Slip and Falls Are a Common Cause of Traumatic Brain Injury
You set out on a fine spring morning to go to the local mall to shop for a special outfit for an upcoming celebration. While in a store looking at clothing, you slip on a wet surface, fall backward, and suffer injuries to your head, neck, and spine. Is the store owner/operator or their liability insurance policy responsible for covering your medical expenses and other losses?
The answer is yes if the owner/operator failed to exercise reasonable care to make the premises safe or to post warnings that you see, such as “Wet Floor.” Your slip-and-fall accident would then fall under the legal concept of premises liability, which applies to anyone who owns, leases, rents, or occupies property to which others are invited or allowed. They are under a legal obligation to provide a safe environment or to post or give warnings about dangerous conditions.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident in or around Odessa, Texas, and wish to pursue a claim or legal action for what happened to you, contact us at The Law Office of Steve Brannan.
Our personal injury/premises liability attorney will assess what happened to see if the owner/operator was negligent or careless. We will then help you navigate the insurance claims system, negotiating directly with the insurer, and if necessary, filing a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
The Law Office of Steve Brannan also represents clients in Midland, Big Spring, Pecos, and Andrews, and throughout the communities of West Texas.
Common Causes of Slips and Falls
Slips and falls can occur both inside a structure and outside, on walkways, or in parking lots. The owner/operator of a retail establishment, for instance, must exert reasonable care to fix any dangerous conditions or at least to rope them off and warn of them. The legal concept extends to not only knowing of these dangerous conditions, but also to “should have known.”
The earlier example of slipping on a wet surface is just one possible cause. Handrails or steps on a stairway can be loose and cause people to slip and fall. There may be a loose rug or a cord that shouldn’t be in the path of customers or others. Outside, an icy surface can certainly cause falls. There can be various dangerous conditions that an owner/operator should prepare for and inspect for.
What Results From a Slip and Fall? Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries Are Possible
Some slips and falls may result just in bruises and pains that go away on their own or with medication. The point is to get a medical examination immediately after suffering a slip-and-fall incident. Beyond mere bruises and cuts, however, there can also be broken bones.
The most serious injuries involve the head, neck, and spine. A blow to the head can cause a concussion, and concussions can lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI). When you fall and strike your head, the brain will bounce around in your skull, which causes chemical changes in the brain and stretches and damages brain cells. What is called mild TBI may result.
However, even one severe blow to the head can exacerbate conditions, which can lead to trouble staying balanced, and also result in loss of concentration, memory issues, and headaches.
Moderate or severe TBI can require ongoing care. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the five-year outlook for those with mild to severe TBIs is that 22 percent will die, 30 percent will become worse, 22 percent will stay the same, and 26 percent will improve.
Filing a Claim
The owner/operator of the premises where your slip and fall occurred will no doubt have some sort of property or liability insurance. However, proving a TBI can be difficult as opposed to spinal injuries that can show up on an MRI. You’re going to need documentation and testimony supplied by a number of professionals in the field, including neuropsychologists, neurologists, and cognitive rehabilitation experts.
Also, since you will probably need long-term care, you have to be careful not to agree to any settlement offered by the insurance company without speaking to your attorney. A settlement is forever. You cannot go back, reopen the claim, and ask for more. The book is closed once you sign off on a settlement.
That’s why you need an experienced personal injury/premises liability attorney to deal with the insurance company for you. All future costs must be factored into any settlement agreement. Let your attorney answer all the insurance company’s questions and negotiate for the best possible settlement. You should stay home and tend to your recovery. If your attorney sees the need for a personal injury lawsuit, he or she will also handle that for you.
We Stand by Our Clients
If you or your loved ones are injured from a slip and fall, bring your claim to us at The Law Office of Steve Brannan. Our primary goal is to help the injured person recover the just compensation due to them from those whose negligence caused their suffering. We will stand by you every step of the way.
We proudly serve clients in Odessa and throughout West Texas. Reach out immediately if you or a loved one is injured because of someone else’s negligence.