Falls can be deadly to people of any age, and even more so for the elderly. They cause fatalities and catastrophic injuries much more often than most people realize. You may be surprised to learn that more people end up in the emergency room because of injuries sustained in falls than because of car accidents. In fact, falls are responsible for more emergency room visits than any other single accident type, even more than car accidents. Data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that approximately 8 million people are injured in falls every year in this country, and about 24,000 of those victims die from their injuries. Falls are the leading cause of death among the elderly, as well as being a leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI). A shocking 35 percent of all brain injuries are caused by falling.
Slip, Trip and Fall accidents are a type of Premises Liability, and these falls are entirely preventable—caused by walkways, both indoors and out, that are made unsafe by lack of proper maintenance or failure of premises owners or operators to respond in a timely manner when a hazardous condition occurs. Premises owners, their employees, lessees, maintenance staff, and management have a legal responsibility to keep their properties in a safe condition and not to expose people legally on the premises to unreasonable danger of falling. Failing in this “duty of care” can be seen as negligence and incur liability on the responsible party if someone is seriously injured or killed when tripping on an obstacle on a walkway, stairway, or parking area, or slipping on a wet, oily, over-polished, irregular, or otherwise unsafe surface. Keeping premises free of hazards takes some work. The property needs to be inspected often, and any dangerous conditions immediately remedied. While the cleanup or repair is being done, barriers or signs should be placed around the area, warning the public of the danger.
Conditions that Cause People to Slip, Trip or Fall
These are some of the common hazards that cause people to fall:
- Wet pavements, often from a sprinkler system
- Pavements that are cracked or uneven (often caused by roots growing beneath them)
- Debris, garbage, or other obstacles on a walkway
- Merchandise fallen from store shelves
- Broken, irregular, or worn-out steps on a staircase
- Staircases lacking hand rails
- Over-waxed, highly polished floors
- Spilled food and drinks
- Torn, loose, or damaged carpet
- Lack of adequate lighting
Injuries Often Caused by Slipping, Tripping, and Falling
All too many people do not survive fall injuries. Many of those who do survive face huge medical bills, time out of work, and a diminished quality of life. Below are some of the injuries that commonly result from a bad fall.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord damage
- Internal organ damage
- Ruptured discs
- Broken bones
- Joint injuries
- Neck and back sprains and strains
- Lacerations and scarring
Getting Your Due: Recovering Money for Damages from Your Fall
If you or someone you care about has suffered a serious injury caused by the failure of the party responsible for maintaining the property, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your economic and other damages. You are entitled to claim compensation for damages to both your finances and your quality of life.
An experienced Texas personal injury attorney will assist you in filing the claim and negotiating a settlement. If a fair settlement offer is not made, a jury trial is sometimes necessary, so you should make sure that your attorney is a strong trial lawyer who is comfortable in the courtroom. Some attorneys avoid trials at all costs, but you should avoid hiring a lawyer who won’t go to trial. The insurance companies know who these lawyers are, and they usually won’t offer adequate compensation when there is no possibility of a trial.
Put a Skilled Professional on Your Team
Slip, trip, and fall accident cases are never easy. Defendants and their insurers will look long and hard for reasons to pay as little as possible on your claim or even deny it entirely. By having an attorney who practices exclusively personal injury law working for you, you can rest easy knowing a legal professional has your back, that your rights are being protected, and that statutory timelines are being met. You will avoid the stress of dealing with insurance companies and be able to relax, knowing that all negotiations are being handled in your behalf by a skilled professional. And you will probably walk away with much more money than if you tried to go it alone. A seasoned slip, trip, and fall attorney knows the value of your case and knows how to overcome the various tactics insurance companies use to save money by lowballing valid claims. Research shows that those with quality legal counsel end up with more money in their pockets. So contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Austin, Texas at the law firm of Briggle & Polan, PLLC as soon as possible to find out what your rights are and learn how you should proceed. You should bring an attorney on board as soon as possible after the accident to allow for a thorough investigation while the evidence is still available and to avoid missing filing deadlines.
Legal Help in Austin for Your Texas Premises Accident
Attorneys Hayden Briggle & Parker Polan of Briggle & Polan PLLC in Austin are committed to the best results for every client we sign on. Our practice is focused on you and your family and on obtaining the results that will allow you to live as comfortably as possible and get all the care and assistance you need in the face of your losses. Although we are able to settle most slip, trip, and fall cases out of court, we are always ready to take your case to a jury if that’s the only way to get you the amount of money your case is worth.
To preserve your right to a recovery, avoid discussing the details of your accident or injury with any insurance adjuster or other company representative. Don’t sign any authorizations or releases and don’t give the adjuster a recorded statement, because these are tactics that insurance companies employ to fish for information they can use to diminish the value of your claim–or deny it altogether. We will handle the insurance company and protect you rights throughout the legal process.
Call Briggle & Polan, PLLC, today to schedule a free consultation within the next few days. 512-472-1926