Slip and fall accidents are no laughing matter, as they are the third leading cause of unintentional death in the US. What’s more is that slip and fall accidents account for over 20 percent of emergency room visits. And as you get older, this type of accident increases in likelihood, as 30 percent of people 65 and older experience a fall every year.
If you’ve had the misfortune of slipping and falling at no fault of your own, then you might want to seek compensation for your grievances. Falling can result in any number of injuries, including broken bones, head injuries and fractures. Each of these can lead to great economic losses and equally burdensome pain and suffering damages. The following will outline the process of obtaining remuneration for such damages.
In order to show that your injury was the consequence of someone else’s negligence and not your own, you must provide four legal elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Let’s say you fell at a store as a result of a recently waxed floor not marked by a caution sign. In such a case the store owner has the duty to warn you (the “invitee”) of any “dangerous conditions,” which are those conditions that put invitees at an unreasonable risk and that cannot be foreseen.
Additionally, in order to receive compensation, you have to show that the store owner was aware of the dangerous condition and didn’t do anything about it. Such a breach of duty must be proven in order to recover damages.
You must also show that the waxed floor was in fact the “proximate cause.” If there were other factors contributing to the fall, you might have more difficulty proving your case.
Finally, once you’ve shown that the fall was due to someone else’s negligence, you must then prove that it injured you and prove the actual amount of damages incurred by the accident.
Economic Damages in Slip and Fall Accident Cases
Your total economic damages (or those damages that are purely monetary) will vary depending on the severity of your injury, your medical expenses, your lost wages, etc. For instance, medical costs for a minor injury that does not require you to miss work will probably not result in a significant settlement or award. However, your damages for a significant spinal cord injury that requires substantial medical treatment and causes you to miss work or lose your job could result in a settlement or award in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Each type of injury varies in terms of its requirement for rest. You may miss a week of work, six months of work or you may just be fired. The length of your respite from work matters a great deal when tallying up your economic damages, as you are entitled to recover lost earnings. So be sure to keep pay stubs or any other documentation pertaining to your wages.
In fact, it’s smart to keep all documents that you think may be related to the injury, including mileage and receipts from restaurants where you ate on your way to or from the hospital. Any cost that is related to the accident and your subsequent injuries should be considered.
Non-Economic Damages from a Slip and Fall Accident
Lastly, following the accident you may experience serious emotional turmoil or debilitating pain that changes your lifestyle. These effects fall under the category of non-economic damages. Proving that you sustained these damages can be difficult due to their immaterial nature. For instance, if you believe the injury directly caused you to be clinically depressed, you might want to get a note from a mental health professional stating that the emotional distress is directly linked to the injury.
Going through this process can be stressful, particularly when you’re all alone. To reduce your stress, call Hartford slip and fall attorney Andrew Cates. Mr. Cates has experience in slip and fall cases throughout Connecticut. He can help guide you through the process of collecting all the necessary documents, negotiating with the insurance company, and if necessary, taking your case all the way to a jury trial.