What are the Factors that Influence the Size of a Settlement in a Slip and Fall or Premises Liability Case?
The variables that have the biggest influence on the size of a settlement in premises liability cases are:
· The severity of the injuries
· The financial and emotional impacts on the victim, as well as the extent to which the injury will impact the person’s life
· Whether or not the negligence is deemed to be particularly heinous or malicious
Punitive damages, which are intended to act as a deterrent to dissuade the negligent party from acting in the same manner in the future, are relatively rare in premises liability cases. Punitive damages are common in things like drunk driving injury cases, where the driver’s negligence goes beyond just running a red light or speeding. The drunk driver chose to get behind the wheel and knew they were putting other drivers on the road in danger.
Those situations aren’t very common in premises liability cases, but punitive damages are sometimes applicable if the property owner knew about a danger and chose not to fix it or lied about it previously. For example, if a landlord knew about asbestos, lead paint or black mold in a rental property, did nothing to fix it and then rented that property out to tenants, the plaintiff could potentially seek punitive damages.
Compensatory Damages Can Vary Dramatically
There’s a huge difference between:
1. Someone breaking a leg in a slip and fall in a parking lot
2. A person becoming disabled after the balcony they were standing on collapses
The broken leg may require numerous hospital visits, rehabilitation and even potentially surgery, but in many cases, the injured person will make a full recovery. They may lose out on wages for a matter of weeks or months, but the plaintiff will eventually be able to return to work and the injury likely won’t affect their future earnings potential.
A personal who is permanently disabled due to negligent upkeep or construction on a property may end up requiring full-time nursing care for the remainder of their life. They may have to completely modify their home’s hallways, doors and bathrooms to accommodate a wheelchair, purchase a van with a lift and specialized controls and spend tens of thousands of dollars on mobility equipment.
The disabled person may never be able to return to their job again, which means the plaintiff’s attorneys need to seek not only lost wages for the rest of injured person’s working life but also the value of potential career advancements and future earning potential.
There are also pain and suffering damages and in some cases loss of consortium damages to consider.
· If the person disabled in the balcony collapse was an avid bicyclists or rock climber, they will never again be able to enjoy that important aspect of their life
· If they have kids, they may never again be able to play catch with them, go fishing or take them on backpacking trips
· If they have a spouse, they may not be able to provide intimate comfort, help with household chores or contribute as much to parenting
Not only are the medical costs much higher for severe injuries that result in long-term or permanent damage, but the emotional costs and pain and suffering will also be profoundly more severe.
Those types of intangible damages can be hard to calculate, which is why it’s important to work with a premises liability attorney who understands how to estimate those types of damages.
Get Help with Your Slip and Fall or Premises Liability Case
The simple answer to our original question is no – there’s nothing unique about a slip and fall injury or premises liability injury that makes either carry more weight. What really matters are the costs of those injuries and the impact they have on the victim’s life.
Even seemingly minor injuries may end up costing you and your family a lot, which is why it’s important to work with Atlanta personal injury attorneys who take your case seriously, even if your slip and fall injuries may seem minor.
At the Dressie Law Firm, we treat each client with the respect they deserve. We know how inconvenient and painful these situations can be for families, and how far reaching the consequences can be for your life. Our team aggressively fights for the compensation Atlanta-area residents need after they’ve been injured on someone else’s property.
Call us at 770-756-6333 for a free, no-obligation consultation and find out how we would approach your case.