Slip and fall accidents are more common than you might imagine. They occur in stores, homes, at work, and on the street. Sometimes there is a spill on the floor, an obstruction in the walkway, an uneven surface, or a poorly lit area. Property managers and owners have a duty to ensure their premises are free of known hazards. When someone is injured, they could hold the property owner liable through a slip and fall injury lawsuit.
People file a lawsuit to seek damages – or compensation for their injuries and financial losses. Understanding how these damages are calculated and awarded is important – whether you decide to take your case to court or settle with an insurance company. The damages available will depend on the property owner’s liability and the extent and severity of your injuries.
Our Fayetteville slip and fall attorneys have the experience and resources to value your case, negotiate a settlement, or try your claim in court. Valuing your potential damages and evaluating the legal strength of your claim is information you need to determine how you wish to proceed with your case. Call our law offices at (479) 316-0438 to review your case and evaluate your damages.
Calculating “Damages” in a Slip and Fall Claim
“Damages” is the legal term to indicate a slip and fall victim’s losses. It is a way to apply a monetary figure to the harm a plaintiff suffered. Therefore, damages are often referred to as compensatory because the defendant is compensating the victim.
Compensatory damages are typically broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are a plaintiff’s out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury. These damages include medical expenses, lost income, and other costs associated with the injury. It is important to remember that your costs are more than just big-ticket items. You could recover the cost of parking or babysitting fees you incurred to keep a medical appointment.
Our Rogers slip and fall lawyers will use receipts, statements, pay stubs, and other documents to calculate your economic damages. In some situations, such as determining lost future income, we will use a financial or vocational expert to calculate the amount of money you would have earned.
Slip and fall victims are also entitled to intangible damages such as pain and suffering. Unfortunately, there are no bills or receipts for emotional distress, insomnia, or loss of enjoyment of life. That does not mean these subjective damages are impossible to qualify. Our law office will turn to expert medical opinions and testimony from your family, friends, and co-workers to demonstrate the injury’s impact on your life.
Plaintiff’s Contribution to Their Injury
While the defendant’s property could have conditions that present an unreasonable danger or result in a slip and fall accident, the plaintiff’s conduct could have contributed to their injury. Arkansas courts apply a modified comparative negligence standard in personal injury cases. Under this legal doctrine, a jury or judge will assign a percentage of fault to each party involved in the case. Depending on the culpability the plaintiff shares with the defendant, their award could be significantly reduced or nullified.
An attorney for the property owner or their insurance company will attempt to present evidence to prove that the injured victim played a substantial role in their accident. For example, if someone was texting on their phone while walking down a store aisle, they might not have noticed a slippery spill. The footwear an accident victim wore could also have contributed to their loss of balance.
In some cases, the plaintiff’s conduct is more troublesome, such as ignoring warning signs or running down a darkened stairwell. The property owner could be clearly negligent in both of these cases. Nonetheless, the plaintiff’s actions played a significant part in the slip and fall accident.
At the end of a trial, a jury will be instructed to determine what damages should be awarded and how fault should be assigned. If a jury awards a slip and fall victim $100,000 in compensatory damages and determines the victim’s actions accounted for 40% of the fault, the plaintiff will only receive $60,000. If the jury found that the plaintiff’s contribution was 50% or more, the plaintiff will not receive any monetary compensation. Part of our Farmington slip and fall lawyers’ job is to defend against allegations of contributory conduct.
Your Attorney is Also Important When Determining Damages
Many slip and fall cases settle before going to trial. This is often beneficial to both parties. The plaintiff receives their compensation without the expenses and time of a trial and the insurance company settles on an amount it is comfortable paying. Both parties avoid the risk of losing the case at trial. However, an injured plaintiff might only have leverage if they are willing to take their case to court.
If an attorney has a reputation of accepting lower settlements rather than trying a case, an insurance provider will offer a lower amount than an injured victim deserves. If your attorney is prepared and willing to take your claim to court, an insurance company is more likely to propose a fair settlement to avoid the cost and risk of a jury verdict. Our Bella Vista experienced slip and fall attorneys will aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve.
Our Arkansas Personal Injury Attorneys Are Available to Help You
Slip and fall accidents could result in everything from minor bruises to severe head and brain injuries. If you were hurt because of a property owner’s negligence, you should be compensated for your losses. Our Arkansas slip and fall accident attorneys will value your case, so you know what your claim is worth. To review your options, call our law offices at (479) 316-0438.
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