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What Compensation Is Available for Slip and Fall Injuries in Los Angeles?

If you were injured in a slip and fall incident on someone else’s property, you may be wondering what types of monetary compensation you might be entitled to recover.

Your case is unique, and the slip and fall compensation amounts available will depend on the types and amounts of loss you incur. A slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles from Salamati Law will work hard to demonstrate that your losses go well beyond medical bills and expenses, and include damages such as lost wages, the cost of occupational and rehabilitative therapy, and pain and suffering.

How Much Do You Get for a Slip and Fall?

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Many slip and fall lawsuits are settled before trial with the settlement amount kept confidential, which makes it difficult to come up with a number for the “average slip and fall compensation.”

Your case, however, is not “average”; after a slip and fall accident, an at-fault party will be liable for the injuries and financial losses that you have personally experienced. Damages that you may be eligible to recover can include:

  • Medical costs and expenses to treat injuries, which can easily run to $50,000 or more
  • Property losses
  • Rehabilitation fees for physical and other therapy to treat injuries
  • Lost wages and reduced job opportunities that are the result of a slip and fall injury
  • Pain and suffering endured during treatment and rehabilitation
  • Loss of companionship and consortium
  • Transportation and other incidental costs incurred while traveling to doctors’ or therapists’ appointments

Insurance companies and the defense lawyers they hire tend to overlook or downplay many of these losses, so it is crucial to have a knowledgeable advocate on your side.

What is the Average Slip and Fall Settlement in California?

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There is no simple, straightforward way to identify California’s average slip and fall settlement. It is understandable to wonder about this, particularly if you are considering a slip and fall lawsuit. Unfortunately, accurate information is not widely available.

It is difficult to come by for several reasons. First, the vast majority of settlement agreements are made outside of the courtroom. In addition, they typically involve non-disclosure agreements that make the specific terms of a settlement private. Therefore, it is impossible to paint a clear picture of the average compensation. Finally, no central data location collects or stores the available public information. Together, these factors make it impossible to get a clear picture of the average value of these settlements.

Moreover, the average value of a slip and fall settlement wouldn’t tell you much. Your injury case could be worth far more or far less than the average settlement, depending n the facts. It is also important to remember that liability will play an essential part in determining the value of your case.

The good news is that our firm can review the facts of your case and advise on what your settlement might be worth. While we don’t promise a specific outcome to your case, we rely on our experience to give you context on what you might expect from a settlement offer or trial verdict.

Can I Sue for Lost Wages After a Slip and Fall Injury?

Under California law, injured parties in a slip and fall accident may sue to recover damages for lost wages, including past income and future lost earnings. It is essential to have abundant evidence of your earnings history. For example, you will need documentation and testimony from your employer of your salary, overtime, commissions, bonuses, vacation days, and other benefits.

Gathering Evidence of Your Lost Income

To determine the amount of lost wages and potential future loss of income, your slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles may consult the following :

  • Request documentation from your employer about your work history.
  • Testimony from medical professionals on the extent of your injuries and how they may affect your ability to work in the future.
  • An economist who can establish salary trends in your field and what you could have expected to earn.
  • People who know you personally can talk about what you were like before the injury, such as your life goals, interests, and hobbies.  

Establishing Proof of Your Income

Your employer can write a letter detailing the income that you’ve lost because of your injuries, which can include the following:

  • Hours typically worked each week
  • Regular hourly rate of pay or salary
  • Overtime rate
  • Usual pay schedule
  • Any other lost perks or benefits (such as a car allowance)
  • 401k or profit-sharing contributions

Not everyone can request an employer letter, such as those who are self-employed. Access to pay stubs, invoices, and your past tax returns may provide alternatives. If you do not retain copies of your federal tax returns, you can request them from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The California Franchise Tax Board may also provide copies of your state tax returns.

Estimating Lost Income & Lost Earning Capacity

Lost income can include wages, bonuses, and other financial benefits you would have received if not for the injury.

Examples include the following:

  • Hourly wages
  • Salaries
  • Overtime pay
  • Commissions
  • Sick days, vacation days, personal days
  • Bonuses, benefits, and perks

California law also allows you to sue for the income you cannot earn in the future due to an accident or injury. This is called lost earning capacity. Proving it can be more challenging. It often requires testimony from a medical or occupational expert to account for raises, bonuses, and career development.

Are Punitive Damages Available in a California Slip and Fall Claim?

