This is the next post in our series about handling slip and fall cases in Laredo, Texas. The previous article discussed when a property owner or operator may be held responsible for injuries that occur on their premises. Depending upon the type of property and applicable industry standards, laws, and regulations, the steps an owner must take to keep premises safe may differ. Given the fact-specific nature of slip and fall cases, it is important to engage an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your interests. This article will examine how a victim’s potential damages are determined following an accident. If you have been injured, contact a lawyer today.
When a person suffers an injury due to the negligence of one or more parties, they are entitled to compensation from those responsible in the form of damages. A victim injured in a slip and fall incident may incur multiple forms of damages including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages depending upon the facts of the specific case. Damage calculations often require the use of multiple expert witnesses, including economists, vocational specialists, and medical experts. Determining the appropriate amount of damages can be a complicated process. This is particularly true in premises liability cases where the party suffers serious injuries.
Slip and fall victims are entitled to recover past medical expenses and lost wages. These are fairly easy to quantify by reviewing current bills and time required away from one’s job. Plaintiffs may also be entitled to compensation for future medical treatments and lost earnings resulting from the accident. In cases involving serious injuries, estimating these amounts may become challenging. For instance, if a victim suffers a serious spinal cord injury after falling down a flight of stairs and is unable to walk, it may take medical experts several months before they understand the victim’s long-term medical prognosis. Even then, the estimated costs of his future (and perhaps life-long) medical care may be difficult to quantify and require multiple expert opinions. If he is unable to return to work due to his permanent disability, economists or other financial experts may be required to estimate the victim’s potential lost wages over the course of his lifetime. In some cases, an injured party may receive compensation for their pain and suffering caused by the incident. Pain and suffering includes physical or emotional pain, reduced quality of life, or inconvenience. The plaintiff must demonstrate how these problems have negatively impacted their life. In our example, it is easy to imagine that the victim’s paralysis may result in pain and suffering damages.
Finally, punitive damages, which are designed to “punish” a defendant, may be available in certain premises liability cases. To recover punitive damages, the victim must be able to prove that the property owner acted recklessly, wantonly, or intentionally in their failure to protect the injured party from harm. For instance, if a building owner purposely fires all maintenance staff to reduce costs knowing that doing so may result in dangerous conditions for visitors to the site, his actions may be viewed as reckless and justify punitive damages.
It is important to understand that damage calculations will differ on a case by case basis. If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident in Laredo, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. I also serve clients in other areas of south Texas.