Whether you felt a sharp pain right away or a dull pain gradually came on, if you slipped and fell, there is a decent chance that you suffered some form of traumatic injury. The forces involved in a fall are more than enough to cause a serious injury even at ground level, and many people end up injuring themselves worse as a result of the natural reaction of trying to brace for impact.
If you suffered a traumatic injury in a slip-and-fall accident, there is also a decent chance that the costs of your injury will be far greater than you realize now. In fact, obtaining a diagnosis and treatment plan is just the first step toward determining not only what you have already lost, but also what you stand to lose in the future. Regardless of your age, physical condition, and occupation, the immediate and long-term consequences of slip-and-fall injuries can be substantial, and you owe it to yourself to understand the total costs of your injuries before you make any decisions about whether or not to take legal action against the property owner.
The Immediate Costs of Slip-and-Fall Accidents
1. Medical Expenses
Let’s start at the beginning. When you felt pain, you scheduled an appointment with your doctor or went to the emergency room. You received a diagnosis and initial treatment . . . and then you started receiving medical bills in the mail. The cost of medical care today is astronomical. Even if you have health insurance, your coverage is not likely to cover all of your medical expenses. In fact, it may only cover a small portion of the costs you incur for diagnostic services, testing, treatment, medical devices and prescriptions.
2. Loss of Income
Did you miss time from work on the day you slipped and fell? Did you have to take off from your job to go to the doctor’s office or hospital? Did you receive several days of inpatient care? If you missed work because of your injury (even if you took sick leave or paid time off), you suffered additional financial harm in the form of loss of income.
3. Other Out-of-Pocket Costs
Aside from medical expenses, individuals injured in slip-and-fall accidents will commonly incur various other out-of-pocket costs as well. The gas you put in your vehicle (or cost of the Uber or Lyft ride you took) to get to the hospital, the cost to replace your damaged clothes, the cost to repair your broken watch or phone—these are all accident-related losses for which financial compensation may be available.
4. Pain and Suffering
While pain and suffering are not direct financial losses, they are still considered compensable losses under Illinois law. From the day you are injured, any pain and suffering you endure will add to the value of your slip-and-fall claim. How much is your pain and suffering worth? The answer to this question will depend on a number of different factors, from the level of your pain to the financial costs associated with your treatment and rehabilitation.
5. Emotional Trauma
Suffering severe injuries in a sudden and unexpected accident can be a harrowing experience, and it can traumatize you in ways that you could not have previously imagined. Similar to pain and suffering, emotional trauma can happen immediately, and it is a form of non-financial loss that is compensable under Illinois law.
The Long-Term Costs of Injuries from Slips and Falls
1. Ongoing Treatment and Follow-Up Medical Procedures
If you think your current medical bills are bad, then the future costs of your injuries could very well seem insurmountable. In cases of severe traumatic injuries, future medical expenses can far exceed the initial costs of diagnosis and treatment. When seeking financial compensation for injuries from a slip-and-fall accident it is essential to make sure you have a comprehensive picture of your long-term medical needs.
2. Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
Along with the cost of follow-up appointments and surgeries, individuals diagnosed with traumatic injuries will often need to undergo significant physical therapy and rehabilitation as well. Whether you see your therapist once per month or multiple times per week, over a period of months or years, the total cost of recovering from traumatic injuries can be substantial.
3. Loss of Future Earning Capacity
If your injuries prevent you from returning to your old job or prevent you from working entirely, then you will offer suffer additional long-term financial losses in the form of loss of future earning capacity. Whether you are forced to take a lower-paying job or you are never again able to earn a living, your claim for compensation should include funds that are sufficient to replace the income and benefits that you would have otherwise been capable of earning in the future.
4. Chronic Pain and Suffering
In some cases, the pain and suffering from a traumatic injury can last a lifetime. If your pain does not go away, then you are entitled to seek just compensation for every day of your life that you expect to experience pain and suffering in the future.
5. Psychological Effects
Similar to physical pain and suffering, the psychological effects of traumatic injuries do not just go away. From your emotional distress to the psychological effects of living with permanent scarring or disfigurement, the lingering consequences of your injuries can have an impact on virtually all aspects of your daily life.
6. Other Non-Financial Losses
Injuries from slip-and-fall accidents can have various other life-changing consequences as well. In premises liability claims under Illinois law, accident victims are also entitled to seek financial compensation for loss of companionship, loss of consortium, loss of services, loss of society, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Checklist: Seeking Financial Compensation After a Slip-and-Fall Accident in Chicago
There are a few different ways to calculate non-financial losses in a premises liability claim, one of which is to apply a multiplier to the accident victim’s financial losses. As a result, when filing a claim for damages, it is essential to have a clear picture of your current and future medical expenses, loss of income, and other out-of-pocket costs. You should also clearly document all of the non-financial impacts that your injuries have on your life.
With this in mind, here is a checklist you can use to begin preparing for your slip-and-fall accident claim:
- Collect Your Medical Records – Collect copies of all of your medical records relating to your slip-and-fall injuries. This includes copies of your scans, prescriptions, medical bills, statements of benefits (SOBs), and any documents you receive from your insurance company.
- Collect Your Employment Records – To prove your loss of income and future earning capacity, you will need copies of your employment records. See if you have copies of your most-recent tax returns and W-2s, and keep any emails, paystubs, and other documentation showing days you miss from work.
- Collect Any Evidence You Have from the Scene of the Accident – Did you take photos of the location where you fell? Did you talk to anyone who saw you fall? Did you file a report with the building or business owner? Anything you have from the scene of the scene of the accident could be key evidence in your claim for financial compensation.
- Keep a Daily Log or Journal – Each day, write down all of the ways that your injuries and pain impacted your life. What was your pain level? Did you have to miss work to go to the doctor or because you were in too much pain to do your job? Were you unable to mow your lawn, wash your car, or attend your child’s game or recital? These are all non-financial losses that will factor into your overall claim for damages.
- Make Sure You Know When You Have Doctor’s Appointments – While there are several mistakes you need to try to avoid, one of the biggest mistakes is failing to follow your doctor’s advice. Make sure you know when your next appointment is scheduled, and make sure you have a way to get there on time.
- Learn More about Your Case – The more you know, the better able you will be to make informed decisions. For example, to learn more about how insurance companies and the Illinois courts calculate non-financial losses from slip-and-fall accidents, you can read: How are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?
- Speak with a Chicago Slip–and-Fall Accident Attorney – After a slip-and-fall accident, the best way to protect yourself is to speak with an experienced local attorney. At Malman Law, we represent clients injured in slip-and-fall accidents throughout the Chicago area, and we do not charge any fees or costs unless we win just compensation.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation at Malman Law
To find out how much compensation you may be entitled to receive as a result of your slip-and-fall accident in Chicago, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. You can reach us by phone 24/7 at 888-625-6265, or tell us how to reach you and a member of our team will be in touch as soon as possible.