A slip and fall accident can leave people with severe injuries, from fractures and spinal injuries to traumatic brain injuries. Older people are usually more at risk, but in the experience of any slip and fall lawyer in New Orleans, anyone can take a bad fall and need medical treatment. When such an unfortunate incident happens, the injured party has the right to seek compensation from the negligent property owner for their economic damages and non-economic damages. A slip and fall attorney at Wright & Gray can analyze your case and explain how much your case is worth.
This is what really worries you – is it worth filing personal injury claims for a slip and fall? Will you be able to recover at least your hospital bills? What are the chances of winning a fair settlement? With the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney, you will be able to recover all the damages you are entitled to receive under Louisiana law.
In this article, we will discuss the elements of a settlement that injury victims may recover from the fault party after a slip and fall accident. We will not disclose any average settlement amount because each case is unique, and there are no standard thresholds or guiding values to use for information purposes. Instead, we encourage you to hire an experienced New Orleans slip and fall lawyer and let them handle your settlement negotiations.
How Do You File a Claim for a Slip and Fall Accident?
Slip and fall accidents are categorized as property liability personal injury cases. The injured party has to prove the following:
- The responsible party owed them a duty of care by making their property safe for visitors
- They failed in this duty by allowing a dangerous condition to exist on their property
- Your slip and fall accident was caused by this dangerous condition
The most common instances of slip and fall accidents that lead to a legal claim are:
- Wet floors in stores, hotels, hospitals, and in common areas of rental properties (the hallway of an apartment complex, for example)
- Icy sidewalks and driveways
- Uneven floors
- Poor lighting resulting in reduced visibility
- Poorly maintained stairs
- Uncovered manholes
One of the most important things that your personal injury lawyer will explain to you is that you must have had a valid, lawful reason to be present at the respective property in order to have a case. Trespassers are usually not protected by personal injury laws, with the exception of children. The “attractive nuisance” principle states that a property owner or administrator is liable for any dangerous condition that may be attractive to children and lead to an accident – for example, an uncovered swimming pool.
What Kind of Injuries Can You Suffer after a Slip and Fall?
Some slip and fall victims walk away only with the fright of the occurrence and a few bruises. Others, however, may suffer severe and catastrophic injuries, such as:
- Spinal cord injury
- Wrist injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
Many people never fully recover from this type of injury – they are left with chronic pain or disabilities. At the same time, the accident injuries remain a constant reminder through flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
All these injuries and impairments will take a toll on the person’s life – both in terms of accumulating debts and inability to earn wages, and in terms of reduced quality of life. An experienced slip and fall attorney in New Orleans will add up all the monetary damages you are entitled to receive and fight to win the maximum compensation on your behalf.
Types of Monetary Damages You May Recover in Louisiana
When you file a personal injury claim for a slip and fall accident, you may recover your monetary losses (economic damages), as well as special damages for pain and suffering. Let us analyze each of these two types of damages in detail:
This category of damages covers all the financial losses you incurred as a result of your slip and fall injuries. They include:
- Hospital bills
- Treatments and other medical costs
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity (if the accident leaves you with a permanent impairment that prevents you from returning to work)
- Rehabilitation, physical therapy, and counseling costs
- Costs with life care (if you need nursing care or assistance with daily life activities)
A skilled slip and fall lawyer in New Orleans will carefully track all your bills, expenses, and losses and calculate the total amount of your economic damages.
Non-economic damages are a form of compensation for pain and suffering. The elements your lawyer will analyze in order to evaluate the emotional impact of the accident on your life are:
- Physical pain (including long term chronic pain)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
How Non-Economic Damages Are Calculated in Louisiana
You may wonder: how does one put a dollar amount on my pain levels, the recurring nightmares and the reduced ability to enjoy life? It is true, this is a very difficult situation. Yet, accident victims deserve compensation, and it has to be expressed as an amount of money.
There are actually three methods of calculating the amount of non-economic damages a person may receive:
1. The Multiplier Method
In this situation, the amount of economic damages is multiplied by a factor between 1 and 5. The resulting amount is the value of the non-economic damages. Several elements influence the value of the multiplier, such as:
- The person’s age
- Whether they are left unable to enjoy usual hobbies and daily activities
- Whether they were left with a disability or deformity
- Whether they experience PTSD and other emotional and mental conditions
For example, if your economic damages are $20,000 and the multiplier factor is 2, your non-economic damages are valued at $40,000.
2. The Per Diem Method
Also known as the daily rate method, this is the most popular way of calculating non-economic damages in the state of Louisiana. In order to calculate the total value, the lawyer will estimate your daily earnings or the daily cost of living. This amount will be multiplied by the number of days your life was affected by the accident.
This number of days is usually calculated between the date of your accident and the date when you complete the physical therapy and the doctors declare that you’ve reached the point of maximum medical improvement.
For instance, if you are earning $200 per day and the accident affected you for 40 days, your non-economic damages are estimated at $8,000.
In some cases, the calculation takes into account months instead of days.
3. The Jurisprudence Method
This method is usually used in a jury verdict at the end of a personal injury lawsuit. The judge will rely on previous cases that are similar to yours – persons who suffered the same type of injuries in similar circumstances. Thus, the judge will award you the same amount of non-economic damages awarded in the previous case.
An experienced slip and fall attorney will compare the results of these three methods and select the one that allows you to receive the largest amount of money.
The Effect of the Comparative Fault Principle on Your Final Settlement Amount
In most of the cases, the insurance adjuster representing the fault party will argue that the accident victim was partly at fault for their injuries, for instance, looking at their phone or a shopping list when they slipped on a wet floor.
Even if it is true, this does not mean that you do not have the right to file an accident claim successfully. The state of Louisiana applies the comparative fault principle in personal injury law. This means that your percentage of fault will be calculated and your final settlement amount will be reduced by this percentage of fault. By contrast to other states, where you are eligible to recover damages only if you were less than 50% at fault for your accident, this threshold is not applicable in Louisiana.
For instance, your economic and non-economic losses are valued at $50,000 and you were found to be 10% at fault for your accident. Thus, $5,000 will be deducted from your settlement amount and you will actually collect $45,000. On the other hand, if you were found to be 90% at fault, you would only collect $5,000.
Why Hire a New Orleans Slip and Fall Lawyer?
Personal injury claims and negotiations are complex and fraught with the risk of being caught in a trap by an insurance adjuster, whose purpose is to reduce your settlement amount as much as possible or even dismiss your claim.
An experienced slip and fall lawyer in New Orleans can see through all these tactics and counteract them successfully. With many cases won in court or during settlement negotiations, the legal team at Wright & Gray is your best ally if you were injured in a slip and fall accident.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so you do not have to worry about paying any upfront fees. We will collect our fees out of the settlement amount we win for you. Don’t waste valuable time, discuss your case with a New Orleans slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible: 888-912-4944!