Although the majority of slip and fall claims involve falls on the same level, elevated falls tend to result in the most serious injuries. If you've been injured in a slip and fall accident involving an elevated fall, it's vital that you understand how to protect your right to compensation.
About Elevated Falls
Elevated falls can take a number of forms. For example:
- Falls down a flight of stairs
- Falls from a deck
- Falls from a balcony
- Falls from a ladder
- Falls from trucks, ladders, or other equipment
Type of Injuries Associated With Elevated Falls
Broken bones are typical injuries that occur in an elevated slip and fall accident. Fractures may occur in the ankles, legs, or pelvis, but they can also occur in the wrist or arm if the victim instinctively attempts to brace himself for the fall. In some cases, multiple breaks can occur.
Head injuries become a serious concern when a fall occurs at an elevated level. The most minor form of head injury would be a concussion, but a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in permanent physical or cognitive disabilities requiring around-the-clock care.
Spinal cord injuries below the neck can result in paraplegia, while spinal cord injuries above the neck cause quadriplegia. Complications of paralysis can include difficulty regulating blood pressure, inability to control bladder or bowels, sexual dysfunction, inability to breathe without a ventilator, and chronic pain. Depending on the height of the fall, this type of accident could result in a fatality.
Types of Compensation
A slip and fall claim can include compensation for:
- Medical care, including emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, surgery, and physical therapy
- Anticipated future medical needs due to a disability such as wheelchairs and other assistive devices or nursing care
- Lost wages from the time you were recovering from injuries
- Loss of future earning potential due to a disabling injury
- Pain and suffering
It's vital that you wait for maximum medical improvement before settling your slip and fall claim. This is the point at which you've either healed completely or your condition has stabilized enough that the doctor can reasonably predict your future medical needs.
Claims for future medical expenses and loss of future earning potential will need to be supported by expert testimony. Medical experts can describe your condition, while life care planning experts can estimate the cost of your future care given current healthcare inflation rates. Vocational experts can testify as to your ability to return to work, while economic loss experts can quantify the value of your lost wages.
A wrongful death claim for a slip and fall accident that results in a fatality can be filed by the deceased person's surviving family. This claim can include compensation for:
- Medical expenses up to the time of death
- Lost future wages
- Pain and suffering, if the death was not immediate
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of the deceased person's care and companionship
How Fault Affects Compensation
Although property owners or managers have a responsibility to provide safe conditions for visitors and guests, this does not mean they are automatically liable for the accident. In some cases, the slip and fall victim is found at fault.
In injuries involving elevated falls, drugs or alcohol may be involved. This would make the victim at least partially responsible for his injuries. Ignoring posted warning signs or engaging in horseplay would also be considered examples of partial fault.
Someone who is partially at fault can still receive compensation for slip and fall injuries, but the settlement is proportionally reduced by the assigned percentage of fault.
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
Minor slip and fall claims that are uncontested may be settled without an attorney, but you should certainly seek legal representation for a slip and fall case involving permanently disabling injuries or a wrongful death.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team can advocate for your interests throughout the process of resolving your claim. This includes gathering evidence of liability, locating experts to testify about your accident-related damages, and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.