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Can You Sue Someone if You Fall on Their Property?

  1. Can You Sue Someone if You Fall on Their Property?
  2. What Is a Slip and Fall Personal Injury?
  3. Who Is Responsible for a Slip and Fall Accident on Someone Else’s Property, Me or the Property Owners?
  4. Does it Matter if the Fall Happens on Private or Public Property?
  5. Contact Will Adams Law Firm When It’s Time to File a Lawsuit

Can You Sue Someone if You Fall on Their Property?

If a dangerous situation caused you to get hurt on someone else’s property, the short answer is yes, you can sue the property owner.

Of course, a range of details and circumstances will influence whether your specific slip and fall case may lead to a lawsuit. These situations are not always straightforward, and the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney can make a huge difference.

Keep reading to learn about suing after a slip and fall accident, what the law says in Texas, and how a personal injury lawyer can help.

What Is a Slip and Fall Personal Injury?

A slip and fall on someone else’s property involves premises liability law. Premises liability is the concept that a property owner is responsible for injuries and other damages that happen on their property, but only in certain circumstances. Slips and falls are one premises liability incident, but other types include poor security, elevator and escalator accidents, toxic fumes, and pool incidents. However, the phrase “slip and fall” is commonly used to describe all types of premises liability claims.

While filing a lawsuit against a property owner is possible after a slip and fall, not every personal injury claim goes that far. If you and your personal injury attorney reach an agreement with the property owner and their insurance company, you may settle the case with only mediation and negotiation. Still, if these conversations break down, you might have to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Let’s dig into how responsibility (liability) works in Texas.

Who Is Responsible for a Slip and Fall Accident on Someone Else’s Property, Me or the Property Owners?

A property owner must keep their property safe for anyone who has the right to be there. This is called a “duty of care.” Local governments keep public spaces, like sidewalks or the post office, safe. Business owners maintain their shops and restaurants for customers. Homeowners repair dangerous conditions as needed to protect their loved ones and guests.

At the same time, most reasonable people can’t possibly be responsible for any mistake people might make, like tripping on a step while carrying a full basket of laundry. We’re expected to be mindful of our surroundings and make reasonable judgement calls. It’s common sense to watch where you’re walking, pay attention to signs warning of hazards, and move carefully through unfamiliar spaces.

These are reasonable expectations. The term “reasonability” comes up often in slip and fall cases; it refers to how property owners and visitors to the property are expected to behave.

No matter if you’re dining at a restaurant, getting groceries, or simply enjoying the apartment you live in, you deserve to feel safe, and to be aware of any potential hazards so you can avoid them. It’s when owners neglect these basic duties that they become responsible for your slip and fall.

When Is the Property Owner Responsible?

The property owner is responsible for your slip and fall injury if they fail to keep their property safe. One of the following must apply to prove their negligence:

  • The property owner (or an employee, in a commercial or public space) caused the hazard that led to the fall. For instance, not marking a slippery floor or repairing a broken step.
  • The property owner knew about the hazard but neglected to clean it up or repair it.
  • The property owner should have known about the hazard as a responsible caretaker who monitors their property.

A few other factors can come into play when determining the property owner’s liability:

  • Had the hazard been there long enough for the property owner to know about it?
  • Were the owner’s actions to remedy the situation (if taken) appropriate?
  • Does the property owner follow a regular schedule of investigating the premises for any health and safety issues?
  • Was poor lighting, a leak, or other maintenance issue involved in the fall?

When Is the Injured Person Responsible?

In some cases, the injured person is at least somewhat responsible for their slip and fall, and that can impact the success of a personal injury case or slip and fall lawsuit.

Texas follows a rule of comparative fault, which means that injured people may be found partially at fault for their injuries and receive less compensation. In Texas, if you are found to be more than 50% responsible for the incident, you cannot receive any compensation.

How could an injured person be partially at fault for their injury? Possible ways include:

  • Ignoring signs about wet or damaged floors that have been properly placed by the hazard
  • Trespassing somewhere that isn’t open to the public or visitors, such as a construction site or condemned building
  • Moving in a way that increases injury risk, such as running, jumping, or twirling somewhere that isn’t designed for such movement

For example, if you slip, fall, and get several broken bones in a store, you might have a claim for $100,000. But then it’s determined that, because you were texting when you fell on the uneven ground outside the store, you are 30% at fault for the accident. Ultimately, you might only end up with $70,000 of that original claim.

If you contributed to your injuries in any way, your case will be significantly more complicated. It’s in your best interest to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands injury law and comparative negligence and knows how to present your case in the best light.

“Will treats his clients with great kindness and compassion. He fully understands the pain and injustice each victim is going through. This compassion and understanding allows Will to prosecute your case to the fullest. Will is tenacious in pursuing what he feels is the correct settlement for his clients.”

- B & ES – Dallas, TX

“Will, Chris & Sarah. K and I just want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us and our family. Throughout this process you have kept us informed and been patient with us (especially me) as we navigated through unchartered territory. Putting things in your hands allowed Karl and I to focus on him getting better.”

- SC – Katy, TX

“Hi Will, I just wanted to take a minute and let you and your wonderful staff know just how much we appreciate each one of you! All of you have been so great to us. Y’all have always answered any and all questions immediately and never left us hanging or wondering about anything. All of you have made this.”

- SB – Katy, TX

"Dear Sarah, you are the best legal assistant in the history of such creatures of legend and lore. (And Brian is in the tribe too) Do take a copy of this email to your next annual performance review... you have raised the bar. Thank you for all your help!"

- AM – Houston, TX

"I wanted to thank you both for a job well done and for an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. I appreciated your expertise and your thoroughness of preparation, as well as keeping me informed of the possible outcomes at each major point.Will, I think that Chris did an excellent job and wanted to bring that to your attention."

- MJ – Katy, TX

Does it Matter if the Fall Happens on Private or Public Property?

Whether you slip and fall on residential, commercial, or public property, you have the right to sue the property owner if their negligence contributed to your injuries. Further, you should always report the hazard to someone who can address it before someone else is hurt.

The differences begin when it comes to who is responsible and how they will compensate you. On private property, such as a home or store, it’s relatively easy to connect with the owner and negotiate the claim. On public property, like a city playground or government building, you’re fighting an entity with significant financial and legal resources to push back on your claim.

From the complications of a fall on public property to the social challenges of filing a claim against someone you know personally, an experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the process of a slip and fall lawsuit. Not only will this simplify the process, it will increase your chance of getting the compensation you deserve.

RELATED: How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Texas?

Contact Will Adams Law Firm When It’s Time to File a Lawsuit

We hope you never get injured in a slip and fall or have to file a lawsuit. However, if it does happen, we’re ready to offer the help you need with dedication to the attorney client relationship. Because this is a complicated process that most people aren’t familiar with, working with a lawyer is the best way to ensure you build a good case while also focusing on your physical healing.

To schedule your free consultation with our law firm today, call (281) 371-6345 or complete the simple contact form on our website. We look forward to hearing from you!

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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