Victims of a trip-and-fall incident can incur numerous damages. These may include:
- Loss of work income
- Loss of the ability to work in the future
- Medical and physical therapy bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
What Is Required to Collect Damages?
Trip-and-fall lawsuits can originate from an untimely trip over dangerously bumpy terrain, and the fall resulting from it. Damages from a trip and fall need to involve a legally “cognizable,” substantial injury. Inconvenience, temporary pain, and temporary injuries that heal themselves without medical intervention may not be sufficient to count towards damages.
Special, General, and Punitive Damages
There are two main categories of damages in trip-and-fall cases: special and general.
Special damages are also called “compensatory,” “actual,” or “economic” damages. These are damages that cover calculable economic loss, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and replacement of damaged property. Compensatory damages put the injured party in the position he would have been in but for the accident.
General damages reflect non-calculable losses that the plaintiff has suffered, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, compensation for a shortened life expectancy, loss of the companionship of a family member or loved one, loss of reputation, and more. It is in this area that the jury really has the leverage to award what it feels the plaintiff deserves.
Punitive, or “exemplary” damages, are not often awarded in trip-and-fall cases. Punitive damages punish defendant’s willful or malicious misconduct.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Trip and Fall Case?
If you think you have a claim for a trip and fall, you should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your options.