Slipping and falling in a public place can be a painful and embarrassing experience. However, if this happens to you, it is important to know your legal rights. Depending on the specific circumstances, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and related damages.
That being said, it can be difficult to recover compensation if your fall was on public property, as the government might be the party you need to file a claim against. Sovereign immunity laws in Texas can make it challenging to hold the government accountable for your slip and fall injuries in public. Speak to a San Antonio slip and fall accident lawyer immediately to determine your legal options.
What is Sovereign Immunity?
Sovereign immunity, a legal principle with origins in English common law, posits that the government and its agencies are shielded from lawsuits or liability for specific actions. Over time, sovereign immunity has evolved to accommodate the changing needs of society and the increasing interactions between citizens and the government.
Sovereign immunity laws in Texas generally prohibit lawsuits against the government, including schools, counties, and state agencies, unless the government consents to being sued. This means that if you slip and fall on public property, you may not be able to sue the government for damages.
Exceptions to Sovereign Immunity
However, there are three notable exceptions to this rule. The first is if the slip and fall resulted from special defects, such as excavations or obstructions on highways, roads, or streets or the absence or malfunction of traffic signs, signals, or warnings.
The second exception is if someone else caused the dangerous condition that led to the slip and fall. For instance, if a third-party contractor performing maintenance on public property negligently caused a slippery surface that led to your slip and fall, you may be able to bring a successful lawsuit against the contractor.
In these cases, it may be challenging to determine who is ultimately responsible for the dangerous condition that led to the slip and fall, so it is advisable to consult an experienced personal injury attorney.
The third exception to sovereign immunity in Texas is when you pay money to use the government building, such as the payment of fees to attend a public event. In such cases, the government may be liable for your injuries if you slip and fall on their property.
If you purchased a ticket, for example, to attend a concert at a public venue and slip and fall on the premises, you may be able to bring a successful lawsuit against the government.
What To Do After a Slip and Fall in Public?
If you have suffered a slip and fall on public property in Texas, it is important to take certain steps to help protect your legal rights.
First, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Not only is this important for your health and well-being, but seeking prompt medical attention can also help to demonstrate that your injuries were related to the slip and fall incident.
Second, report the slip and fall as soon as possible, and make sure to keep a record of the incident, including the date and time, the location, and any witnesses who may have seen what happened.
Finally, speak with an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the complicated process of suing the government in Texas.
For help after a slip and fall, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.