When you go shopping, visit friends, attend a concert or take an elevator in a parking garage, you are on someone else’s property. The owner of that property has an obligation to make sure it’s a safe environment. In a Texas parking garage, for instance, this might include making sure there is adequate lighting, especially at night. If you suffer slip-and-fall injuries, the property owner might be liable for damages.
The sudden jolt you experience after a slip-and-fall accident can cause you to feel shocked and highly distressed. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may or may not be able to stand up and walk to a safe location. There are several things you should do after a slip-and-fall injury, especially if another property owner is involved.
Call for medical support after slip-and-fall injuries
The top priority following a slip-and-fall accident is to seek medical attention. Sadly, many such accidents result in head trauma. Emergency room doctors can run tests to rule out or diagnose a brain injury. Slipping and falling can also cause spinal cord trauma, broken bones and other severe injuries. Seeking medical attention not only provides much-needed care and support for your injuries, but it also documents the incident.
Take photographs and gather as much evidence as possible
If possible, you’ll also want to photograph the accident scene following a slip-and-fall injury. It’s especially important to photograph hazards, like a slippery ground surface, cords or debris left lying in the walkway. Also take pictures of your injuries and continue to do so as your recovery progresses.
Determine if a premises liability exists
Premises liability is the legal term that refers to a property owner’s responsibility to pay for damages when someone has suffered slip-and-fall injuries on his or her property. Certain elements must have existed at the time of the incident for the property owner to be liable for your injuries. You must be able to prove that the property owner owed a duty of care but failed to fulfill it. This establishes negligence. You must also show that the property owner’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injuries.
These elements are known as duty, breach, causation and damages. If you can provide evidence to prove these things, then you have grounds to file a premises liability claim in civil court. You must be prepared to demonstrate that the property owner was aware of unsafe conditions or, at least, should have been and that his or her lack of knowledge or disregard caused an otherwise preventable accident to occur.