Slip and Fall Accidents
The stages of a Texas Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit
If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall accident, and all attempts to negotiate compensation with the property owner’s insurer have failed, it might be time to file suit. Slip-and-fall lawsuits in Texas have very specific requirements.
To evaluate your case, you should consult a Texas premises liability lawyer. An attorney can help you determine if you can prove that someone else is 50 percent or more responsible for your Texas slip and falls. Texas law does not allow you to recover compensation if you are more than 50% at fault for your injury.
A person filing a lawsuit (the plaintiff) must first draft and file a Petition with the appropriate court. Texas does not have jurisdiction over all types of cases.
Texas courts require fact-pleading. This means you must give specific facts about what happened and show that these facts correspond to the elements relevant to your case. Your case will be dismissed if you fail to complete this crucial step.
These are the elements of a Texas slip and fall case:
- The property owner in which you were hurt owed you a duty of care and failed to fulfill that duty.
- Your injury was caused by the property owner’s inability to exercise proper care.
- Verifiable damage that you have suffered as a result. These could include medical bills, lost earnings, or other items. These items are called special damages. They must be mentioned separately in your lawsuit filing.
- After your petition has been filed, you must answer your allegations in court. The petitioner must answer all motions made by the defendant.
The Discovery Stage
The case is now ready for discovery. This stage is where the defendant and petitioner ask each other about the case. For example, the petitioner might be required to provide copies of medical records. You may also be asked to provide copies of any policies regarding the maintenance of the area in which you fell. A medical exam may be necessary.
The defendant will likely take your deposition. This is a formal procedure where the defendant’s attorneys ask you questions about your case and medical history. While your lawyer will assist you, you must provide your answers.
Each side will likely file additional motions to the court after completing the discovery process. Sometimes, the court might require that the parties work with a mediator to resolve the matter or negotiate their settlement.
Texas Slip & Fall Trial
If there are still issues, the case will go to trial. A judge will usually hear both sides’ arguments and evidence. Then, the judge will decide whether the defendant is responsible for your injuries. The court will determine the amount you are entitled to in damages. Your petition may not include everything you requested. Based on actual damages, you may not get everything you requested if the court considers your request too high.
In cases where more than one defendant is involved, if any defendant is found to have at least 50% liability, the defendant may be held responsible for all damages. This is a joint liability.
If you win the case and are awarded damages, the defendant can file an appeal to request that a higher court overturn the verdict. This is to correct any errors made by the trial judge. Even if your appeal fails, it can delay your receiving the money you have been awarded.
Even if the case is over, it doesn’t mean that the defendant will write you a check. Depending on the case, your lawyer might need to pursue payment through different means.