The negligence of property owners/occupiers can cause unexpected and traumatic slip and falls for people going about their regular business. While some victims suffer cuts and bruises, many more experience broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and/or traumatic brain injuries that leave them unable to work and cover their medical bills. Some even die: according to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation, 15% of all workplace deaths in 2020 were caused by slips, trips, and falls.
In a slip and fall case, compensation is meant to restore you to the position you were in before the accident. This means covering your medical bills, paying for lost wages and property damage, and covering any other damages arising from your injuries.
Personal injury claims involve two types of damages:
- Economic Damages: These are quantifiable losses, such as medical bills, lost income, and property damage.
- Noneconomic Damages: These types of damages include pain and suffering, mental trauma, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and other losses that aren’t quantifiable by something like a pay stub or invoice.
Because these variables will differ from one case to the next, there is no standard settlement amount for slip and fall accidents. However, there are certain factors that are taken into account when determining the value of one’s case. In this blog, the team at the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, answers the question “How are slip and fall accidents calculated?”
Nature and Extent of Your Injuries
Your settlement will be largely determined by the nature and extent of your injuries. In some slip and fall accidents, victims sustain minor injuries that heal quickly, such as bruises, cuts, and pulled muscles. Other accidents result in serious injuries like a broken spine or traumatic brain injury that results in permanent impairment. Significant, long-lasting injuries usually result in higher settlements when it comes to calculating damages.
Your Share of Liability
If your accident was entirely the result of another party’s negligence, you are entitled to recover 100% of your damages. However, not all cases are so straightforward. Let’s look at an example.
If you slipped and fell in a spilled drink at a shopping mall while walking and texting, mall management may claim that you should bear some responsibility for the accident. If you receive $50,000 but are found 40% responsible because you weren’t looking where you are going, you will receive $30,000 instead, which represents the mall’s share of fault.
It is important to note that Texas uses a modified form of comparative negligence in personal injury cases. Unlike some states, which allow you to recover compensation even if you are 90% at fault, Texas sets the bar at 50%. Any higher, and your damages are not recoverable.
Effect of Injuries on Your Ability to Work
In the case of slip and fall injuries that result in lost time at work, you may be eligible for compensation for lost income. If you have sustained lasting impairments due to your slip and fall, you may also be entitled to compensation for future loss of earning capacity. Future income loss is calculated based on several factors, including:
- Your expected earnings if the accident had not occurred
- Your prognosis for recovery
- Your ability to transition to a different type of employment
Your Texas personal injury lawyer will review your past pay stubs and consult with your healthcare team when assigning a value to this aspect of your settlement claim.
Anticipated Need for Future Care
With more serious slip and fall injuries, you may need personal support and medical care for the rest of your life. This includes but may not be limited to:
- Medical treatment and prescription medication
- Medical devices such as wheelchairs
- Cost of travel to and from medical appointments
- Rehabilitative care such as physiotherapy, psychological counseling, etc.
- Assistance with personal care, housekeeping, etc.
All reasonable future care expenses must be included in a slip and fall settlement. An experienced Texas slip and fall lawyer will consult with medical and vocational experts to determine what these expenses are likely to be and include them in your settlement demand.
Pain and Suffering Damages
In Texas, there are no ‘official’ pain and suffering calculators that adjusters or juries use when evaluating your claim, but there are some calculation methods that are commonly used.
- Software Programs: There are a number of claims management software packages that insurers use, including Mitchell, Colossus, and the Claim Outcome Advisor. In order to calculate an acceptable settlement range, adjusters enter medical billing codes, injury codes, and other information, but the results are typically a lot lower than you may be entitled to.
- Multiplier Method: The first step in this method, which is used by juries, is to calculate your total economic damages. After that, the jury may multiply the total amount by a certain number, usually between 1.5 and five. Injuries that are worse will result in a higher multiplier.
- Per Diem Method: The calculation method assigns a dollar amount to every day you recover from your injuries. This is the typical amount you receive from your salary on a given day. The amount would be paid for each day until you reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Get a Free Consultation From a Texas Slip and Fall Lawyer
All slip and fall claims are unique, and it takes a slip and fall lawyer with skill and experience to fight for a settlement that reflects all your damages. At the Villarreal & Begum, LAW GUNS, every attorney on our team has years of negotiation and trial experience, and won’t be deterred from their ultimate goal, which is full and fair compensation for you.
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident and would like to know how much your claim is worth, get advice from our experienced personal injury lawyers. We have offices in San Antonio, Austin, Laredo, and McAllen to better serve injured clients. Call our law office today for a free consultation and evaluation of your potential injury claim.
Alex has tried over 50 trials to verdict and tried or settled over five hundred million dollars in cases. Alexander Begum is a founding shareholder of the Villareal & Begum Law Firm. Born and raised in Texas.