This is the second post in our series on the handling of slip and fall cases in the Fort Worth, Texas area. Our last article provided an overview of topics we will be discussing and stressed the need to contact a personal injury attorney immediately if you or a loved one have been injured by another’s negligence. It is important to contact counsel so that they may immediately begin collecting evidence which will be needed in your case. In this article we will discuss a topic which often leads to confusion – whether a premises operator is responsible for injuries which stem from a fall. It is important that you immediately retain a lawyer who handles such matters.
Premises liability cases can become complicated. This is because the property’s owner or operator is not automatically liable simply because someone slipped and injured themselves. For the owner of the property to be held responsible for the victim’s injuries it must be shown that the owner failed to take reasonable steps to keep the property safe and that such a failure is the reason why the fall occurred. The important aspect of this legal standard is that the owner is only required to act in a “reasonable” manner. Whether a premises operator’s safety precautions were reasonable will depend on the type of establishment which was being operated.
Say, for example, a grocery store has a policy that its floors must be cleaned and inspected for dangerous conditions every ninety minutes. Now say that liquid was spilled on the floor shortly after it was cleaned and that someone almost immediately slipped in the liquid. Under such a situation it is unlikely that the grocery store owner would be found to have been negligent. Accidents, after all, do happen and it is simply not possible to keep a floor free of slipping hazards during every minute of every day. If the property owner has policies which are meant to keep the property safe, and those policies are being followed, then there is a strong chance that they will not be found to have been negligent.
Now say, for example, that water was spilled in the grocery aisle and someone immediately informed management. In such a situation management would likely be required to immediately send someone to put out a “wet floor” sign and to clean up the spill. If someone is not sent to deal with the spill immediately and an injury occurs, then the grocery store owner would likely be liable for negligence; they would have failed to correct a dangerous situation of which they had direct knowledge. Also, liability may be established against the owner if their polices for keeping the property safe are not being followed. Ownership may have a policy of cleaning the floors during regular intervals but, if employees do not follow those policies, then liability will fall on the owner as one is responsible for the acts of their employees.
Proving negligence in a premises liability case can be complicated. The definition of “reasonable” conduct will vary between different types of businesses; the responsibilities of a grocery store owner may vary from those of a movie theater operator. Retaining a personal injury lawyer familiar with such matters will help to ensure that your case is handled correctly. It is important to hire a law firm with a history of handling serious injury cases throughout the Fort Worth area. Your counsel should employ an on-staff investigator and have the resources necessary to deal with the largest of defendants. You should look for these qualities in a slip and fall attorney regardless of whether you were injured the Texas counties of Tarrant, Dallas, Johnson, and Wise or the cities of Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Haltom City, Richland Hills, North Richland Hills, Watauga, Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Arlington, Keller, Grand Prairie, and Dallas.