Even the smallest slip can lead to permanent injury and disability, so it's absolutely necessary to take special care when deciding how much compensation to request during your slip and fall case. By requesting too little or setting an unfairly high expectation for the settlement, you're setting yourself up for disappointment and possibly financial hardship in the future. Experienced personal injury lawyers consider all of the following facts when suggesting a certain settlement amount after reviewing the details of the case.
Two Main Considerations
In general, the types of compensation that add up to the total settlement amount are split into two main categories. Some of the settlement is designed to cover the direct costs you've incurred due to the injury and expected costs in the future. Aside from hard costs like medical bills and assistive equipment, you can also sue for pain and suffering from both the past and the future. Pain and suffering claims can include mental effects like anxiety and depression, loss of companionship if a person passed away in the fall and the case involves their spouse or children, and loss of potential income due to disability. It's essential to categorize each individual part of a settlement claim to make sure there's sufficient evidence for all requests, not just some of them.
Aside from the money you can receive to compensate you for your pain and expenses, there are further special damages that can increase the total amount you receive. For example, some cases involve punitive damages brought against the company or individual serving as the defendant. The court may choose to award an extra amount on top of the settlement requested by the plaintiff in order to make a statement or set an example. Other common types of special damages found in slip and fall cases include:
Power of Precedence
Decisions made in your regional court circuit may also affect what you can reasonably request during your slip and fall case. Of course, very influential national cases can also affect how the judge decides in your case depending on the amount of media coverage. Your lawyer can request information through a legal research service and present the average settlement amounts from similar cases in your area to help make a case for the validity of your settlement claim.
Per Diem Difficulties
In cases where permanent injuries and disabilities are involved, settlement calculations are based on long-term disruption of income and medical needs. However, many cases only involve injuries that take a few months or years to heal instead. You can try using a per diem method to calculate the daily rate of pain and income loss during your recovery, but you'll need a lawyer's help to verify your math. It's essential to prove the various costs over the span of time you're covering, or you could get only a percentage of what you expected after using the per diem calculation.
No matter how you choose to calculate your settlement amount, make sure you get multiple opinions from medical professionals. Ask your primary doctors to make estimates of what your treatment will cost over time, then look for second opinions to double-check that you're getting an accurate quote. Showing up with plenty of professional evidence of the true impact of your injury will increase your chances of getting everything you ask for during your case.
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