Punitive damages will not be available in most California slip and fall lawsuits, but there are exceptions, provided that certain conditions are met. Punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) penalize a negligent party to deter future bad conduct and to set an example for other parties to prevent similar behavior. Because punitive damages are intended to be a punishment, a California court will award them only if a negligent party’s conduct is egregious or if that party willfully or wantonly committed an act that resulted in serious injuries.

When are Punitive Damages Available in a Slip and Fall Case?

If an injured party seeks punitive damages in a slip and fall lawsuit, a California court will generally ask three questions to determine if those damages are warranted:

  • How reprehensible was the defendant’s conduct, i.e., did the defendant demonstrate a conscious disregard for your safety?
  • Is there a significant disparity between the actual or potential harm suffered by the injured party and the amount of a punitive damages award?
  • What is the difference between the punitive damages a jury recommends and the civil penalties courts have imposed in similar cases?

Courts will look closely at the evidence in each slip and fall lawsuit to determine if a punitive damages award is merited. If, for example, the evidence shows that the injured party suffered catastrophic injuries such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, or wrongful death or that the negligent party willfully attempted to destroy evidence of their liability, a court may be more amenable to awarding punitive damages to the slip and fall accident victim or their family.

We have represented accident victims in slip and fall lawsuits where the defendant immediately and intentionally destroyed or attempted to destroy crucial evidence that would have helped the victim’s case. If there is a similar fact pattern in your case, you may be eligible to recover punitive damages.

Proving an Injured Party’s Damages in a Slip and Fall Accident

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To demonstrate the full range of your losses, you should retain all bills from doctors, hospitals, and therapy centers. Keep accurate written records of transportation expenses and physicians’ and therapists’ assessments of pain and discomfort while recovering from your injuries. Pay stubs can be used to show wages that were earned before the accident and that were lost during a period of recuperation.

Damages Caps for California Slip and Fall Cases

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Unlike a handful of states, California does not limit the amount that an injured party may receive in non-economic damages like pain and suffering. This can come as a relief to plaintiffs whose injuries have had a tremendous impact on their lives that is not reflected in the medical bills. Punitive damages are also not capped, though they must not be arbitrary or excessive.

California does cap the amount of non-economic damages that a plaintiff may recover in a medical malpractice case. In those cases, the maximum non-economic damages award is $250,000. This could come into play if, for example, you are injured in a fall and the treating medical professional or hospital commits malpractice in providing you care for the fall.

How the Statute of Limitations Affects Slip and Fall Compensation Amounts

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Under the statute of limitations, an injured person generally has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Most personal injury cases are resolved by a voluntary settlement, but this statute of limitations is still important because if you fail to file your lawsuit on time, the defendant will no longer be liable for your slip and fall damages.

There may be special situations in which the statute of limitations is put on hold. For example, if the injured person is under 18 years old, the statute will not begin to run right away. It is important to speak with a lawyer about any special circumstances that may affect the running of the statute of limitations because the laws are technical and the penalty for missing the statute – a complete bar of your case – is big.

Slip and Fall Lawsuit Payouts and Comparative Negligence

Under California’s comparative negligence doctrine, the slip and fall compensation that an injured party can recover will be reduced in proportion to that party’s own level of fault for the accident. Negligent parties and their insurers might argue, for example, that the claimant was not paying attention to obvious risks, or was wearing inappropriate shoes for the expected conditions.

Even with cases that do not head to trial, comparative negligence impacts slip and fall settlements. Insurance adjusters leverage any indication of a claimants’ fault to reduce the company’s payout, but an experienced attorney can fight to make sure the injuries and liability are evaluated fairly.

Discuss Compensation for Your Slip and Fall Injuries With Salamati Law

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Individuals who suffer slip and fall injuries in southern California should discuss their claim with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney from Salamati Law to gain a better understanding of the scope of damages they might be able to recover. Our team is dedicated to representing those who have been harmed by someone else’s negligence and we are ready and willing to take on the insurance companies they have on their side.

There is no time to waste after an accident; some types of injuries, including brain trauma and soft tissue damage, might not be apparent in the immediate aftermath of a slip and fall accident, but a medical evaluation as soon as possible can improve your recovery and help document your claim. Taking quick action can put you in the best position to recover the full range of your damages. Salamati Law has resources to guide you through this crucial time.

Call today for a free case review. There is no obligation and all consultations are confidential.

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We are committed to negotiate your case aggressively, strategically and creatively. Personal injury lawsuits are retained on a contingency fee agreement, and plaintiffs will pay no legal fees unless the firm is able to recover damages on your behalf.

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