This is the next post in our series about handling slip and fall cases in Fort Worth, Texas. The previous article discussed what it is like to work with insurance companies after an accident. It also stressed the importance of obtaining a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to represent your interests. Retaining counsel as soon as possible after the incident occurs will help preserve your legal rights. In this post, we will discuss the application of comparative fault in slip and fall matters. If you have been injured, contact a lawyer today.
A Fort Worth slip and fall victim may recover damages even if they were partially responsible for the incident
Under Texas law, a victim who is partly at fault for an accident may still be entitled to recover damages. We previously explained how the comparative fault concept applied to bicycle accident cases. The same rules apply to slip and fall accidents. So long as the victim is no more than fifty percent to blame, they may still receive compensation for their damages. The total potential damages are reduced by the victim’s portion of fault. If the victim is found more than halfway responsible, they may not recover. As one can imagine, this issue is often highly contested. A jury’s determination of comparative fault will depend on the specific facts of the situation.
Suppose for example, a woman is shopping at the grocery store when she trips over pallet in the middle of the aisle. At the time of the accident, the woman was reading a recipe on her phone. Security footage in the store captures her looking down at the screen at the same time she falls over the pallet. She suffers a broken leg and damages are ascertained to be $100,000. The store owner argues that had she been watching where she was walking, she would never have fallen and therefore was partially responsible. In this scenario, a jury may find both parties shared some responsibility for the incident. If they find that the shopper was thirty percent responsible, then she would still recover $70,000 in damages ($100,000 reduced by 30%).
An experienced Fort Worth attorney may help effectively communicate a complicated case to the jury
The attorney presenting the case should have trial experience in personal injury cases. Understanding how to effectively communicate with the jury may impact the victim’s ability to recover damages. Explaining the nuances of the evidence and the complex legal theories, could be the difference in a comparative fault analysis. For example, the lawyer may have to present complex expert testimony about whether the owner’s property met industry standards. If he or she is unable to do so in a way that is easily understandable to a layperson, it may be a detriment to the victim’s case. The difference of a few percentage points in a comparative fault determination may preclude one’s recovery of damages.
For these reasons, we cannot overemphasize the importance of engaging knowledgeable personal injury attorneys to represent your interests. We suggest hiring a law firm with multiple attorneys who are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We recommend retaining lawyers with experience in slip and fall trials. These recommendations apply in Fort Worth and Dallas as well as other areas of Texas.