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Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers in Houston, TX

Everyone has had the experience of slipping on a wet floor or tripping over a stray object on the ground. In the vast majority of slip and fall cases, no significant injury results from these incidents, but, on occasion, the victim is not so fortunate. A sudden tumble onto a hard surface has the potential to cause major harm to the human body, such as head injury, broken bones, sprained ankles, and torn ligaments—and this is hardly a complete list of physical impairments that can stem from an accident of this type.

An arm or leg injury from a nasty fall is troublesome, for obvious reasons, as the victim is denied the full use of his or her physical capabilities for the duration of the recovery period, but not everyone makes a complete recovery. Sometimes, the slip and fall victim’s injury leaves life-long effects.

What is important to bear in mind is that legal help is available for anyone who has suffered serious injury, whether temporary or permanent, due to the negligence of a property owner. When you reach out to Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, our experienced personal injury lawyers in Houston, TX will begin the process of obtaining compensation for your suffering.

What Causes Slip and Fall Injuries?

Every day, we encounter hazards that could cause a dangerous fall. These may include—but are not limited to—those listed below:

  • Slippery/damp floors
  • Broken staircases
  • Uneven sidewalks
  • Damaged tiled flooring
  • Worn or frayed carpeting
  • Stray debris
  • Walkways with poor/nonexistent lighting

Determining liability for a slip and fall injury depends on multiple factors, such as the site of the accident, the victim’s responsibility for the accident, and the nature of the victim’s relationship to the property owner.

 

The Three Classifications of Personal Injury Victims

When dealing with slip and fall accidents, the law of the state of Texas places the plaintiff in one of three possible classifications, each of them conferring certain rights to both the victim and the property owner. These classifications are as follows:

Invitee – An invitee can be simply defined as a customer of a business establishment, such as a supermarket, restaurant, or motel. The individual has been implicitly “invited” as a member of the public to partake in a business transaction that will benefit both parties. In these cases, the property owner is responsible for a high “duty of care” to minimize the risk of a personal injury accident.

This means either removing any defects or obstacles on the property that could cause injury or adequately warning invitees as to the presence of any such issues. The property owners may be held liable for an accident even if they claim ignorance of a danger they should have reasonably known about.

Licensee – A licensee is basically a social guest, such as a neighbor invited over for dinner. A licensee can also be an individual in the area for business purposes that benefit a party other than the property owner. In these cases, property owners are required to warn licensees about the presence of any known dangers in the area.

Trespasser – This is an individual who is on the property without the consent of the owner. A thief or a vandal falls into the trespasser category, as well as individuals who have no criminal intent but simply have entered an area without authorization.

Here, the property owner has the least duty of care. However, children who trespass are held to a different standard of conduct than adults, and, under the “attractive nuisance doctrine,” a property owner may be held liable for hazards that harm minors.

Sometimes the proper classification of a plaintiff can be ambiguous. For example, consider a customer in a business establishment who becomes injured after entering an area that is clearly off-limits to the public. The courts may classify this individual as a trespasser, not an invitee, even though the person entered the establishment with the intent of engaging in a legitimate business transaction.

 

What Can You Do?

Slip and fall accidents can be extremely serious and difficult to litigate. If you have been harmed in a fall due to the negligence of a property owner, you need a slip and fall lawyer who will help you obtain a settlement. Don’t hesitate to call the Houston slip and fall lawyers at Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris. We can be reached at 713-364-0723. Ask for a free consultation.

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Jonathan S. Harris and Matthew D. Shaffer are Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Other attorneys are not board certified.  Principal office is located in Houston, Texas.