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Brooks and Radchenko Law Firm

Personal Injury

Updated:

December 16, 2022

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Can I Sue for Falling in a Store in Texas?

If you suffer a slip and fall accident in a commercial establishment such as a retail shop or grocery store, do you have a case to sue them? It depends on the circumstances, but businesses are responsible for keeping their customers safe from unreasonably dangerous conditions. Slip and fall accidents can be complex legal claims - accident victims are well-advised to work with an experienced and competent Texas premises law firm.

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Who Can You Sue If You Fall in a Grocery Store?

The identity of the defendant in an in-store slip and fall accident is not as straightforward as it might seem. It might seem clear if the store owns the property on which it sits. In most cases, however, the store leases its space from a property owner who might not even live nearby. Although you might sue an employee, an employee probably cannot afford to pay for the out-of-pocket expense and pain and suffering you sustained as a result of your slip and fall incident. In cases involving severe injuries, the financial impact can be devastating.

can i sue for falling in a store in texas

Who Do You Sue for a Slip and Fall Accident? Is a Slip and Fall Lawsuit Brought Against the Landlord or the Store?

If the landowner leased the premises to the store, you have two possible defendants. How do you choose between them? It depends on the nature of the unsafe condition that led to the accident:

  • If the dangerous condition is related to the structure of the building, such as excessively steep stairs or a leaky roof, then you should probably sue the landlord.  
  • If the dangerous condition is related to the day-to-day operation of the store (failure to keep the parking lot free of black ice, for example), you should probably sue the store.

If you have grounds to sue both, you can do so. When suing both entities, it is possible to have both of them contribute to your compensation award thus maximizing your recovery. A lawyer can explain your legal options, suggest reasonable steps, and recommend the best course of action to obtain a fair legal remedy and ultimately a successful claim.

Was There Store Negligence? Important Issues in Slip and Fall Cases

Can you sue a store for falling and injuring yourself? Remember that a store's liability for dangerous conditions is not absolute. They must simply exercise “reasonable care”. If you can establish that the store breached its duty of care, you may be able to establish negligence. This is common in injury claims involving wet floors at a retail store. Some typical issues in a slip-and-fall case include:

  • Was the floor wet at the time of the accident?
  • If the floor was wet, how long had it been wet? Was it wet long enough that the store had time to notice it and dry off the floor?
  • Did the customer notice that the floor was wet? If they didn't, should they have noticed?

These are just a few of the questions to answer in a slip-and-fall case.

What Are Common Causes of In-Store Slip and Fall Accidents?

A property owner or store owner may be responsible for severe injuries if an accident was caused by someone else’s negligence - their own actions or the actions of an employee, tenant, or another individual.

Slips, trips, and falls can be caused by many dangerous conditions, including:

  • Spilled liquid on the floor;
  • Recently mopped floors;
  • A dangerous dog that chases customers;
  • Uneven floors;
  • Unsecured cords 
  • Debris on the floor;
  • Wobbly/loose stairway handrails
  • Poor lighting in stairwells or walkways;
  • Poorly maintained stairwells;
  • Ice in the parking lot;
  • Potholes in the parking lot;
  • Frayed carpet;
  • Slippery floor rugs.

There are many more possible conditions that might cause a slip-and-fall accident. The key to identifying a condition as unreasonably dangerous is to look for ways that the store could have been negligent in failing to repair or warn of a condition.

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Negligence Per Se and Code Violations

Negligence per se arises in premises liability cases when someone violates a public safety law. In a civil action, it is a legal shortcut to proving negligence. If you can trace your slip and fall accident to a building code violation, for example, you can establish negligence in a way that is difficult for a jury to deny. If you can prove that this negligence caused your accident, you have won your case and will have an easier time collecting damages from the store owners and their insurance company. Evidence like this might get you a generous out-of-court settlement.

What Should I Do After a Dallas Slip and Fall Accident?

The actions you take following a slip and fall accident can impact your case and insurance claim. Below are four steps you should take after a slip and fall accident: 

Step 1: Call for Medical Attention

Your medical record documents your injuries. Always seek medical attention as soon as possible and follow your doctor’s recommendations for follow-up care with your primary care provider or a specialist. 

Step 2: Gather Evidence

After slip and fall accidents, hazards or debris that caused an accident are often cleaned up within minutes or hours. A wet floor may be cleaned up, or a loose extension cord may be secured. Take photos and videos of the accident scene, and request surveillance camera footage, if available. 

Step 3: Interview Witnesses 

Get the contact information for anyone that witnessed the accident, or observed hazardous conditions. If possible, get their narrative of what they saw, such as warning signs or other dangerous conditions on a property.

Step 4: File an Incident Report 

Document the accident, report it and keep a copy of the incident report with the store. The procedure for reporting a slip and fall accident may vary depending on where your accident occurred. 

Finally, after you’ve reported an accident, contact a slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. If you promptly secure a personal injury lawyer, your attorney can help you through the process while you focus on your healing and recovery. Brooks & Radchenko is committed to helping our clients in North Texas recover the maximum compensation available for slip and fall injuries.

