Slip and fall accidents can inflict life-changing injuries on victims that require thousands of dollars in medical costs, such as long-term therapies and rehabilitation. Victims can also suffer lost wages from being unable to work, physical pain and suffering, and emotional trauma. Understanding how slip and fall claims are calculated can help you understand what your case could be worth as a victim in New Mexico.
Types of Damages Available
The starting point for calculating a slip and fall accident case’s value is making a list of all compensable losses suffered by the victim. If you were injured in a slip or trip and fall accident, you could be eligible for two types of compensable damages: economic and noneconomic. These are the standard types of damages available to plaintiffs, or claimants, in personal injury lawsuits in Albuquerque.
Economic damages refer to the monetary costs associated with the accident and injury. Noneconomic damages cover the intangible losses experienced by a victim, such as physical pain and psychological trauma. Many types of losses fall under the umbrella of these two categories, including:
- Hospital bills and ongoing medical care
- Losses of income, earning opportunities and future capacity to earn
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement or disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death damages
The specific damages in your injury claim will depend on the circumstances of the incident, such as your injury diagnosis and prognosis for recovery. In general, plaintiffs with severe and catastrophic injuries are entitled to greater compensation than those who suffer minor injuries due to a greater extent of economic and noneconomic harm.
Calculating Economic vs. Noneconomic Damages
Economic damages are calculated using hard numbers, such as bills and receipts, that prove how much the injury cost the victim. The courts will add up all of the financial losses suffered by the victim from the time of the slip and fall accident to the date that the claim was filed. Future estimated costs will also be included in this calculation.
Noneconomic damages are more difficult to calculate, as they do not come with visible evidence. Documentation is often relied upon to prove a victim’s pain and suffering, such as reports from therapists and psychologists and testimony from medical experts. A jury does not have to adhere to a specific rule about calculating noneconomic damages; they can assign any amount deemed appropriate based on the situation.
However, a commonly used equation is the Multiplier Method. This takes the plaintiff’s total amount of economic damages and multiplies it by a number between 1.5 and 5. The number chosen will depend on the gravity of the victim’s injuries and the impact they had on the victim’s life.
Every Case Is Unique
It is important to realize that every slip and fall accident claim is unique. Case values are based on individual factors that vary from case to case, such as the severity of the injuries sustained and the amount of insurance coverage available. Do not estimate your potential case value according to a perceived “average” amount, as what one slip and fall case received may have no bearing on your individual settlement.
The best way to learn how much your case might be worth is by consulting with an Albuquerque slip and fall accident lawyer. For more information about how damages are calculated in a slip and fall accident claim, consult with the attorneys at The Fine Law Firm for a free case review.