A recent slip-and-fall case is bringing attention to the many layers that are present in these legal matters. In this situation, the restaurant admitted fault, but disputed how much damages the victim should be awarded.
What happened in this slip-and-fall case? In this case, a patron was walking to the restroom when she slipped on a greasy patch on the floor and fell, injuring her knee. The slippery patch was the result of a spill when an employee was changing the trash. Since the employee did not clean up the spill, the patron claimed the restaurant was negligent in maintaining the premises.
The restaurant admitted responsibility but took issue with the damage award requested by the victim. As a result, the trial moved forward to determine the amount of damages.
The patron suffered from patella subluxation which resulted in her knee locking and giving out. She sought the cost of medical treatment and lost wages. Due to her injuries she missed approximately 45 days of work. The victim’s treating physician stated that she would likely need continued care and a potential knee replacement. As a result, the victim sought $250,000 to cover future medical costs. Additional awards were requested to cover lost wages, loss of consortium and pain and suffering.
What can victims in similar situations learn from this case? This case provides an example of the importance to look ahead when negotiating a settlement in this type of case. Three specific areas to consider include:
- Future medical expenses. Estimated costs of additional surgeries, physical therapy, medications and medical devices like braces should be taken into consideration when requesting an award amount.
- Lost ability to move forward professionally. In this case, the victim also stated that she would be unable to pursue promotions in her profession because her injury left her unable to meet her job’s travel demands. As a result, the victim requested an additional award to cover lost future earnings.
- Loss of consortium. Due to the victim’s reduced ability to move, her lifestyle became much more sedentary then it had been prior to the accident. She was no longer able to actively play with her five children or to continue her household duties. As a result, her husband requested damages for loss of consortium with his wife.
These are just three of the many areas to consider when negotiating a slip-and-fall award. Due to the complex nature of these cases, it is often wise to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney to help better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.