While shopping at Big Lots, the last thing you want to happen is to slip, fall and hurt yourself. When the unexpected occurs, knowing your legal rights and the at-fault party’s responsibilities may help you experience peace of mind. Let Cellino Law evaluate your slip-and-fall case, help you understand which compensation to seek and gather evidence that shows Big Lot’s responsibility for your injuries.
Premises Liability in Slip-and-Fall Accidents
In a personal injury case like a slip-and-fall accident, injury victims must remember the legal concept of premises liability. To win your case, you and your legal team must prove Big Lots and its employees showed negligence in their responsibility to maintain the property and ensure customers do not experience avoidable harm while on the premises.
With personal injury cases, victims must go beyond showing proof they experienced harm on another’s property because that does not mean the property owner showed negligence. Also, even if hazardous conditions exist on Big Lots’ property, that does not mean the store owner and employees did not fulfill their duties to keep customers safe. To stand a solid chance of recovering damages, you must provide proof the store owner should have known or knew about the dangerous condition that contributed to your slip and fall and did nothing about it.
Common Conditions That Lead to Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Different premises liability cases involve different conditions that lead to a person becoming injured. Common conditions that trigger slip-and-fall accidents include:
- Broken or loose sidewalks, floors, stairs or steps
- Staircases in need of repair or maintenance
- Ice and snow buildup
- Unsecured carpets or rugs
- Oily and wet floors
Other than knowing how accidents happen, another reason to familiarize yourself with common conditions that cause slips and falls is so you have a better idea of the injuries you may suffer after your tumble.
Deciding Whom To Sue in Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Personal injury cases may involve multiple responsible parties. For a slip-and-fall accident in Big Lots, you could sue either the property owner or store owner. If a structural defect or issue caused your injury, you may have a case against the property owner or landlord. Something like a water leak qualifies as a structural issue for the landlord to remedy.
You could have a legal claim against the store owner if you endured harm because of the owner’s action or inaction. For example, if an employee mopped the floor but did not put up a sign and you slipped, fell and hurt yourself, that falls into the store owner’s realm of responsibility.
Damages in Slip-and-Fall Accidents
If you think you have a valid case against Big Lots, you could wonder how much time and effort to invest in building your case and pursuing the at-fault party. Determining your case’s value gives you an idea of how much you stand to recover in legal compensation if you win. Personal injury cases involve damages such as pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity and incidental expenses.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages account for the physical and mental pain and suffering slip-and-fall accident victims endure. Physical pain and suffering are the physical agonies caused by your injuries. Legal compensation accounts for the pain and suffering experienced currently and future physical discomfort.
Mental pain and suffering are the psychological effects of a personal injury. Examples include loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, emotional distress, anxiety, fear and anger. Essentially, any negative emotional reaction experienced after a personal injury may qualify as mental pain and suffering.
The way courts calculate pain and suffering damages is by using the plaintiff’s medical bills. Your legal team may also use multipliers. For instance, if you fell and broke your leg in several places and walk with a limp for the rest of your life, your pain and suffering damages may be six times the value of your health care bills. Alternatively, if you only sprained your wrist when you fell and make a complete recovery in a few weeks, your pain and suffering compensation could only be .5 times the value of your medical costs.
Thoroughly document all health care costs related to your slip-and-fall injury. Also, work with your medical team or health care facility to estimate your future medical costs, as those factor into your medical bill damages, too. Depending on the state, the number used to calculate a personal injury victim’s medical compensation could be the amount the medical care facility billed you or the amount the facility receives for full payment.
Your injuries could leave you unable to work and make a living. If so, you may receive damages for wages already lost and wages you could lose in the future. You and your legal team may use tax returns or pay stubs to prove how much you earn and the work you missed while recovering. Expect to need a note from your employer noting the amount of work you missed and your current wage or salary.
Loss of Earning Capacity
Not only may you lose wages after a slip-and-fall accident, but you could also experience a loss of earning capacity if you have severe injuries that prevent you from fulfilling the same duties you had before the incident. You could also learn you cannot earn the same wage or salary as you did before the accident. Either way, you could qualify for loss of earning capacity damages.
To stand a better chance of receiving these damages, you may need to work with a vocational rehabilitation specialist or a similar professional to get a complete diagnosis of your harm. You could also need a professional to offer a supportive testimony to strengthen your case and improve your chances of recovering loss of earning capacity compensation.
Something else to keep close track of while you recover is incidental expenses. Examples of these expenses include gas money spent traveling to and from appointments and over-the-counter medication taken to reduce your injury pain. Whatever incidental expenses you seek damages for, you must show a valid connection between them and the harm you suffered.
Negligence in Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Big Lots could claim you bear fault for your injuries, which could reduce your damages. In states that follow pure comparative negligence rules, plaintiffs may recover damages even if they contributed to their injury, but they receive reduced damages calculated for their percentage of fault. For instance, if you have a case worth $100,000 but you bear 30% fault, you only receive $70,000. In states with modified comparative negligence laws, personal injury victims may only receive legal compensation if they bear no more than 50% fault for injuries suffered.
Rather than comparative negligence laws, some states follow contributory negligence rules. In those locations, if a plaintiff holds any percentage of fault, she or he no longer qualifies for damages. Currently, the only states with a comparative negligence system are Maryland, Alabama, Virginia, the District of Columbia and North Carolina.
Contact Us Today
You could have a big slip-and-fall case with Big Lots. To learn more about your legal options and decide your next steps, contact a Cellino Law representative. Our injury lawyers stand ready to protect your rights and address your concerns. Schedule a consultation today by calling 800-555-5555.