Ask a Slip and Fall Accident Attorney: How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Did you recently suffer a slip and fall injury due to someone else’s negligence in Houston, TX? If so, it’s important to seek legal advice from a Houston slip and fall accident attorney as quickly as possible. In Texas, you must file a claim for your slip and fall case before the deadline – or statute of limitations – passes. Once the deadline passes, you’ll be unable to seek compensation for your injury.
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What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Slip and Fall Case in Houston, Texas?
In the U.S., a statute of limitations is a law that places a deadline on a person’s right to file a lawsuit in civil court and seek compensation after suffering a personal injury accident. The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 refers to the specific statute of limitations for personal injury claims (including slip and fall accidents), which is two years from the accident’s date.
There is also a statute of limitations for slip and fall cases where property damage occurs. For example, if someone tripped, fell, and broke theirsmartphone, the deadline is also two years from when the accident occurred.
Defining a Slip and Fall Accident
Did you know that falls are the number one cause of nonfatal preventable injuries that hospital emergency departments treat in the U.S.? In 2020, over 6.8 million people required emergency room treatment after suffering fall-related injuries.
In Texas, slip and fall accidents fall under an area of law called premises liability. Essentially, it means that landowners have a legal responsibility to prevent dangerous or unsafe conditions on their property or premises that could result in an accident.
How Can a Houston Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Help You Prove Your Case?
Texas residents who suffer fall-related injuries due to another person’s negligence generally have two options when seeking compensation:
- File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court
- File a third-party insurance claim with the land/property owner’s insurance company
Before determining which course of action is best for your case, you should seek professional legal advice from a Houston slip and fall accident attorney. They can help you learn more about your right to seek compensation, gather evidence to prove your case, and be there to provide support both in and out of court.
What Factors Can Prove a Property Owner Was at Fault for Your Slip and Fall Injury?
Every slip and fall case is different. However, for a property or landowner (defendant) to be legally responsible for your slip and fall injury, the following must have occurred:
- The defendant must have known about the hazard that caused your fall but did not take reasonable steps to fix the issue.
- The defendant must have created or caused the hazard that caused your fall.
- The defendant should have known about the hazard because a “reasonable” person would have noticed it and either repaired or removed the problem.
What Is Comparative Fault?
In addition to the statute of limitations, Texas has even more laws that can impact the outcome of your case. One such law is known as comparative fault or comparative negligence. Under Texas’ modified comparative fault rule, the plaintiff (the person who suffered the injury) may receive less compensation if they are found to have some responsibility for the accident, up to 50%. For cases where the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, they cannot seek compensation.
So, to sum it up, if the jury finds that you share some blame, for example, if you were looking at your phone when you fell and not paying attention, you will receive a lower damage award. The reduction goes by percentage.
Should the jury decide that you are 25% at fault, for example, your damages would be reduced by 25%. If you were going to receive $10,000, then, you would only receive $7,500 after your fault is taking into account.
What Type of Compensation Can You Seek After a Slip and Fall?
Some falls don’t cause injuries. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in five falls causes a serious injury such as a head injury or broken bones. An injury like that can make it very difficult to move around, live independently, or take care of everyday activities.
What compensation can you seek after being injured in a slip and fall accident? The amount of damages you could receive depends on several factors, such as your accident’s circumstances, the severity of your injuries, how they’ve affected your quality of life, etc. However, if you do have a valid case, you can seek compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Future medical expenses (i.e., therapy, rehabilitation)
If you’ve suffered an injury in Houston after slipping and falling due to a property owner’s negligence, you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Seek professional legal advice from a personal injury attorney before the statute of limitations expires and you lose your legal right to seek compensation for your injury.