How McKinney Classifies Slip and Fall Cases

A slip and fall case is classified as a premises defect case. That is a modification of the ordinary negligence law that applies to everything else. It is harder to prevail in these cases but it is not impossible. In a normal negligence standard, one simply shows that a person or a company did or did not do something that a reasonable person would or would not do. With premises liability, the plaintiff must generally show that the owner or occupier knew or should have known of the danger. Sometimes, there is a higher standard to demonstrate this. As a result, a premises case is different from a general negligence case.

How Experienced Attorneys in McKinney Approach Slip and Fall Cases

Experienced slip and fall lawyers approach premises cases assuming they are likely to go to trial. At the least, a slip and fall case must survive summary judgment. That means it is likely the case is filed and extremely likely that the evidence is developed. It is critical from the beginning that the lawyer does what necessary to preserve the evidence.

That frequently means sending spoliation letters to prevent evidence from being destroyed, especially specific evidence they might need after a lawsuit is filed.

In a slip and fall case, a spoliation letter is critical to preserve cleaning logs, as well as videos and photographs of the scene before and after, as well as other important evidence.

If the lawyer sends spoliation letters and the defendant fails to preserve evidence, that could be held against them. The plaintiff’s lawyer must show that the evidence is information the premises owner would normally keep and they know where the evidence was kept, and it disappeared or was destroyed.

Proving that helps the case move past summary judgment. The jury is instructed to consider the premises owner had evidence in their control and destroyed it. That may help the plaintiff meet their burden of proof in the right circumstances. Time is of the essence in these cases, especially when regarding evidence. If evidence is not preserved, it is gone. Because the plaintiff has the burden of proof, the loss of evidence works against them to the benefit of the defendant.

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Where These Cases Are Heard

Slip and fall cases are filed in a district court or a county court at law in Texas. McKinney has county courts at law and district courts. District courts have an unlimited jurisdiction. The county court at law has more limited jurisdiction. Depending on the size of the case, one may want to file in one jurisdiction or the other and there are many reasons for doing so.

The length of a trial may be radically different because the district court’s jurisdiction is a general jurisdiction. The district court hears everything in the county including criminal cases, family law, and injury cases. As a result, sometimes the length of time lengthens for district courts whereas in county court, one could get their case to trial quickly since the county courts at law generally do not have family law jurisdiction and because they typically have misdemeanor criminal jurisdiction in those counties where criminal jurisdiction and civil jurisdiction have not been separated, like Collin County. The Constitution requires that people who are incarcerated be given primary status as far as getting their cases heard. So, in general, jurisdiction district court injury cases could languish behind felony criminal cases with incarcerated defendants. In general jurisdiction county courts at law, since the criminal jurisdiction is for misdemeanors only, most defendants are not incarcerated leaving the courts more flexibility in scheduling civil personal injury trials.

In addition, when someone seeks a more limited recovery in county court, they may have a six-person jury rather than a 12-person jury. Some lawyers feel that it is easier to get a verdict from a six-person jury than a 12-person jury. That is a consideration that some people look at regarding whether to file in the district or county court.

When an individual is injured at a large retailer, the corporate office might not be located in Texas. If an individual files a case with $75,000 or more in controversy, they always have the potential of filing the case in a state district court or having it moved to a federal district court or in initially filing the case in the federal district court where the injury occurred or where the principal place of business is for the defendant.

Federal District Courts

Federal district court rules are different from the state district court. The summary judgment standard is higher, so it is something that defendants need to consider when moving slip and fall cases to federal court where they are more likely to have a summary judgment granted. That is an issue that an individual has to think about when choosing who the defendants are in these cases and when choosing the amount they are claiming for recovery. The lawyer for the injured person could specifically claim less than $75,000 and avoid removal to federal court and the higher likelihood of having their case dismissed on summary judgment.

The decision depends on the nature of the injuries. When the injuries are severe, sometimes the plaintiff and their attorney make the decision to file in federal court knowing they have to win in federal court. Because of the difference in the summary judgment and other federal procedures, the lawyer for the injured person should consider really think and carefully decide where to file a case.

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Let an Attorney Help

In McKinney, slip and fall cases are often challenging for victims who are looking to focus on their recovery. The legal requirements for proving negligence are challenging, and when your attention is focused on recovery, it could be hard to see that your case is heard and the negligent parties responsible for your injuries are held accountable. Instead of worrying over this, let an attorney vie for the compensation you need while you focus on healing. Reach out today to speak to an attorney.

McKinney Case Types

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If you are in need of a personal injury attorney in North Texas, please contact the team at McCraw Law Group today. We are ready to help you in a broad range of serious accident and injury legal issues, and offer multiple ways to reach us.

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If you are in need of a personal injury attorney in North Texas, please contact the team at McCraw Law Group today. We are ready to help you in a broad range of serious accident and injury legal issues, and offer multiple ways to reach us.

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