How Much is My Slip and Fall Case Worth?
If you have slipped and fallen or tripped and fallen and been hurt, you may be a claim against the business or property owner. Many of these cases occur in Seattle, Kirkland, Bellingham, Olympia, or the surrounding areas in Washington State. These cases can be difficult to prevail on, but they are not impossible.
Legally, these cases are known as “premises liability” cases. This simply means in order for you to win you must show that you have proven the owner of the building or property where you were hurt was negligent in some way and this negligence caused your injuries.
After suffering an injury, you might be wondering what your case is worth. This will help you understand the value of your case.Categories of Damages
If you receive a settlement for your slip or trip and fall, which is not a guarantee, you need to understand how your settlement is broken down in terms of damages. While you will receive one settlement check, the check will be broken down into a few different damage areas. They are as follows:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Loss of consortium
- Out of pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
Assuming you are able to prove liability in your case is clearly on the part of the
defendant, meaning the party you are suing, then you will receive a settlement to cover medical bills that are related to your injuries. This means that if you had a pre-existing condition, the defendant will not have to pay for those bills.
Future medical bills are reserved for those bills that may be incurred in the future as a result of your injuries. For example, if you will need a knee surgery going forward, then part of your settlement should be set aside to pay for it.
Lost wages is a category of your settlement that is intended to compensate you for money you lost out on at work because of your injuries. This may be a small or large amount, depending on what you lost. Having documents to prove this is very helpful, such as pay statements, tax returns, and a social security earnings history.
Future lost wages is an amount of money that is reserved to compensate you for income you may lose out on in the future because of your injuries. For instance, if you are going to need a surgery that will cause you to miss two months of work, then you are allowed to receive compensation for this future wage loss. Having an expert, such as an economist, who can issue a report stating the amount of money you will lose can be very helpful in terms of substantiating this amount.
Loss of consortium is an amount of money that is intended to compensate your spouse or legal partner for what he or she has endured because of your injury. Your spouse is allowed to make their own claim for the loss they have suffered. A common example of this would be if they lost out on a romantic relationship because of your injury, then they are allowed to bring a claim on their own.
Out of pocket expenses is a category of damages that is meant to compensate you for damages that is a bit of a miscellaneous catch-all to make you whole for expenses you incurred such as gasoline spent going to doctor visits, a brace, wheelchair, or cane you bought after your accident that the insurance company did not repay you for.Pain and Suffering Explained
Pain and suffering is the last category of damages you are allowed to recover money for. It is possibly the hardest category to quantify in terms of an appropriate amount of money to compensate you for. Legally, this amount is also known as general damages. They are more “general” in nature, as opposed to the specific amount that is stated in your medical bills and lost wages.
They are designed to compensate you for all the parts of your life that were impacted by the slip or trip and fall, such as being in pain, not being able to do the recreational things you like to do in your life, or not sleeping like you used to. It is important to understand that there is normally a loose connection between your medical bill total and the amount you receive in pain and suffering money.
In other words, if you have a $10,000 medical bill for an ankle fracture you suffered after slipped and fell at a Safeway, it would be unrealistic to expect to receive either ten dollars or ten million dollars in pain and suffering. The reason for this is that these numbers are in no way connected in terms of their similarity with each other.
This is not to say that there is a simple math formula to complete or even a specific Washington State law that explains these damages in terms of how to calculate them. It just means that it is likely if the case proceeds to a trial, expect the jury to award an amount of money that bears some relation to your medical bills.Insurance Explained
When suing a business or a homeowner for a slip and fall or trip and fall that occurs on their property, it is important to understand the insurance implications at hand. If you sue a business or property owner, including a homeowner, it does not mean you are suing the insurance company.
In fact, they will not be named on the lawsuit, nor will they ever be mentioned in the lawsuit, but they will be behind the scenes, so to speak, since they will provide an attorney for the business or property owner and the money for your settlement will come from the insurance company’s policy.
Insurance companies are not easy to work with. They don’t just write large checks for settlements. They are going to make sure they are looking out for their own interests, which means saving themselves money by not paying out any money, or trying to pay out as little as possible on your case.How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help
The Jackman Law Firm can help you in a number of different ways with your slip and fall or trip and fall case. First and foremost, we can help you prove liability in your case. This means we can prove that you were not the reason you were hurt by slipping and falling or tripping and falling. While it may seem hard to believe, there may be instances when the insurance company for the business or property owner where you slipped or tripped tries to blame you for your injuries. If you are blamed, then you need an attorney who can help prove that you were fault-free. We can do this by obtaining key documents, taking depositions, which is the same as an interview, and obtaining surveillance footage, if such footage exists.
With liability in our favor, we can then move on and attempt to negotiate a favorable settlement with the insurance company. If you have never negotiated with an insurance company before, you are facing an uphill battle. We have the success and track record of successfully negotiating with insurance companies. Do not attempt to go through this alone. If we are unable to reach a favorable settlement, then we are ready to go to trial and obtain a verdict from the jury. Going to trial without an attorney who is aggressive, experienced, and well-prepared is not a good idea.
Finally, we can help you receive damages for the categories previously discussed, which includes money for medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages and future lost wages, pain and suffering, and out of pocket expenses and loss of consortium, assuming they apply. We have the resources to help you during this time of need.
Feel free to call us for a free consultation.