What is your slip and fall lawsuit worth? Does your case has enough value, once all the hospital, doctor bills, and attorney fees are paid, to make it worth the amount of time and energy you have to devote to the lawsuit? If you consult with an attorney, this is what he or she will try to decide, so it's helpful if you understand that there are several factors involved.
The Liability Of The Defendant
Generally speaking, the owner of the property you fell on has a duty to keep the premises in good condition. If the case were to go to trial, your attorney has to prove that the defendant either:
- caused the dangerous condition that led to your slip and fall,
- knew about the dangerous condition and didn't do anything about it, or
- should have known about the dangerous condition and done something about it, because a "reasonable person" would have known about the problem and fixed it.
If the defendant's defenses are weak (or non-existent) you and your attorney will have to expend less time, energy, and money to prove his or her liability, so your claim's value increases.
Your Liability For The Accident
On the other hand, the more any negligence on your part played into the accident, the lower the value of your claim. In some states, you can be barred from collecting damages if you are even 1% responsible for your fall!
Your attorney is going to take into consideration the laws of your state regarding any liability that you may have when deciding if your claim has value. He or she will ask questions to determine if a judge or jury might decide that you could have been responsible for your own accident, and to what degree.
For example, do you suffer from any medical conditions that could have contributed to your fall, such as dizzy spells? Or, were you not wearing your prescription glasses when you were walking through the store? Things like this could reduce the value of your claim.
The Seriousness Of Your Injury
The more serious your injuries, the more monetary value your claim has. When making an evaluation of your case, your attorney is going to consider several different issues.
- Your Current Medical Bills: It's important to keep track of all of your medical bills after you've been injured because they will be an important factor when determining the value of your claim.
- Your Future Medical Bills: In addition to bills you've already received, it may be necessary to estimate the cost of future treatments for your injuries, such as projected knee surgery or continued chiropractic care for your back.
- Your Lost Wages: If you missed work because of your slip and fall, you'll probably be able to recover for all of those wages even if you took sick leave or paid time off in order to have an income while you weren't working.
- Loss Of Future Wages: If your injuries are severe enough, you may not be able to continue working for a while, or you might not be able to return to the same job that you had before. Your lawsuit may ask for money to pay you for what you would have earned, if you were capable of continuing to work.
Pain And Suffering
Probably the most difficult thing to calculate in any slip and fall injury is what value to place on your pain and suffering. If you tore ligaments in your knee during the fall, have had several surgeries, and have permanent scars and chronic pain, your pain and suffering is considerable. If you had some swelling and soft tissue damage that's healed without surgery or scar tissue, your pain and suffering will count for less.
Your attorney may start with a figure roughly equal to your known economic damages (lost wages and medical bills) and multiply that amount by a number between 1.5 and 5. Only the most severe injuries will merit a 5. Generally speaking, the stronger your case, the higher the multiplier that your attorney is likely to use.
By understanding how an attorney will start to assign value to your claim, you will be able to help him or her with the process. Make sure that you take records of your medical bills, lost income, and any other expenses with you, so that they can be used during the early evaluation. Never assume that your claim isn't worth pursuing until you've talked with an attorney about the specifics of your case - it may have more value than you realize, simply because the process of assigning value is complicated. For more information, check out sites like http://www.putnamlieb.com.Share