Common Misconceptions about Slip and Fall Injuries and Premises Liability Cases
Interviewer: What are the some of the top misconceptions that people have about personal injury cases that occur in a business establishment?
Not a Pratfall: Despite What Is Portrayed in T.V., Injuries from Slip and Fall Incidents Are Serious
Stephen Boutros: I think the biggest misconception is that, that it is a joke, because you see in movies and comedy sketches. People have been trained that it’s a joke, that it’s funny or that it’s fraud. That this person didn’t really fall and that they pretended to fall to collect money.
I would have two responses to that, and the first is that, the injuries that we see when people fall to the ground as adults, they are hard falls. You are not talking about the weight of a 50 pound six year old. You are talking about the weight of an adult, and the body isn’t designed to take that type of trauma.
If you fall with all your weight on your wrist or your hand or your thumb, or your shoulder, you are going to injure yourself most likely to the extent that you are going to need surgery. We see broken bones because there’s a lot of force involved with the trauma of a fall. We see people that are seriously injured. It’s not a joke. The other misconception is fraud. Obviously, anytime there are people involved, there’s going to be a small percentage of fraud, but that is the exception in slip and fall cases, not the rule.
Fraud Is Rarely a Factor in a Slip and Fall Incident
When the injuries are as severe as the injuries that we see, reason tells you and common sense tells you that fraud wasn’t involved. You have to look at someone as a whole person. When you see a person who has lived their life with no criminal history and gives back to the community, and takes care of their responsibilities—this is not the type of person that’s going to be involved in some type of fraud.
When see someone with a long criminal history and they fall at the grocery store and then now they have sore back, well that case is questionable, especially if it’s unwitnessed. When the injuries are severe and their history is not indicative of someone that would be involved in fraud, you have to look at the whole person, the whole situation. Fraud is very rare.
How Is Compensation Calculated in a Slip and Fall Personal Injury Case?
Interviewer: What is a person entitled to if they are injured at a business establishment?
Stephen Boutros: If you can prove your case, in the standards that we discussed earlier, then you are entitled to collect money for your damages. That would mean your medical bills, in the past and the future, your loss of earning capacity, which is the time that you missed off work or in the past and the future.
Texas Has a List of Damages an Individual Is Entitled to
You are entitled to money for the pain that you suffered and you are entitled to money for your impairment, that’s how your injuries have interfered in your ability to live your life and do the things you normally would do.
The full list of damages in Texas that you are entitled to include: medical bills, loss of earning capacity, physical pain and mental anguish, and your disfigurement. Let’s say you were burned or again, suffered from dog bites, your disfigurement, someone changed the way you look. You are entitled to something for that. Impairment is again, inability to do the things you normally do in your life.