The most common type of personal injury case is in fact the slip and fall case. These are more frequent than you think. A slip and fall is when someone is on someone else’s property and they slip, fall, and become injured. This includes your workplace. In some cases, this can be the grounds for a lawsuit. In Texas, you can sue your employer if you fell at your workplace but certain criteria must be met.
Slip and Fall Cases
Slip and fall accidents are addressed in the legal category called premises liability meaning the property owner and sometimes their agent (property manager) are responsible for keeping the premises safe and free from obvious opportunities for an accident like a slip and fall injury. It is important that you understand which type of slip and fall case you are going to pursue to determine the best course of action. The location, like your workplace, and the circumstances under which it happened will help guide your decision to sue your employer.
In the state of Texas, someone who slips and falls in a public area can consider filing a premises liability case.
However, not all premises liability cases are easy. When a person becomes injured on someone else’s property that does not automatically open the property owner up to a premises liability case. Three things must be proven to reasonably pursue a lawsuit.
• The property owner must have some level of duty to keep the injured person safe.
• The property owner must breach that duty.
• And finally, that breach of duty must have led to the person becoming injured.
An At-work Injury is also a Personal Injury
If you were injured while at work, then the case can become a personal injury case. These types of personal injury cases can be more challenging because of modified comparative negligence in Texas and because many employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. Regardless though if you fell at work, for example, you slipped on a puddle in the washroom because of a leaky pipe that has never been repaired, you might want to talk to a personal injury attorney about the facts of the fall, how it happened, how long the leak was known by the workplace, the injuries suffered, and any long term effects as a result of the fall.
Another type of personal injury case related to workplace injury is the third-party lawsuit type. If you were injured while working on someone else’s property, this would be considered a third-party lawsuit. These cases are less common and typically occur when outside contractors or subcontractors are hired for certain jobs. In those cases, the injured person will need to identify a third party who can be held liable for their injuries.
Suing your Employer
In the state of Texas, it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, but there are specific limitations that you and your attorney need to be aware of. In most slip and fall cases in the workplace, the worker can simply file a workers’ compensation claim to be reimbursed for the damages caused by their workplace injury.
Employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance to protect the business and to compensate (meaning pay or reimburse) workers who have been injured while on the job. The goal of workers’ compensation insurance is to save the employee from financial hardship as a result of the workplace injury. It can cover medical expenses, replacement of missed wages, and even death benefits. This is good benefit of workers’ comp so an employee doesn’t necessarily have to sue to get needed financial assistance.
Also, for workers’ compensation claims, you do not need to prove that you were not responsible for the accident. But you do have to notify your employer of the injury within 30 days of the accident.
However, in Texas, employers are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance, so if your employer does not have worker’s compensation insurance, this can open them up to a personal injury lawsuit. In the state of Texas, if you slip and fall while at work, and your employer does not have worker’s compensation insurance, you can definitely sue your employer to recover expenses incurred because of the slip and fall. As you can imagine, filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer can be a problem because your employer will try to find reasons not to pay you.
To prevail, you will need to prove your employer was negligent or reckless. Like in a standard premises liability case, you will need to prove that:
• Your employer owed you a duty of care.
• The employer breached that duty.
• And finally, that breach of duty led you to become injured.
For example, your employer could “breach their duty of care” by not providing accurate safety training or tools, not placing signage in dangerous areas, or not blocking off a hazardous area.
Modified Comparative Negligence
In Texas, there is a modified comparative negligence law that can make personal injury lawsuits difficult. Both parties can share the blame for the slip and fall incident. Prior to you filing a slip and fall claim, your employer will likely try to place the blame on you. Here are some examples of modified comparative negligence:
• Your fall was due to being distracted such as texting while walking.
• You are in an area you are not supposed to be in.
• There was signage that warned you of the hazardous condition.
• The hazardous conditions should have been obvious.
You can still file a lawsuit for the slip and fall injury if you are determined to be less than 50% responsible for the accident. The amount of compensation you receive from the settlement will be directly related to the percentage of fault you are found to be in. To be sure, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney like Adam Capetillo.
Time is of the Essence – Don’t Delay
There is a statute of limitations in Texas. What this means is you only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit or a workers’ compensation claim. As stated earlier, workers’ compensation claims must be filed within 30 days of the accident. However, the deadline for personal injury lawsuits is within two years of the accident. So, it may be worth it for you to talk with a personal injury attorney before the two years are up just in case you may be entitled to receive compensation.
Talk with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
With the help of a good personal injury attorney, you can figure out if you have a solid case for filing a lawsuit against your employer. Capetillo Law Firm have helped many people in personal injury cases and specifically slip and fall cases. We can help you get the monetary compensation you deserve. Call us at (346) 249-5544 to set up a consultation.