If a slip and fall case is successful, either because both parties have agreed a settlement out of court or the plaintiff has won at trial, the plaintiff will be entitled to recover damages from the defendant. The law relating to personal injury claims varies widely in the US, so the type of damages that can be claimed will depend on the laws of the particular state.
The plaintiff may be able to claim for a number of costs and losses associated with the accident. These can be grouped into three categories: special damages, general damages and punitive damages.
This type of damages is widely recovered in slip and fall cases as they relate directly to actual losses incurred as a result of the accident. They include medical costs and costs of rehabilitation (e.g. physiotherapy), loss of income because of recovery time taken away from work, pain and suffering arising from the incident and the value of clothes damaged because of the accident. As well as preserving evidence relating to the injury itself it is important to ensure that you retain proof relating to the financial aspects of your claim.
These types of damages are less straightforward to determine than actual losses as they span into the future. General damages can include a future loss of earnings, a loss of amenity, loss of enjoyment of life, inability to carry out household tasks, a loss of competitive advantage and future career opportunities and/or promotion.
These are the least common type of damages. They are substantial damages that are intended to punish the defendant. A plaintiff is unlikely to be able to recover this type of damages unless the defendant's action or inaction was unusually dangerous or showed they had a reckless disregard for the safety of others.
Although each case relates to a similar type of accident the circumstances of each case are as variable as the types of injuries that people sustain as a result of them. Common factors that will play a part in determining the amount of compensation are; where the accident happened, the gravity of the injuries, the defendant's wealth and level of insurance cover, the negligence (if any) of the injured party as well as the attorney's ability in specialist personal injury claims. If the case goes to trial, much will also depend on the sympathy of the jury.
If you have been injured in a slip or fall accident, you will maximize your chances of obtaining the damages you deserve if you speak to a specialist personal injury attorney without delay.