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Types of Personal Damages Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents in a Store

Injuries in a fall at a store can range from mild (such as sprains and strains) to severe (such as a broken hip or femur). Some common injuries caused by a fall at a store include: 

  • Back injuries; 
  • Fall-onto-out-stretched-hand (FOOSH) injuries, such as wrist and hand injuries;
  • Shoulder and limb injuries;
  • Knee and elbow injuries;
  • Back injuries;
  • Traumatic brain injuries;
  • Ankle fractures;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Wrongful death.

Losing balance and falling can look very different for many people depending on their age, physical health state, the mechanism of the fall, and how a person falls. In some cases, injuries can result in long-term or permanent disability.

Expenses Eligible for Compensation

Slip and fall compensation amounts for fall injuries vary greatly from case to case, depending on many factors. Typically, you may claim compensation for the following losses:

  • Past, present, and future medical bills, medical assistance, and related medical expenses. If you have not reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) before you settle your claim or go to trial, you might have to estimate future medical treatment.
  • Lost earnings.
  • Occupational disability compensation, if your injury prevents you from returning to your former occupation.
  • Incidental expenses, such as child care expenses, that you incurred as a result of the accident.
  • Pain and suffering arise from your injury. This element of damage could exceed all other elements combined.
  • Emotional distress, permanent disfigurement, loss of body function, loss of enjoyment of life, chronic pain, and other non-economic damages, to the extent that they apply to you.

If the store's conduct was outrageous, an injured person might even qualify for punitive damages for a fall-in-store lawsuit. In your consultation, your lawyer will explain applicable Texas law and give you an honest opinion of the potential settlement value. Look for a slip and fall injury law firm with experience and proven results in fall injury claims against a retail store or business owner-ask about case results for cases similar to yours.

slip and fall lawsuit

How Much Is the Average Slip and Fall Settlement in Texas?

Premises liability cases vary widely, and it is not possible to value a claim based on what someone else recovered for their injuries. The outcome of your slip and fall claim will depend on the severity of your injuries and their impact on your life.

Another major factor that can impact your claim is whether you have a skilled injury lawyer representing you. In such cases involving the negligence of a retail store, injured parties can often obtain far greater compensation with an attorney, than without.

How to File a Legal Claim for a Slip and Fall Injury

personal injury lawyer will know how to file a slip and fall claim. The general process for fall lawyers, which varies from case to case, works like this:

  • Conduct a preliminary investigation of how the accident occurred,  identify the negligent party or parties, evaluate your case, and gather evidence to support your insurance claim.
  • Send a personal injury lawyer demand letter to the appropriate defendant (the store or business owner, for example). Your lawyer can help you draft it.
  • Begin injury claim negotiations, unless the defendant is too stubborn to cooperate. Have your lawyer do the negotiating for you (the injured party).
  • Seek an out-of-court settlement if the defendant is willing to make a reasonable offer.
  • If you come to an agreement, have your lawyer draft a written settlement agreement for both parties to sign,
  • If you cannot agree on a settlement, file a personal injury lawsuit. Have your lawyer draft the Complaint about you, pay the filing fee, and have a third party deliver the appropriate papers to the defendant.
  • Gather evidence that is in the defendant's possession using the pretrial discovery process.
  • Go to trial and argue your case.
  • Appeal an adverse verdict, if you have grounds for appeal.

Very few slip-and-fall claims go all the way to trial. Instead, most parties settle out of court.

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How Long Do You Have to Sue a Store After a Slip and Fall Accident in Texas?

Under Texas law, fall injury victims have a limited window of time (called a statute of limitations) to file a claim against a negligent party for a slip and fall in a store.  Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 states that accident victims have two years to file a Texas slip and fall claim from the date of the accident. It is always advisable for an injured party to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Do All Slip and Fall Accidents in a Store Require Civil Lawsuits? 

Not all slip and fall accidents require a lawsuit, and it is possible to seek compensation for medical care, lost earnings, and pain and suffering from any business or responsible party without filing an actual lawsuit.  Many stores are happy to settle a claim out of court, and in fact, most Texas slip-and-fall cases settle out of court. A slip-and-fall attorney can be a valuable resource in advocating for a fair settlement and negotiating a claim.

Contact Our Premises Liability Law Firm

The answer to “Can I sue for falling a store in Texas” is circumstance-dependent. Fall laws involve the element of negligence - accidents on someone else’s property depend on whether fall injuries resulted from the negligence of a store owner or property owners. If you were partially at fault, comparative negligence laws allow you to still recover damages.

The lawyers at Brooks & Radchenko have handled a multitude of slip-and-fall claims. Ms. Radchenko has served as president of the New York State Trial Association. She understands the insurance company claim process when a property owner’s negligence is involved in a fall at shopping malls, retail shops, and grocery stores. 

Premises liability cases often have complex legal issues, especially premises liability claims. Remember, it's not just whether you win or lose in your legal action, but how much you recover for your injuries. We know what’s at stake and can help get the best possible outcome. Contact our law firm immediately by calling (903)-818-8681 or contact us online to speak with a slip and fall attorney. Our fall attorneys know the state laws and have recovered millions for personal injury settlements and verdicts. We offer a free Texas slip-and-fall accident consultation to answer your questions and explain your legal options.

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