This is the next post in our series of articles on the handling of slip and fall cases in Laredo, Texas. Our last post discussed how damages are calculated in premises liability cases. It is important to understand that a victim can be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and, in extreme cases, possible punitive damages. Damages are awarded by the jury. It is, therefore, important that you retain a personal injury attorney who is experienced in presenting matters in a clear and concise fashion. In this article I will address another important topic – the reason why it may take some time for a slip and fall case to reach settlement or trial. As explained below, the reason for possible delays revolves around the need to determine a victim’s long-term damages. Contact my office to speak with a lawyer if you or a loved one are in need of assistance. In addition to Laredo, we serve other areas in south Texas.
South Texas slip and fall cases can be delayed out of a need to determine the victim’s damages
It is understandable that an accident victim can be eager to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. In addition to needing compensation for missed work and medical expenses, a victim is likely to want to put the matter behind them. It is important to understand however, that an eventual settlement or jury verdict must take all the victim’s losses into account. This is because a final settlement or verdict is just that – final. This means, for example, that the extent to which a victim will need additional treatment, require additional therapy, or the extent to which they will make a full recovery, must be known so that their damages can be properly calculated. Once these future damages can be reasonably ascertained, then the case may proceed.
Consider the following example. Joe Plaintiff, a south Texas resident, is injured during a fall at a local retailer. Joe has a severely injured back and is unable to walk without pain. His doctors have just completed surgery and are expecting a six-to-nine-month recovery. The extent to which Joe will be able to walk again, without pain, will not be known until that recovery time has passed. Unfortunately, Joe is eager to resolve the matter and he accepts a quick settlement shortly after his surgery out of a belief that he will make a full recovery. Later, when Joe realizes that he will never walk again without pain, and he must change careers, he will be unable to recover compensation related to his lifelong discomfort and career loss. Joe could have ensured that his settlement encapsulated all of his losses if he had waited until his future prognosis was more certain.
A Laredo lawyer will submit a demand letter to the insurer once a victim’s damages are ascertainable
Once a victim’s medical providers have reasonably ascertained a long-term prognosis, their attorney will submit a “demand letter” to the defendant’s insurance carrier. The demand letter is a statement requesting payment and it will include a breakdown of the victim’s damages. Once the demand letter has been submitted, counsel will go back and forth with the insurance company in settlement negotiations. If a settlement cannot be reached, then one’s counsel will file a lawsuit with the local court to begin the litigation process.
It is important to note that there are instances in which one’s long-term prognosis may take years to ascertain. If a victim’s statute of limitations is about to run, then counsel will file a lawsuit with the Court to preserve the right to damages. Retaining an attorney who is experienced in such matters is crucial to a) making sure the insurance company is dealt with effectively and b) ensuring that the statute of limitations is preserved.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a fall on someone else’s property, then contact our office today to speak with a Laredo injury lawyer. We take great pride in the level of service we provide, and we are proud to assist those in our local community. We look forward to speaking with you.