As Philadelphia, PA personal injury lawyers who help many slip and fall accident victims, we have seen various types of slip and fall accidents. In the winter, pedestrians may fall on an icy sidewalk in front of a store in Center City, Philadelphia. In the summer, a pedestrian may trip over a broken sidewalk and fall in a suburban neighborhood in Montgomery County. Other fall accidents include patrons or customers falling down stairs at public establishments, such as a restaurant, or customers slipping on spilled water in a grocery store.
One of the top questions injured slip, trip and fall victims have is what they can financially recover. Are there different types of compensation for different types of fall accidents in PA? This article will answer this common question.
Regardless of the type of slip, trip and fall accident, the types of financial compensation injured individuals may recover are the same.
Injured individuals often need medical treatment, and they may recover their medical expenses from liable parties. This includes reasonably necessary future medical expenses. For instance, a pedestrian falls down a flight of stairs due to a broken step at a Philadelphia hotel and breaks her ankle. As a result, she has surgery and needs hardware to be placed in the ankle joint. She is told that she will need future surgery to remove or replace the hardware. In such a case, her future medical expenses may be part of her medical expense damage claim.
Out of Pocket Expenses
Other than medical expenses, injured individuals may incur non-medical expenses. For instance, a pedestrian who fractures his ankle in a fall accident may not be able to mow his lawn for a period of time. Therefore, he needs to hire a landscaping company to cut his grass. What he pays the landscaping company is an out of pocket expense he incurred because of his fall accident. Another example of out of pocket expenses may be taxi fare. An injured pedestrian may have fractured his right leg and is unable to drive. Therefore, he needs to take a taxi to get around, such as going to work.
It is common that slip and fall accident victims may be unable to work for a period of time due to their injuries. A clothing store sales associate who is required to be on his feet cannot work if he breaks his ankle and requires surgery. He may need several weeks after the surgery to be able to bear weight on his ankle. Because he missed several weeks of work, he can then recover his lost wages as a result of his injuries.
Pain and Suffering
The last type of financial compensation Philadelphia slip and fall accident victims may receive is pain and suffering damages. Unlike medical expenses, out of pocket expenses and lost wages, pain and suffering damages are not as easily calculated. Pain and suffering damage is different for everyone, and there is no set formula to calculate pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damage depends on various factors, such as the individual’s age, how well the individual recovers, how the injuries affect the individual’s work, home life, etc. Two individuals with the same injury may have different pain and suffering damages.
For instance, a woman in her 20s falls down a flight of stairs inside a hotel lobby in Philadelphia and fractures her hip. As a result, she needs to get hip surgery. Her surgery goes well, and she begins physical therapy. The woman is able to return to work and her daily life after 8 weeks.
Let’s change the hypothetical. Instead of a woman in her 20s, an elderly woman in her 70s falls down in the hotel. Because of her age, the elderly woman has some complications from surgery and needs to stay in a hospital for several weeks. After her discharge, she has a difficult time with physical therapy and her recovery is long and painful. She needs more physical therapy than the woman in her 20s, and she is often in pain. It takes the woman about 6 months to recover from her hip injury and return to her daily life.
Comparing the above 2 scenarios, the elderly woman’s pain and suffering damages are greater than the woman in her 20s even though they suffered the same injury.
It is important to note that not all slip, trip and fall accident victims can recover financial compensation. They must prove a party was negligent and therefore liable for their accident and injuries. For a discussion about proving liability in a Philadelphia slip, trip and fall accident, see Sidewalk Fall Accidents & Injuries in Philadelphia – Who is Liable?
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