A slip-and-fall accident can cause severe injuries that can limit your ability to work, enjoy life, and spend meaningful time with your family. Traumatic injuries from a fall can also be exorbitantly expensive, with medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, and prescription costs easily exceeding what most people can afford to pay. So, if you have been injured on someone else’s property, seeking just compensation could be critical to your short-term and long-term wellbeing.
But, how do you know if filing a claim is worth it? In other words, how much can you expect to recover for your injuries?
Step 1: Establishing Fault for Your Slip and Fall Accident
In order to determine how much you are entitled to recover for a slip and fall accident, the first step is to determine who was at fault. The reason for this is that premises liability claims are based on the law of negligence, and negligence law requires proof of fault in order to justify a claim for financial compensation. If you were injured in a “freak” accident (e.g., you were struck by lightning), the simple fact that you were on someone else’s property does not mean that you can file a claim against the property owner. On the other hand, if you were injured due to any of the following, you may have a negligence-based claim for financial recovery:
- Untreated sidewalk, parking lot, or roadway in winter weather
- Slippery indoor floors
- Inadequate lighting
- Inadequate pool safety
- Unsafe stairs
- Unsafe elevator or escalator
- Worn carpet, cracked tiles or sidewalk, or any other condition of disrepair
When seeking financial compensation, it is necessary to examine whether your own negligence played a role in the accident as well. While there is often nothing that someone can do to avoid slipping and falling, insurance companies will routinely try to blame accident victims for their own injuries. If the evidence indicates that you were partially at fault for your own fall, then the law of “comparative negligence” may reduce the amount you are entitled to recover.
Step 2: Calculating the Financial Cost of Your Injuries
Once you establish fault, then you can move on to the step of calculating the financial cost of your injuries. This includes current and future costs, and it includes direct, out-of-pocket expenses as well as the inability to earn an income. In a typical case, a slip-and-fall accident victim will be able to seek financial compensation for:
- Medical bills (including the cost of future treatments and surgeries)
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy bills
- Prescription costs
- Other out-of-pocket costs (such as gas to get to the doctor’s office, bandages, crutches, and any other injury-related expenses)
- Loss of income and benefits (for any time you miss from work due to your injuries)
- Loss of future earning capacity (if you will be unable to work, or you will only be able to work by taking a lower-paying job, as the result of a long-term or permanent disability)
You can only recover these losses to the extent that they are the result of your slip-and-fall accident. A premises liability claim is not a blank check to have all of your medical expenses covered. In order to recover lost income and lost future earning capacity, you will need a doctor to determine that you are unable (or that it is unsafe) for you to perform your job duties.
Step 3: Calculating Your Current and Future Non-Financial Losses
If you are entitled to compensation for your financial losses, then under New Jersey law, you can seek compensation for your non-financial losses as well. There are a few different ways to calculate financial compensation for non-financial losses, such as determining a per diem (or daily) rate of compensation or applying a multiplier to your financial losses. In slip-and-fall cases involving severe traumatic injuries, non-financial losses that can be recovered include:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of companionship, services, and support
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Regardless of the amount you are entitled to recover, when seeking financial compensation for a slip-and-fall accident, it is important to seek both medical and legal help as soon as possible. Our lawyers are available 24/7, and we can take action immediately if necessary in order to protect your claim for financial compensation.
Request a Free Initial Consultation about Your New Jersey Slip-and-Fall Accident Claim
While premises liability incidents may not be as dramatic or as noticeable as auto or airplane accidents, injuries sustained on another’s property can still result in life-threatening conditions that have long-term effects on both the injured party and his or her family. To find out if you are entitled to financial compensation for a slip-and-fall accident in New Jersey, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with our premises liability attorneys at one of our four office locations in southern New Jersey (Northfield/Atlantic City area, Cape May Court House, Cherry Hill, and Hamilton/Trenton area).
The respected attorneys in Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo’s Personal Injury Department know how best to address the challenges and frustrations often encountered in litigated matters such as those involving slip and fall accidents. With exceptional legal experience, firm attorneys Susan Petro, Rich Gaeckle, and Mike Veneziani will work hard on your behalf, fighting for full and fair compensation in every case they handle. The Personal Injury team has successfully handled thousands of personal injury cases for clients throughout Southern New Jersey, and is here to assist you when you need legal representation.
The time is limited to pursue a claim in New Jersey, so it is important that you file your premise liability lawsuit within the statute of limitations. For a free consultation, call 888-675-7607 to reach our main office in Northfield, or send us your contact information and we will be in touch shortly. At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we take your personal injury personally.