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Slip and Fall Accidents Do Not Net Plaintiffs an Economic Windfall

While some think a slip and fall case is an accident that will create an economic windfall for the plaintiff, this could not be further from the truth.

Slip and fall cases, also referred to as premises liability, happen when you or someone else slips and falls on the land, business or premises of a person or company. The idea is that the owner is liable for accidents that happen to you when you are on their property if the owner knew or should have known about the problem that caused the accident and failed to do anything about it.

For a clear example, the type of accident that usually merits legal assistance in the form of an Austin personal injury lawyer and a court case could involve a slip and fall after taking a skid on a wet floor that no one put up a warning sign about, if there are significant injuries to the victim.

The one thing about slip and fall or premises liability cases is the ability to distinguish between what you should really be aware of and on the lookout for and what would come as a nasty surprise. Put another way, if you ask guests to your home and your floor is uneven, rough, full of holes and a definite hazard, you must take the responsibility to warn people about the chance they may be hurt and/or fix the problems. It is that, or finding out later, when you are contacted by an Austin personal injury lawyer and told that you are being sued.

On the other hand, say you walk onto a construction job site. What would you expect to find there? You would probably see signs warning people on the property to wear proper headgear and to watch for falling objects, etc. It would come as no surprise to find nails and broken glass on the job site, as well as piles of debris. Trip over some of that stuff and really, you should have been watching were you were going. In other words, slip and fall accidents are usually about expectations. You do not expect to find nails, loose boards and falling objects in a grocery store or at a coffee shop.

These kinds of cases are really common for the simple reason that walking itself can be a major task some days. Add in the fact that humans are human and when washing the floor in a business washroom, they sometimes just plain forget to leave “Wet Floor – Danger!” signs out. Or if you were heading into your favourite coffee shop for a latte and tripped over a brick flagstone the owner had been meaning to fix, but had not gotten around to it yet, then you may be eligible to file for damages for your injuries.

While you may think that a fall couldn’t hurt that much, consider the case of a dance instructor on board a cruise ship who slipped in the galley on an unmarked wet floor. His injuries were so severe that he ended up being impotent and incontinent. Never assume that because it was just a fall, that you don’t have damages that will turn out to be something worse later. This is the prime time to speak to an Austin personal injury lawyer about holding the negligent party or parties responsible and to obtain funds to pay your medical expenses and time off work, etc.

Keep in mind that this area of the law is designed to help those who were unintended victims of a negligent property or business owner. News reports making cases like this out to be cash windfalls for victims are wrong. At best, they underplay the true significant of injuries sustained in a slip and fall. At worst, they portray the person as getting megabucks for a scraped knee, when in reality, the knee may have been dislocated and required pinning for the person to walk again.

While you may have fallen and hurt yourself, you need to know that filing a personal injury claim is definitely not going to make you rich. It might get you financial compensation for bills, lost wages and pain and suffering, but that’s it. Getting compensation to pay medical bills is a big win these days, given the price of medical care.

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at or (512) 476-4944.


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