Can I Recover Money for More Than Just Medical Bills?
By: Jeffrey Shaw, Esq.
Published: August 29, 2019
Yes and Yes. You can collect for more than just medical bills and lost wages under Indiana law. The exact amount is unknown, but Shaw Law Offices is the only Indiana personal injury law firm that shows you an estimate of your case value WHILE the case is pending on your cell phone with the “EasyCase” smartphone app. You can download it at Apple/Google and see an estimate any time you choose.
In Indiana, a jury can award money damages after considering eight (8) separate and distinct categories. Some are easy mathematical calculations; others like pain and suffering are not capable of calculation but are numbers the jury thinks is “fair.”
But first, in order to recover any money damages for a slip and fall or trip and fall incident under Indiana law, the injured person must prove two things:
A hazardous condition on the property caused the fall; and
The defendant had “notice” of the hazard.
These legal concepts can be difficult to pursue on your own.
Finally, you must prove that the fall directly caused your injuries.
If you can prove this concept of “proximate cause” then you can recover money damages. Under Indiana law, you are entitled to more than just medical expenses as a recovery.
In fact, in deciding the amount of money a jury can award, they are required to consider the following 8 categories:
The nature and extent of the injury and the effect of the injury on the plaintiff’s ability to function as a whole person;
Whether the injury is temporary or permanent;
The value of lost time and lost earnings and loss or impairment of earning capacity (in the future);
The physical pain and mental suffering the plaintiff has experienced and will experience in the future as a result of the injury;
The reasonable value of necessary medical care, treatment, and services plaintiff incurred and will incur in the future as a result of the injury;
The aggravation of a pre-existing injury or condition;
The disfigurement and or deformity resulting from the injury;
And the life expectancy of the plaintiff.
Some of these categories require a strict mathematical calculation, e.g., lost wages can be determined by multiplying the days off work by an hourly wage or lost future earnings can be calculated by determining the amount of time to be lost in the future. Similarly, medical expenses can be determined by looking at the amount of the medical bills the plaintiff must pay back (either before or after health insurance payments are made, if any).
But, some of the categories are not capable of being calculated mathematically. For example, the pain and suffering the plaintiff has experienced or will experience in the future is a very subjective figure that isn’t easily assigned a numerical figure.
So, how does a jury determine the amount that would reasonably compensate pain and suffering in a slip and fall case?
Well, witnesses help explain the amount of pain. Plaintiff’s doctors can testify as to the severity of the injury plaintiff experienced and assess the level of pain based upon his education and experience.
Although juries cannot be told of other court cases where pain and suffering verdicts were reached, they can hear Attorney Jeff “JJ” Shaw explain different reasonable methods of determining the amount. Attorney Jeff “JJ” Shaw believes that juries should hear and be guided with real figures as to a variety of methods a jury can use to determine a reasonable amount of compensation for “pain and suffering” or scars (disfigurement) or a permanent injury versus a temporary injury that will heal over time.
Finally, the Judge will instruct the jury that Plaintiff does not have to present evidence of the dollar value of his or her pain, suffering, or mental anguish or deformity or disfigurement. These types of damages need not be proven to a mathematical certainty. The Plaintiff must prove the nature and extent of these types of damages, however. The dollar value, if any, of these damages is left to the jury’s “good judgment.”
Attorney Jeff “JJ” Shaw, who has over 30+ years of premises experience without a single jury verdict loss of any kind in a slip and fall case.
As you can see, when it comes to instructing or helping a jury on determining a fair amount for your slip and fall case, it takes an experienced hand.
Call or Text (877) 225-5742 and hire Attorney Jeff “JJ” Shaw to pursue your case within 10 minutes from the comfort of your own home.