If you slipped on a wet or an oily floor or fell down a crumbling staircase on another person's property and sustained serious injuries, you may be facing both a long recovery period and expensive medical bills. While you may be entitled to file a premises liability claim and pursue compensation for your injuries, many slip and fall accident victims wonder if the potential financial award will be worth the time and emotional toll involved with going through a lawsuit. Because compensation amounts in slip and fall cases are often decided by juries, it can be difficult to determine the exact value of a premises liability claim in advance. However, learning about the factors that commonly play a role in value determinations and securing the representation of a skilled personal injury attorney can help you decide how to proceed.
When trying to figure out the worth of a premises liability case, knowing the value of your medical bills is a good place to start. If it's determined that your claim is valid, you may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical bills related to your injuries. To prove your claim, you need to show that the owner or operator had a legal responsibility to safely maintain the property but failed to do so, and those negligent or careless actions were the direct cause of your slip and fall accident. After the accident, carefully documented medical records, in which your doctor discusses your injuries and treatments, are essential.
However, it's important to note that the amount billed by medical providers is often vastly different from the amount the providers agree to accept as payment. In many cases, the accepted payment amount is much less than the billed amount. Thanks to the California Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc., it's the accepted payment amount rather than the billed amount that's admissible in court.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Potential
If the injuries you sustained in your slip and fall accident caused you to miss work, you may be entitled to financial recovery of the wages you would have received during that period. Tax returns or pay stubs—as well as additional documentation from your employer—can paint a clear picture of the wages you lost as a result of your injuries and the required recovery and rehabilitation period.
Also, if your injuries prevent you from performing the same type of work you did prior to the accident and force you into a lower-paying position, you may be able to pursue damages for that loss of earning potential. This compensation may come in the form of the sum of the difference between what you were earning before and what you're earning now, or it may consist of a lump sum that allows you to train in another field.
Victims often also seek compensation for pain and suffering which, due to the subjectivity of the jury, can be the “wild card” in a slip and fall injury case. Generally, however, juries are more likely to award substantial compensation amounts for pain and suffering to victims who can clearly show that their quality of life has suffered as a result of their injuries.
Additionally, serious injuries often require the treatment of specialists, which may or may not be located in your area. If your injuries force you to travel extensively to obtain treatment, and you can show that similar medical services are unavailable where you live, you may also be able to pursue compensation for travel expenses, such as transportation and lodging costs.
If You Were Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident, Our Attorneys Are Here to Help
If you were injured in a slip and fall premises liability accident, being represented by a knowledgeable personal injury attorney is the best way to ensure that you receive a fair financial award. With law offices in both Victorville and Rancho Cucamonga, the legal team at the Inland Empire Law Group has extensive experience handling premises liability claims and fighting for clients just like you. Contact one of our offices today for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.