April 5, 2018
If you are injured on someone else’s property in Texas, you may not know what to do next. In this post we’re going to tell you what steps you need to take, including getting help from a skilled personal injury attorney.
Premises Liability Allows You to Receive Compensation
When you get hurt on someone else’s property due to negligence, you can file a premises liability lawsuit. A successful case will depend on evidence that shows the property owner knew about or should have known about a hazardous situation but did not correct it under reasonable conditions.
Here are several examples of potential premises liability cases:
- You experience second-degree burns from scalding hot water at a hotel.
- You suffer an electric shock from exposed wiring at a neighbor’s residence.
- You break your leg after slipping and falling on an unmarked wet floor at a small business.
Every premises liability case needs the following elements to be true in order for the plaintiff to receive compensation for their injuries:
- A hazardous condition existed on the premises
- The owner or operator knew or should have known about the hazardous condition
- The owner or operator failed to correct the hazardous condition
- The hazardous condition was a direct cause of injury
You will need the help of a skilled attorney if you decide to file a premises liability case.
Steps to Take after You are Injured on Another’s Property
Here are the steps you must take if you are injured on someone else’s property in Texas.
The more evidence you gather at the accident scene, the more likely you will be to receive compensation for your injuries.
Getting upset won’t help your case. Remain as calm and polite as possible to keep a clear head.
Photograph the scene of the accident and your injuries as soon as possible.
Write down the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses, including employees of the company, that saw the accident occur. Make note of their statements, which can be helpful in building your case.
It’s possible that a camera caught the accident on tape. Ask for a copy of the video.
Under no circumstances should you apologize, blame yourself, or wave off the injury. Also do not mention that you plan to hire an attorney. It’s best to keep quiet at the accident scene.
Call for Help
If you are significantly injured, call 911 or an ambulance service.
Seek Medical Care
No matter how slight your injury appears, seek medical care immediately after the accident. Some injuries do not manifest for days or weeks, but a medical professional will be able to detect if you were injured. You can use your medical insurance to cover the initial bills, because you can always refuse to pay later if negligence is involved in your case.
If the property owner or a representative for the property owner tries to contact you to negotiate a settlement or collect a statement, refuse to speak to them without an attorney present.
Secure Contract Information
If the accident happened between you and someone with whom you have a contract, make sure to obtain the original agreement for your case.
What Happens Next
You have a limited time to file a claim under Texas law. For a slip and fall injury, you must file a claim within two years of the time of the accident. It’s smart to get the ball rolling as soon as possible, while the details of the case are still fresh.
Texas has a modified comparative negligence rule in premises liability cases. This means that the court will determine how much either party is at fault for the accident and adjust the rewards by percentages of fault.
For example, if you are determined to be 25 percent at fault for the slip and fall because you were inside a prohibited area, you can only receive 75 percent of the total award. You cannot recover any compensation if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident.
How a Texas Premises Liability Attorney Can Help
Insurance companies will fight against most premises liability cases. They will often offer less than you deserve for your injuries. You need a tough, aggressive advocate who will find evidence to support your case and seek the maximum compensation for you.
About the Author:
Jeff Hampton has been practicing law in Texas in 2005, first in the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor, and now as a private attorney with the Hampton Eppes Law Group, protecting the rights of Texans who have suffered injury due to negligence or are facing criminal charges. His success in helping people with their legal troubles has been recognized by clients and peers alike, with a Top Attorney designation and 10/10 Superb Rating on Avvo, and a place on the National Trial Lawyers list of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.