Updated on May 23, 2019.
Slip-and-falls are some of the most common claims we at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, handle when it comes to personal injury law. To win a slip-and-fall case, the plaintiff must prove that he or she suffered an injury due to the negligence of the defendant. Whether the injury was caused by a negligent person or organization, there are several things that must be proven. These include:
- The defendant either owned or controlled the property on which the injury took place.
- The defendant had a responsibility to keep the premises safe.
- The defendant failed to provide proper warning that the area in which the injury occurred was dangerous.
- There were unreasonably dangerous conditions in place that contributed to the injury.
- The plaintiff sustained injuries as a result of the fall.
How Do I Figure Out My Settlement?
When it comes to determining a proper settlement for your injuries, it will largely depend on the unique circumstances of your accident. A slip-and-fall can cause injuries that range from a sprained ankle to lifelong disabilities. It’s important that you take into account the total expenses of all medical treatment for your injury. Additionally, if your injury caused you to miss days of work or lose your job entirely, you should calculate your lost future earning potential and include that in your claim as well.
Generally, as it is with most personal injury cases, slip-and-fall damages fall under two categories:
- Economic damages: these include all your specific damages that have easy-to-calculate dollar amounts, such as medical bills, lost income, etc.
- Non-economic damages: including your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anxiety, and so on.
What Is Comparative Negligence, and How Does It Affect My Case?
Under Colorado law, an important point that must be taken into consideration is whether you had any fault in causing your own injury. In other words, if your injury was partially due to inattention, poor decision-making, or illegal activity on your part, then your damages may be reduced by your percentage of fault. This is known as comparative negligence.
Take the following example. While grocery shopping, you managed to walk by the ice cream aisle and leave all those delicious cartons in their freezers. But in your haste, you forgot you were supposed to be picking up food to make dinner. You pull your shopping list out of your pocket and start doing a check as you walk across the parking lot towards your car. You don’t notice that a small orange cone marks a rather large pothole in the road. The next thing you know, you’re face down in the parking lot with your groceries rolling around and going under cars. Your knee burns, and you think you may have broken your wrist from trying to soften your fall.
Your medical bills and time off work add up to nearly $50,000, and even though you have returned to work, your wrist is killing you. Even worse, your doctor tells you that you tore your ACL and must have surgery. You have a passion for running half marathons, but now, if you’re lucky, it will be several years before you can run your next race. Due to the insurance company dragging its feet, you decided to file a lawsuit. The jury awards you $50,000 in economic damages plus another $50,000 for pain and suffering. But the jury also finds that you were “walking distracted,” and did not notice the orange warning cone. Subsequently, they determine that you were 20% at fault for your injury. Your award of $100,000 will be decreased by your percentage of liability, which in this case is $20,000, so you will be awarded $80,000 total for your injuries.
Thankfully, the jury did not find that you were more than 50% at fault for the accident, because under Colorado law, anyone found to be more than 50% responsible for their own injury will recover nothing.
Get Help From a Colorado Slip-and-Fall Attorney
A slip-and-fall can upend your life. With these medical expenses, lost earnings, and the emotional turmoil of dealing with serious pain, you will want to do whatever you can to make sure there are consequences for those who are responsible. That is where we can help. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, our team is dedicated to helping you receive the compensation you need to get your life back on track. Our experienced Boulder premises liability lawyers will evaluate the unique circumstances of your case and determine a settlement that gives you the freedom to heal. Call our office at (303) 665-2929 for a free consultation.