What Does a Slip and Fall Settlement Look Like?
Even what looks like a minor slip and fall accident can lead to significant disabilities. When you are seriously injured, it is not just physical; it is mental, emotional, and financial, too. Your entire life may turn upside down. You become inundated with medical costs, and you feel hopeless.
Eventually, you reach the point where a settlement might be your only option. When a property owner’s negligence causes your slip and fall, you may receive compensation from that owner. Regardless if it is a residence, commercial property, or government-owned property, the compensation you receive helps pay for those medical costs, living expenses, and even lost wages.
Slip and fall lawsuits fall under premises liability suits. The settlement for premises liability suits depend on the type of injuries, their severity, and the degree of representation you have. Therefore, to understand what a settlement looks like, you must first understand the components and how an attorney determines what your claim is worth.
The Components of a Typical West Palm Beach Slip and Fall Settlement
If you settled your lawsuit today, you would receive compensation for a slip and fall incident based on either a negotiated amount between your attorney and the defense or a judgment issued by the court after a successful win at trial.
Some of the compensation you might receive includes:
Medical Expenses – Past, Present, and Future
One of the most significant portions of your settlement come from medical expenses. You receive compensation for the medical expenses already paid from your pocket as well as those covered by insurance. Any pending medical bills receive compensation, then any future costs (projected by a medical doctor) might also be compensated.
This ensures that you are not continually paying out-of-pocket for an accident you did not cause after you settle.
A valid slip and fall settlement is worth at least your reasonable medical costs. Therefore, it is safe to assume that you would receive at least the amount you have paid, plus the cost of any future expenses as projected by your physician.
Lost Wages – Time Taken off Work to Recover
You can receive compensation, not only for medical costs, but also for lost wages. Naturally, a severe injury means you would miss time at work while you recover. You would eventually exhaust your sick leave and vacation hours and find yourself without pay.
A lawsuit compensates you for those losses. You receive funds to cover any sick leave or vacation you used up, plus any lost wages pending. The time you missed from work to recover, attend doctors’ appointments, and even go to trial are recoverable.
Loss of Earning Capacity – When Injuries Hinder Your Ability to Work
A slip and fall injury is not a minor injury. In some cases, a person can suffer long-term disability from their slip and fall accident. For example, you slipped and fell and suffered a moderate traumatic brain injury. That brain injury now causes a seizure disorder that prevents you from driving. You make your living as a commercial truck driver, which means you lose your commercial license and can no longer work in your field.
If your seizure disorder is severe, you might be unable to work at all. Therefore, you would receive compensation for the wages you no longer can earn, including any potential bonuses or promotions you would have received for the remaining working years of your life.
If you must change career fields, you may receive compensation for the vocational training required, time missed learning a new trade, and any income differences between careers.
If you can return to work, but only part-time, then you might receive compensation for the diminished earning capacity.
You have additional expenses that might qualify for compensation, such as gas to travel to doctors’ appointments, private property damaged in the accident, or other incident-related expenses that do not fall under lost wages and medical costs. You must prove these expenses with receipts and rationally connect these incidentals to your accident.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering focuses on the areas that cannot be computed efficiently, but still require compensation. No dollar amount will make you whole again after a severe accident, but the pain and suffering damages are designed to help bridge the gap as much as humanly possible. The more severe or permanent an injury, the higher the compensation for pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering are not just physical; it also focuses on the mental and emotional aspects of your injury. It considers your quality of life and how that might be altered from your accident. This compensation even considers how the injury affects your relationship with loved ones.
In very rare cases, punitive damages could apply. Punitive damages are not compensatory, meaning they are not based off a value for your injury to help you recover. Instead, they are designed to punish the defendant specifically and serve as a public deterrent. In slip and fall settlements, punitive damages do not happen often.
However, if you receive punitive damages, it would be because the defendant was malicious, grossly negligent, or purposely caused the slip and fall accident.
How to Ensure the Best Settlement Possible – Speak with an Attorney
The process of seeking compensation is complicated. Not only do you need to prove your case, but then you must endure the process of negotiating with a defense attorney, insurance claims’ adjuster, or other insurance representative.
Realize that while you are entitled to compensation, the insurance company’s job is to lower the amount of compensation they pay in the end. That means using comparative negligence or trying to argue that you failed to mitigate damages to reduce what they pay out to you.
To protect yourself from these common tactics, you need an attorney ready to fight for your rights.
Speak with an injury advocate from The Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A., now.