The National Floor Safety Institute reports that slip-and-fall accidents account for over 1 million emergency room visits every year. Most accidents are relatively minor, but 5 percent of fall incidents result in broken bones. Some people may also sustain head injuries with severe long-term consequences.
You might be eligible for damages if you’ve been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident caused by someone else’s negligence. The goal of compensation is to make accident victims whole again by restoring as much as possible of what they have lost.
Monetary damages can relieve the financial burden your accident may have caused. You may also be able to pursue compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured.
Calculating compensation and pursuing a fair settlement in a slip and fall case can be complicated. The slip and fall attorneys at Kiley Law Group have over 40 years of experience in fighting – and winning – these kinds of cases. We’re eager to hear your story and discuss your legal options, and there are no fees to pay until we win your case. Find out if you have a strong case by scheduling a free case evaluation. Call us at (888) 435-1321 or fill in the contact form on our website.
Let’s explore exactly what damages you could receive in a slip and fall case and how a premises liability lawyer can help you pursue them.
Economic – or compensatory – damages provide compensation for the actual financial losses the victim has incurred. If your slip-and-fall accident has caused you any expenses that you would otherwise not have incurred, you may be able to pursue compensation to cover them.
Medical expenses can soon add up in the immediate aftermath of a slip-and-fall accident, including bills for:
- Ambulance services
- Medical imaging
- Medical equipment and supplies
- Therapies and rehabilitation
Try to keep records of all of these expenses which may be used to substantiate your future claim.
Long-term medical care
You may require ongoing medical treatment and care if you have suffered catastrophic injuries in a slip-and-fall accident. Some of these future costs could include:
- Caretaker support
- Adaptations to your home
- Medical devices and supplies
If your accident was not your fault, you should not have to bear the financial burden of these long-term expenses. An experienced slip and fall attorney can investigate the actual cost of the support you need and fight to get you a fair settlement.
Loss of earnings
Serious injuries always result in time away from work. If the effects of your injuries are long-lasting, you may need to change your employment or have to give up work completely.
You may be entitled to pursue damages for:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings or business opportunities
- Loss of bonuses
- Loss of earning capacity
If you can continue working but cannot perform the work you did before your accident, you may be able to seek damages to cover the cost of retraining. Each case is different, and a premises liability lawyer can advise you as to the damages you may claim in your case.
In addition to claiming economic damages, you may also be entitled to pursue compensation for the non-monetary costs you have incurred. In Massachusetts, these are called non-economic or general damages.
Unlike economic damages, it is not possible to calculate the figure you deserve. Instead, calculating the level of damages you can claim relies on the good sense and experience of your legal counsel, or the judge if the case goes to court.
Pain and suffering
All injuries cause pain and suffering, and your lawyer may use your medical evidence to prove how much you have had to endure. In addition, he or she may use:
- Your own testimony, including any journals you have kept, describing your pain
- Testimony from family members, friends, and carers that speak to your suffering
- Photographs of the injury
- Prescriptions for pain relief medication
The more severe and painful your slip and fall injury is, the more damages you may be able to pursue.
Pain and suffering also includes the mental anguish you experienced while recovering from your accident. If the injury results in a permanent disability, your attorney may be able to build a case for a greater level of damages, given the long-term nature of your suffering.
Loss of consortium or parental society
Slip and fall injuries may result in serious, permanent injuries that affect the way a person interacts with his or her family members. Under Massachusetts law, this is covered by loss of consortium and loss of parental society.
A claim for loss of consortium means seeking damages for the loss of your right to the company, companionship, and affection common to a marital relationship. This can include:
- Limitations on social and recreational aspects of life caused by the injury
- Loss of sexual intimacy and/or the ability to have children
- Loss of services provided by the injured spouse
If the case goes to court, the judge may evaluate several factors when deciding on the level of damages to award, if any. This may include how long you were married, how stable the marriage was, and what activities you can no longer participate in together.
A claim for loss of parental society can be made by the injured person’s minor children or disabled adult children. This allows you to seek damages for loss of company, companionship, and affection. A claim can be brought on behalf of a child who was not born at the time of the accident. The law requires that he or she had already been conceived and would have had a parent-child relationship with the injured party.
Interestingly, under Massachusetts law, the injured party is not the only person who can claim for loss of consortium and parental society. The spouse and children of the injured party may make their own claims as long as they can prove the other party’s negligence caused their loss.
Scarring and disfigurement can be a painful, daily reminder of the trauma of your slip-and-fall accident. Although plastic surgery or cosmetic treatments may help, you may be entitled to non-economic damages compensating you for the stress resulting from your disfigurement.
You may also have heard of punitive damages and wonder whether these apply in slip-and-fall cases. Punitive damages serve, in effect, a punishment for the liable party and are designed to discourage them from repeating wrongful acts.
Massachusetts only allows punitive damages in certain cases granted by statute, and this does not currently include slip and fall cases.
Building a Successful Case for Damages
To win a slip and fall case, you must demonstrate that the owner of the property failed to fulfill the duty of care owed toward you. In addition, their negligence must have directly caused your fall and the injuries that resulted from it.
Identifying the liable party
In many cases, the person or business occupying the premises is not the owner. In this case, both parties may share liability for your accident. Usually, occupiers are responsible for keeping the premises safe but must inform the property owner if they are not able to fix hazards themselves.
An experienced slip and fall attorney can help you to decide which party is the best one to pursue for damages.
To demonstrate that the other party, the property owner or occupier, was negligent, you must prove:
- They either caused, knew of, or should have known of the hazard that caused the fall
- They failed to rectify the situation
- This failure caused the injury
- The injury caused economic or non-economic harm or both
Your premises liability lawyer can work with you to gather evidence to back up your claim. This may include:
- Photographic evidence from the accident scene
- Medical records
- Safety records from the business
- Expert testimony
Massachusetts law works on the principle of comparative negligence. This means that, even if you were partly responsible for the accident, you may still be entitled to recover damages for negligence as long as your liability was not greater than 51 percent.
Statute of limitations
In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for slip and fall cases is 3 years. This begins on the day the accident occurs, so don’t delay in seeking legal advice.
Talk to a Slip and Fall Lawyer Today
After a slip-and-fall accident, the last thing you want to do is fight with insurance companies to get a fair settlement. Instead, you need a compassionate, committed lawyer to fight in your corner – a dedicated advocate who can get to the heart of your case, calculate fair compensation, and use Massachusetts law to go after the compensation you deserve.
The slip and fall attorneys of Kiley Law Group are ready to tenaciously fight on your behalf. Our legal team has won over $1 billion for our clients, including individual settlements of over $1 million in premises liability cases.
Take the first step on the road to justice by scheduling a free case evaluation with an experienced slip and fall attorney. Call us at (888) 435-1321 or contact us online today.