help someone. Likewise, owners must go out of their way to prevent falls, if the victim was an invitee.
Because of this broad definition, almost all shoppers and social guests are invitees. Businesses benefit when shoppers visit stores, even if they don’t buy anything. Additionally, the benefit of social interaction is enough to trigger invitee status. It doesn’t matter how small that benefit is.
A few victims are licensees (permission but no benefit) or trespassers (no benefit and no permission). Licensees are people like children who cut across parking lots on their way to school. If those children skateboard or do something else illegal, they’re usually trespassers.
Knowledge of Hazard
Invitee permission may be specific or general. Likewise, knowledge of the wet spot, a Missouri City personal injury lawyer may use direct or circumstantial evidence to prove the owner knew about the uneven walkway, or other fall hazard.
Direct evidence, like a restroom cleaning report, is usually the most compelling evidence of knowledge. Owners usually hide such proof until a lawsuit’s discovery process. So, if a lawyer settles a fall injury claim too early, the best evidence may be unavailable.
Judges typically use the time-notice rule to evaluate circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known). Assume Mary slips and falls on a banana peel. Believe it or not, that actually does happen in real life. If the peel was yellow, as if it just fell on the floor, the owner generally isn’t liable. If the peel was black, as if it was old and walked upon. Liability usually attaches.
Count on a Thorough Harris County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Missouri City, contact the Henrietta Ezeoke Law Firm. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.