In June, emergency responders rescued a man who had fallen down an embankment at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. and Lamar Boulevard in Austin. This man, identified as in his 20s, had sustained serious injuries to his extremities when he fell into a dry creek bed. Fortunately, the injuries were not life threatening, and he was transported to Dell Seton Medical Center for treatment.
We often think of pedestrians getting injured by motorists. Indeed, many pedestrians are killed or severely injured when motorists accidentally plow into them. According to state statistics, 268 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in Texas in 2016, and Austin, Texas is not exempt.
However, other pedestrians are injured by tripping and falling or slipping and falling on sidewalks or down embankments. Sometimes, a trip or slip is solely the fault of the pedestrian, who was not watching where they were going. In other situations, the pedestrian might have a legal case against the property owner or the government that is in charge of property.
Suing Texas or One of its Municipalities
Texas, like all U.S. states, is immune from lawsuits from one of its citizens. This means that you cannot sue Texas without its permission if you fall and injure yourself on a public place, such as a sidewalk.
Fortunately, Texas has waived its immunity for personal injury cases where you slip or trip and injure yourself. You can sue Texas or one of its municipalities if a public area like a sidewalk or road is unreasonably dangerous. This does not mean that every crack on the sidewalk warrants a lawsuit. Instead, the municipality must exercise only “reasonable care” to keep the property reasonably safe. Nevertheless, if a defect has existed for a long time and the government had notice of it, then your case is stronger.
You will need an experienced Texas personal injury attorney to help you, because suing the government is not like suing a private party. Instead, you must follow the Texas Tort Claims Act, which lays out the procedures you must follow:
- You must give written notice laying out the facts of your accident, such as the time and place.
- The notice should contain information about your injuries.
- You only have six months to give this written notice. The clock starts running from the date of the accident. In some cities, like Austin, you have much less time.
If you do not provide this notice, then the state can ask a judge to dismiss any lawsuit you have filed.
Personal Injury Lawyers You Can Trust
Trips and spills in public places can cause serious injuries that cost thousands of dollars to treat. Few people have that kind of money sitting around and need a settlement to help them pay their bills. To identify whether you have a valid legal claim, please contact an experienced Austin personal injury attorney right away.
At DC Law, we have obtained favorable settlements and jury verdicts for countless clients. You can schedule your free case review by calling 512-220-1800.