This is the next post in our series about handling slip and fall cases in Fort Worth, Texas. The previous article discussed the need for expert witnesses when proving both premises liability and a victim’s damages. It also emphasized the importance of engaging an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your interests. Hiring counsel with adequate resources to retain the necessary experts can be an essential part of your case. This article will examine how a victim’s potential damages are determined following an accident. If you have been injured, contact a lawyer today.
A party injured in a slip and fall incident may incur multiple forms of damages. Medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages may be available to the plaintiff depending upon the facts of the specific case. Calculations of each type will likely involve several expert witnesses, including economists, vocational specialists, medical experts or those with specific industry expertise.
A victim whose injuries has resulted in missed work may seek lost wages. Depending upon the extent of the impact, the injured party might also lose future potential earnings. Income already lost may determined fairly easily, however, ascertaining how much income may be lost in the future as a result of the accident is more complicated. The amount is calculated by determining how much money the injured party would have earned if the accident had not occurred and subtracting the likely earnings expected after the injury. For obvious reasons, the use of occupational, financial, and medical experts will be essential for this purpose.
Similar to damages for lost wages, an injured party may be able to recover past and future medical expenses related to the crash. Current bills can be fairly easily quantified, however, depending upon the seriousness of the injuries suffered and the prognosis for recovery, a victim may be anticipating expenses for significant future medical care. For example, if a victim experienced a serious brain injury, experts in the medical field can help identify the need for additional surgeries and the related future costs for therapy or long-term care facilities as needed. It is important to note that a plaintiff may be asked to obtain an independent medical examination (IME) to verify the damage claims.
An injured party may also incur pain and suffering caused by the incident. Pain and suffering includes physical pain, emotional issued, reduced quality of life, or inconvenience. The plaintiff must demonstrate how these problems have negatively impacted his life, such as activities in which he is unable to participate or ongoing physical distress.
Finally, in certain slip and fall cases, a victim may be entitled to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to “punish” a defendant for specific actions. In order to recover this type of damages, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the property owner acted recklessly, wantonly, or intentionally in their failure to protect the injured party from harm. Suppose, for example, a shop owner consciously decides to cut all janitorial staff to save on payroll. The shop owner knows that the failure to mop the floors during each of the three shifts will result in dangerous conditions for his customers and employees alike. It is possible that a court will view the owner’s cost-benefit analysis placing savings over safety, as reckless, therefore justifying an award of punitive damages.
It is important to understand that damage calculations will differ on a case by case basis. If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident in Fort Worth or in other areas of Texas, we recommend contacting a lawyer immediately. The law firm should have the necessary resources to handle your case properly, including retaining expert witnesses on your behalf. We suggest finding a law firm with multiple attorneys who are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.