Construction Defect and Premises Liability refers to cases involving injury due to either faulty construction or an injury or assault sustained on premises that did not have adequate security. Sometimes these can be a simple “slip and fall” case, all the way up to building collapses and parking garage robberies and/ or sexual assaults. It is important to have an aggressive attorney who will focus on the various aspects of each individual case. For example, in a premises liability case involving a sexual assault or robbery, it is important to gather all previous incidents which may have occurred at that particular location. Recently Wal Mart Stores have been sued for not adequately protecting their parking lots in areas where there have been multiple robberies and/ or sexual assaults. It was shown through aggressive investigation that one particular Wal Mart had multiple police visits due to these ongoing problems. They also filed numerous internal reports dealing with these crimes; however, they took virtually no steps to provide protection for their patrons. Due to this arrogance, millions of dollars have been paid out to various victims.
In regards to construction defects, one only needs to look to various news outlets to see everything from the collapse of buildings where wedding receptions were being held, to the collapse of piers where parties were taking place, to see the devastation that can occur in a construction accident. The more subtle losses occur when parking garages are improperly designed, which result in motor vehicle accidents. Sometimes traffic flow in parking lots is improperly directed without adequate stop and yield signs, which can result in pedestrian injury and motor vehicle accidents. We have even seen cases where elevators are constantly getting stuck, thereby inviting the occasional “escape” attempt which results in serious physical injury. However, the most common type of construction defect or premise liability cases range from merchandise falling off of high shelves (such as the recent Price Club/ Costco cases) to inadequate clean up resulting in slip and fall injuries.
In even simple construction defect or premise liability cases which involve permanent impairment, settlements can range anywhere from five figures up to seven figures plus. In most cases, the important factors when ascertaining the level of settlement is specifically based on the amount of medical bills, the pain and suffering, life care costs and employment damages.
Medical bills often can run well above $100,000 if there was extended hospitalization with subsequent physical and vocational rehabilitation. Getting these bills paid is often the primary goal of the injury victim’s family. Often when a property owner is at fault for an injury, their insurance companies adjuster will attempt to approach you as soon as possible after the injury in order to offer a settlement. These settlements will include “taking care of all of the medical bills”. It is very tempting to sign papers and accept the settlement, however, they will not adequately pay for the years of life care that may follow along with vocational training which will be necessary after the immediate hospital stay. Never accept any type of settlement with an adjuster before speaking with a qualified attorney who handles premises liability cases. Remember, premises cases are different than other types of cases. Make sure you contact The Simon Law Group immediately if you are approached by an insurance adjuster, or if another attorney has suggested that you settle for “three times the medical bills”.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering calculations are often combined with employment losses and damage to ones family life. Usually, in order to ascertain these types of damages, you will have to look at the lifelong impact on the injury victim. It is important to focus on how much the life care costs will be along with the employment losses and damage to the victim’s family life. Many times the award given by juries regarding pain and suffering can be larger than all the other damages combined. This is sometimes due to the fact that even though somebody’s future earning capacities would total $1,000,000 in their lifetime, it is not worth any amount of money to live in constant pain, with a vastly lowered IQ or in a partially vegetative state. The same holds true even if the injury still allows the victim to work, but his life enjoyment is greatly reduced.
Life Care Costs
Life care costs are often defined as not only the future medical bills, but also the amount it will cost to secure rehabilitative treatment and in-home care. Many times the vast majority of the in-home care will be conducted by family members. This does not mean that this care was “free” or “without cost”. Family care can be even more taxing and costly to the family unit due to the fact that it may remove other members from their employment. It is very important to your case to secure the proper experts and produce the right testimony during the settlement phase or, if necessary, at trial. At The Simon Law Group we will secure the top life care experts to work on your family member’s case.
Employment damages also need to be calculated when dealing with a construction defect or premise liability case. Many times a person will no longer be qualified to perform the work they were doing prior to their injury. However, they may be able to secure employment in a different field. Many times this “secondary” field of employment pays a much lower wage than what they were previously making. In severe cases, injury victims are often unable to work at all. In other cases, the injury has occurred to a child prior to them being given the opportunity to go to college, or receive training to secure a job. Determining their losses requires a highly skilled law firm, such as The Simon Law Group.
Sometimes the injury can be more discrete, and not quite as noticeable. Although the injury victim may secure employment, they often lose that employment shortly thereafter, or they do not get promoted within their workplace. Again, it takes a highly skilled lawyer to pinpoint these facts when determining the amount of employment losses.
Once an individual has suffered an injury, even if it is a slight injury, often their employment lifespan will be shorter than before. In order to calculate damages, it is necessary to look at what a person was making and what they would have made prior to their injury. You then look to what they will now make, and you calculate how much money will be lost over the course of their working career. You also must factor in if they have a shorter working career than they would have had before the injury. Many times a true number can be calculated by utilizing a multiplier dealing with inflation and an increase in certain occupations’ market value. It is important to have the proper vocational expert calculate these types of future loses. Although many times this may not be the largest number requested when calculating damages, it is often the most understandable number to the average person. The average juror will understand “the injury victim will lose ‘x’ amount of dollars over his lifetime, and his family will never see this money”. When this number is combined with existing medical bills and projected future life care costs, it will magnify the pain and suffering award greatly. It is easy for a jury to understand how a victim once destined for a full and rewarding personal and employment life fears he will be forced to settle for less. The juror will understand that it is their role to make sure that person does not have to “settle for less”. At The Simon Law Group, we also make sure that the insurance company knows this too and we will increase your loved one’s chances of a large settlement prior to any type of trial.
At The Simon Law Group, The Firm has handled 100 jury trials of all types. Mr. Simon has over 29 years of legal experience! The Simon Law Group — Experience matters!!! Not only will we fight for you to secure the highest settlement possible, we will also assist you with doctors treatment and medical liens which will prevent any out of pocket costs being paid by you, up front. If you wish to contact us, you can call us at our office, or you can click on “Contact Our Firm” and E-mail us directly. At The Simon Law Group, you are not just a client, but a friend in need.