Slipping, tripping, or falling happens to most people from time to time, often without any injury or damage. However, in some cases, a fall can be serious and have long-lasting consequences.
Thankfully, in scenarios where the accident was caused by a property or premises owner’s negligence, a plaintiff can usually work with a personal injury representative to file a lawsuit and collect compensation.
If you were injured after tripping on someone else’s property, consult a Houston slip and fall lawyer as soon as you can. Our seasoned attorneys at Kirk Law Firm, PLLC could investigate the premises, determine your legal status at the time of your visit, and protect your legal rights.
The Impact of Visitor Status on Slip and Fall Cases
It is important for all slip and fall claimants to recognize that their case is usually subject to similar regulations that govern premises liability. This means that, in most cases, the level of protection that a plaintiff deserves directly corresponds with their “legal status” at the moment of their visit.
To elaborate, someone who arrives at a business or public space is usually entitled to a significant degree of protection. If they fall, slip, or trip at this kind of location, they can likely hold the property owner accountable for failing to fix a dangerous environment. Meanwhile, someone who goes to spend time with a friend as a social guest can only sue if a slip was caused by failure to warn of a known hazard. Finally, trespassers on a property receive limited protection and usually cannot pursue compensation after falling or slipping.
After a slip and fall accident, a plaintiff should be sure to work with one of our skilled Houston lawyers who could establish the correct legal status and determine whether a defendant failed to offer the necessary safeguards.
Does a Slip and Fall Case Change When a Child Gets Hurt?
As previously mentioned, trespassers usually cannot file a lawsuit for injuries they suffered while they were on a property without permission. However, if the trespasser was a child, special rules might apply. For instance, the attractive nuisance doctrine says that, under certain circumstances, a property owner could be liable if a trespassing child was injured in a fall.
The idea behind the doctrine is that children lack the capacity to assess risk and the self-control to manage their impulses. If a home or property contains an element that might attract a child or induce them to play, the property’s owner or operator must take steps to prevent the young person from entering. A parent whose child suffered injuries while trespassing could seek damages if they could prove that the:
- Property contained an artificial feature like a pool, playset, shed, sandbox, fountain, or other feature that might entice a child
- Owner knew or should have known that children were in the area and might trespass
- Cost of constructing a barrier preventing access was not unreasonable considering the risk
- Child lacked the maturity or judgment to assess the danger
Therefore, if a child fell and suffered injuries while visiting a property without permission, the parents should absolutely consider reaching out to one of our slip and fall representatives in Houston.
Respecting the Statute of Limitations in Slip and Fall Lawsuits
One last thing to understand about slip and fall cases is that, just like with standard personal injury claims, these actions are subject to a unique time limit called the statute of limitations. According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003 anyone who suffers an injury after slipping on a property needs to be sure to file their claim within two years of the accident. There are some unique exceptions to this time frame and a hardworking legal representative could determine whether they apply to each specific case.
Meanwhile, if a slip and fall happened in a government building or on publicly owned property, the relevant organization or body might also need to assume liability. These situations change the statute of limitations, giving a slip and fall plaintiff a shorter deadline to file their lawsuit. If someone recovering from an accident needs assistance, a dedicated Houston attorney could help them comply with this uniquely brief window.
Reach Out to a Houston Slip and Fall Attorney to Get Started
Slipping and falling on an unexpected hazard might leave you feeling embarrassed, but in these situations, you should always remember that you have rights and protections. Pursuing them without assistance can be a challenging endeavor, but our team members are here to help. When you take your case to a Houston slip and fall lawyer, you boost your chances of holding the defendant accountable. Reach out to our office today to get started.