If you slip and fall and are injured in a store, you may assume that the store is responsible for your injury and will have to pay your medical bills. However, this is not the law in Texas, so it is important for you to understand exactly what your rights are in case of a slip and fall injury.
In Texas, a store owner is not liable unless it can be proven that they were negligent and their negligence caused your injury. To establish this, there are two things you must prove: (1) that an unreasonably dangerous condition existed in the store; and (2) that the store owner knew or should have known about the unreasonably dangerous condition. This means that if you slip and fall because of a spill on the floor, that spill must have been there long enough that the store owner should have found it and cleaned it up.
If the spill occurred a few minutes before you stepped in it and fell, then chances are the store owner will not be liable because they did not have an opportunity to discover and clean up the spill. On the other hand, if the spill had been there for 30 or 40 minutes, and neither the store owner nor store employees discovered the spill or cleaned it up, then a jury could find that they should have known about it had they been inspecting their store properly.
The difficult thing for a Texas consumer is proving how long the substance has been on the floor. The Texas Supreme Court has held that a consumer cannot guess how long the spill was there. There must be a witness to prove how long the spill was there. Finding that type of witness is almost impossible in a crowded store.
Fortunately, with today’s technology, the very thing that was designed to protect the stores is now helping injured consumers. Surveillance cameras that are scattered throughout the store are always there and always watching the floor. These cameras can record when the spill occurred and how much time passed before the consumer stepped in the substance and fell. They can prove whether or not the owner knew or should have known about the spill by determining how long the spill was on the floor.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a retail store, the experienced personal injury legal team at Roberts & Roberts is here to help with compassionate, aggressive representation. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.