This is the next post in our series on the handling of slip and fall cases in Austin, Texas. Our last article discussed how discovery can be used to prove premises liability. It is important to understand that a Plaintiff must have evidence that the property owner was not taking reasonable steps to keep the property safe. The discovery process is how such evidence is acquired. In this article we will be discussing an important issue – whether expert witnesses will be necessary at trial. If you have been injured while on another’s property it is important that you contact a personal injury attorney immediately.
Property owners or operators can liable for a victim’s fall if reasonable steps were not taken to keep the property safe. For example, if a store owner is informed that liquid has spilled in an aisle, and immediately sends someone to put out a “wet floor” sign and to clean up the spill, then the owner would likely not be liable if someone fell in the time between the owner being told of the spill and the employee arriving to clean it up. If, however, the owner waited for a period of time before sending someone to clean up the spill then they would likely be liable for the victim’s injuries. What constitutes “reasonable” conduct on the part of the property operator will always be situation specific.
Expert witnesses are often required in order to establish what is “reasonable” in a given situation. Say, for example, a store cleaned its aisles every hour and someone was injured between cleanings. An expert in the field could testify as to whether hourly cleanings are the industry norm or whether other similar stores clean their aisles on a more regular basis. If it is established that other stores clean their stores every thirty minutes, and the fall happened forty-five minutes after the last cleaning, then the defendant may be liable. Experts are required to testify as to such facts because such information falls within the realm of “specialized knowledge.” It is also important to understand that the defense will be able to have theirown experts testify as to what is normal in a given situation. It will be up to the jury to decide which experts are more believable.
If you have been injured in a fall then it is important to contact an Austin personal injury lawyer who has experience in dealing with such experts. Dan Christensen is a former military officer and prosecutor who has been standing up for victims throughout his career. Our firm practices solely in the area of personal injury law and we are ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We also service Travis County cities which include Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, the Williamson County cities of Georgetown, Cedar Park, and Leander, as well as other areas of Texas.