After an accident, you may wonder, “what is my slip and fall injury worth?” Many factors can affect the value of a slip and fall injury claim. Slip and fall cases are usually governed by premises liability law, but sometimes product liability comes into play as well. The number of defendants in your case, the severity of your injuries, and the available sources of financial recovery will impact how much your slip and fall injury case is worth.
What Is My Slip and Fall Injury Worth?
No premises liability attorney can guarantee how much you will recover in a slip and fall injury case. An experienced injury lawyer who has handled similar cases in the past, however, can provide you with a fairly accurate estimate of the money damages you can recover. To determine how much your slip and fall injury is worth, the attorney will consider the amount of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. He or she will also take a look at available insurance policies and the coverages provided. If more than one party can be held liable for your losses, the value of your claim may increase.
Proving Liability in a Slip and Fall Case
To win your slip and fall case under premises liability, Nevada Law requires you to prove the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence, i.e., 51%. First, you must prove the negligent party owed you a duty of care. This duty may have been owed by a property owner, business, manager, or tenant who was responsible for maintaining safe conditions. Second, you must prove that a hazardous condition was present on the property and that the defendant knew about, or should have known, the danger existed. Third, you must prove that the hazardous condition caused your injury. Finally, you must prove that you suffered substantial losses (medical bills, lost time from work, pain, and suffering).
Property owners and managers have a legal duty to keep their property safe or to warn people of known hazards. Placing a wet floor sign around a fresh spill is an example of fulfilling the duty to warn. The property owner’s knowledge of the hazard is usually the most difficult element to prove. You can prove the knowledge element if you obtain evidence, such as witness statements showing the owner knew of the hazardous condition and failed to provide a warning or repair the condition. You can also prove the knowledge element if you obtain evidence demonstrating the property owner created the hazardous condition.
A property owner or manager might not be liable for your injuries if he or she had no knowledge of the hazardous condition. A property owner could not remedy a hazard if he or she were unaware that it existed. If you cannot prove that the property owner had actual knowledge of the condition that caused you harm, you can still prove the defendant had constructive knowledge. Constructive knowledge represents the knowledge that a negligent party should reasonably have had. For example, it may be easier to prove a property owner should have known about a large hole than a small crack.
Your attorney may use evidence such as maintenance records, surveillance footage, photographs of the hazardous condition, and eyewitness testimony to demonstrate that the property owner had knowledge of the hazardous condition and failed to provide a warning or repair the hazardous condition.
Obstacles Your Injury Lawyer May Encounter in a Slip and Fall Case
Property owners may use several defenses when faced with slip and fall lawsuits. Their attorneys frequently argue that the owners or managers lacked notice of the hazardous condition and therefore are not legally liable. In many cases, if a victim claims that the property owner had constructive knowledge of the danger due to its notorious nature, a defendant will likely argue that the victim’s claim is barred based on the open and obvious doctrine. This doctrine is related to comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence is a legal defense that may reduce the value of a personal injury victim’s claim or completely bar the claim. Nevada uses modified comparative negligence in personal injury cases. Under Nevada Law, you are precluded from recovering money damages if a judge or jury determines that you were more than 50% at fault. Similarly, if you are 50% or less at fault, any award you obtain is reduced in proportion to your level of fault. For example, if a jury awards you $10,000 but determines you were 40% at fault, you only receive $6,000.
When used in conjunction with the open and obvious doctrine, property owners frequently argue slip and fall victims are barred from recovering compensation because their level of negligence exceeds 50%. Defendants often assert this defense by arguing that slip and fall victims failed to observe their surroundings. They may claim that slip and fall victims should have seen and avoided the hazardous condition due to its notorious nature. Property owners and managers are permitted to raise this argument because slip and fall victims have a legal duty to use reasonable care when navigating their surroundings. Defendants frequently argue that slip and fall victims are legally obligated to watch where they walk and avoid hazardous conditions.
Defendants also frequently attack the causation elements required in slip and fall injury claims. They may claim that the victim’s injuries are not related to the fall and instead are due to pre-existing health conditions or other causes. Your slip and fall injury attorney may use expert testimony, your medical records, or accident reconstruction specialists to prove that the hazardous condition that caused your fall resulted in your injuries.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive in a Slip and Fall Case?
One of the most important factors that impact how much your slip and fall injury is worth is your losses. Under Nevada law, you are entitled to claim economical and non-economic damages in a slip and fall claim or lawsuit. Your economic damages are the financial losses you suffered as a result of your fall and injuries.
You can claim economic damages for the cost of any emergency medical treatment, hospital stays, doctor visits, surgery, physical therapy, lab work, x-rays, CT scans, and prescription drugs. In addition to your initial medical expenses, you can recover compensation for the cost of your future medical treatment. If your injuries prevented you from working, you could also claim your lost wages as part of your economic damages.
Similar to medical expenses, if your injuries rendered you unable to work permanently, you could claim your future lost wages as part of your economic damages. If your injuries affected your ability to work but did not cause you to lose your job, you can also claim your reduced earning capacity as part of your economic damages.
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for those losses which do not have an exact dollar value. You can seek financial compensation for the pain and suffering you endured as a result of your injuries. The value of your physical pain depends on the severity and type of your injury. For example, an injury featuring a broken bone that requires surgery is considered more painful than an injury featuring a bruised limb. With regard to suffering, you can seek financial compensation for the mental trauma you experienced due to your fall. You can also seek financial compensation if your injuries caused you to suffer any permanent injuries. Similar to the pain, your level of suffering depends on the severity and type of your physical injury.
Common Causes of Slip and Falls in Las Vegas
The Las Vegas economy is heavily reliant on hotels and casinos. As these venues feature heavy foot traffic, slip and fall accidents occur with alarming regularity. People who enter hotels and casinos are considered “invitees” and are therefore owed the highest duty of care by hotels and casinos. If you were injured in a casino due to a fall, the casino was legally obligated to conduct regular inspections and make the premises safe. Common causes of slip and falls in hotels and casinos include:
- Wet floors
- Frayed or uneven carpeting
- Cracks or holes in the pavement surrounding the hotel
- Cracks or holes in the interior floor of the hotel
- Defective recreational equipment and furnishings
- Trash, food, or other debris
Common Types of Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall accident injuries range from minor to severe. In many cases, victims who fall will suffer bruises or scrapes that do not require medical treatment or time away from work. Victims who aren’t so lucky, however, may suffer deep lacerations, penetration wounds, broken bones, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or even death.
Severe slip and fall injuries may require ongoing medical treatment or multiple surgeries. Victims who suffer permanent injuries often have to make expensive modifications to their homes or vehicles, purchase costly medical equipment, or pay for in-home nursing care.
Do You Need a Slip and Fall Injury Attorney to File a Lawsuit?
You are not required to hire a slip and fall injury attorney to file a lawsuit in Nevada, but handling your case alone is not recommended. Hiring a slip and fall lawyer in Las Vegas could increase your financial recovery. In fact, statistics indicate that victims who hire injury lawyers win approximately three times more than those who handle their own claims and lawsuits.
Your attorney will investigate the scene to determine what caused your fall. He or she will obtain evidence to help you prove the defendant’s negligence. Your slip and fall lawyer will also have resources to help you find the right doctor after a Las Vegas personal injury.
Additionally, your attorney can retain medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, and investigators for your case. These witnesses can provide testimony regarding the severity of your injuries, what caused them, and your prognosis. If your slip and fall injury case go to trial, your accident attorney can go up against the defendant’s lawyers to win in court.