Clients sometimes wonder how much their case is worth when they visit an attorney to discuss their case. Sometimes an attorney can give you a “ballpark figure,” and sometimes they can’t. Using a “formula” to calculate damages isn’t always accurate, because every slip and fall accident case is different.
So how IS the settlement calculated for a slip and fall accident in West Virginia? Far from a specific “formula,” it’s really a number of different factors that combine to produce a composite figure.
Discovering The Damages
The amount of damages you receive will depend on the severity of your slip and fall accident. Did you experience bruising and embarrassment, or did you end up with broken bones, soft tissue damage, a concussion and/or other serious injuries? How badly were you incapacitated? Were you disabled as a result of your fall? These are all factors taken into consideration.
Your expenses will also be used to calculate a settlement, such as:
- Medical expenses, past and future
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage related to the accident
Additionally, you may receive punitive damages in a lawsuit, awarded to deter similar harmful negligent conduct like the conduct that caused your injuries. These damages are in addition to the expenses, property damage and pain/suffering damages already awarded.
Were You Responsible for the Slip and Fall Accident?
If you do file a lawsuit over your injuries, you can be sure that the other party will use the defense that you were at fault, not them.
One factor that can reduce your settlement—possibly significantly—is whether or not you were responsible, all or in part, for your injuries. West Virginia’s comparative negligence rule means that if the other party can prove you were partly responsible, you can be assigned partial responsibility for your injuries, and your personal injury settlement will be reduced by that amount.
The other party’s defense can argue that you:
- Were not paying attention to where you were going, such as talking or texting on your phone
- Were in an area where customers and/or visitors are not supposed to be, such as an employee area
- Bypassed the warning cones and signage that were placed there to keep visitors safe
- Were oblivious to the hazard that should have been obvious to you
So if you were partially responsible for your injuries, and your settlement is $20,000, but you were 25% responsible, your settlement will be reduced to $15,000.
If it’s decided that you were more than 50% at fault for your injuries, you won’t be able to recover any damages from the property owner, or anyone else who might be responsible.
The comparative negligence standard is also used in settlements made out of court, so a strong case against the owner is important to be able to recover damages.
Statute Of Limitations
West Virginia Code section 55-2-12 sets a two-year time limit on nearly all injury cases as a result of negligence. This includes any property damage that occurred during a slip and fall, such as a broken phone.
West Virginia’s two-year statute of limitations means that you must file within two years of the date of the accident. After the statute of limitations ends, your suit will be dismissed.
There are rare cases that the time limit can be “paused.” A West Virginia personal injury attorney can explain this in an appointment.
Call Us Before You Settle Anything
If you settle on your own, or take the first offer, you could be leaving thousands on the table. Don’t risk it–call The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 and schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in a Charleston, WV slip and fall accident settlement. We offer contingency fee arrangements, and there’s no fee if we don’t win your case.