It may seem sometimes like there is little logic to the amount that a plaintiff receives in settlements for their slip and fall claim. It is true that damages in a personal injury case can vary, but there are reasons. While a settlement may not be predictable with pinpoint accuracy, hiring an experienced attorney helps maximize the value of your case.
Like all personal injury cases, slip and fall cases result in financial compensation, when two factors exist; (1) someone else is responsible (Negligence), and (2) their negligence causes the injury (Damages). Personal injury damages are meant to put the injured person back in the same position as if the fall and injury never happened.
Damages in Your Slip and Fall Case
In any Suffolk or Nassau County slip and fall case, there are different categories of damages. They are:
- Economic damages – these damages are meant to compensate for actual money lost, such as money either been spent (medical, hospital, medication, etc.) or money that cannot be earned (lost wages)
- Non-economic damages – these measure other types of harm that are not financially based such as pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages – these are damages that are designed to punish a wrongdoer, to prevent them from continuing in a specific activity, and/or sending a message to other similar parties to caution them from doing the same type of activity. These punitive damages are rare in slip and fall cases. Normally, punitive damages are confined to defendant activity that rises to the level of criminal conduct.
How Damages Are Measured in Your Slip and Fall Case
While economic damages measure actual dollars, there may be some dispute about the value to be suffered in the future. For example, if you suffer a serious back injury in an auto wreck, and your job involves physical labor, you might miss time from work, or may never be able to work ever again. Your damages award should account for either situation and pay for that, but there will almost always be different opinions as to the amount of these damages depending on how you calculate it.
Similarly, your non-economic damages could also vary. This would include things such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
This category of damages is subjective by nature. After all, anyone who could try to put themselves in your shoes and put a dollar value on your experience is always using their own judgment. An insurance company is always going to try to pay as little as possible, and possibly less than you deserve. As much as they claim to use a formula in valuing injuries, like pain and suffering, an insurance company is really looking to minimize the payout.
The Value of Your Case Depends on Your Injuries
It is impossible to define a case value without knowing the actual facts of the specific injury. Every damage award depends on the unique suffering. Even two people who suffer a broken leg in a slip and fall may be legally entitled to completely different amounts. This is why you need to consult with an experienced attorney immediately after your injury to get an understanding of what your own individual case may be worth.
Contact a Suffolk County Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer
To learn more about whether you can receive financial compensation in your slip and fall case, call the New York based Law Office of David M. Kaufman at 631-761-6400 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. We will learn more about the facts of your individual case and explain your legal options going forward.