Slip-and-fall liability cases against businesses in New Jersey are often complex. Identifying the cause of the accident and determining whether the company is liable are often the focus of the case. However, even after it becomes evident to the judge or jury that negligence was the cause, many factors may still affect the size of the award.
A recent jury award reported in Property Casualty 360 included the following damages: past and future lost wages, past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of services. It took the jury four and a half days to reach the verdict in the lawsuit. The lawsuit claimed the plaintiff slipped due to a puddle on the floor caused by a broken water pipe and damaged her knee, hip, shoulder, ankle and back. She required both knee and ankle surgery and was unable to continue working as a bus driver.
Although the jury was unanimous in its finding of negligence, the members did not find the company 100% at fault. Instead, the panel apportioned 65% of the fault to the company and 20% to the manager of the store. The jury determined that the victim was 15% at fault for the accident. The original award of $1 million was therefore reduced by that percentage, to $850,000.
Noneconomic damages, apportionment of fault and other seemingly nebulous legal decisions made by judges and juries can make it difficult to predict the amount a plaintiff may receive. Many people seek the advice and representation of a premises liability attorney to help them determine how much they should request when filing a lawsuit.