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If someone is injured in a slip and fall accident, they need to get medical treatment necessary to treat their injuries. They should take steps to get the appropriate treatment they need to treat their injuries and report their injuries accurately.

If you have been harmed in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, it is important you immediately contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to recover for the damages you have suffered. Recovering damages in a Winston-Salem slip and fall case can be complex.

Contributory Negligence

Winston-Salem is a contributory negligence jurisdiction. This fact changes the trajectory of a case because if the injured person was determined to be contributorily negligent for the incident giving rise to their injury, they cannot recover any damages from the property owner. In a comparative negligence jurisdiction, if a person were partially at fault, their recovery could be reduced by that percentage.

If the property owner is 80 percent at fault and the injured person is 20 percent at fault, the injured party receives 20 percent less of the total damages if they recover. A person can still recover damages in a Winston-Salem slip and fall case in a comparative jurisdiction if they are partially at fault. In a contributory negligence jurisdiction, there is zero recovery which is very harsh. It is an old rule with harsh consequences.

Types of Damages

Economic damages would include medical expenses, lost wages, prescriptions, and physical therapy. They could also include expenses from having to hire someone to do chores like helping the person maintain their house or like cut grass. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, scarring, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of the use of the body parts, and so forth.

Punitive damages are meant to punish and deter wanton conduct. Punitive damages in a Winston-Salem slip and fall case are awarded to discourage repeated negligent behavior or to deter others from similar conduct. Punitive damages are awarded for gross negligence and wanton conduct. Driving while drunk is an example of gross negligence. Conduct is willful and wanton or otherwise grossly negligent if the conduct is substantially certain to lead to harm.

Catastrophic Injuries

The elements of the claim are the same if someone has a catastrophic injury, but the potential award for damages in a Winston-Salem slip and fall case increases significantly. If someone falls, becomes quadriplegic, and requires lifetime care, the damages could be in the millions. There is a question as to whether an amount of that magnitude will be recoverable. Most commercial facilities have a million dollars of liability insurance. If an injury is beyond that scope, there is some question as to whether the amount would be recoverable.

Caps on Punitive Damages

There is no cap on compensatory damages. However, there is a $250,000 cap on punitive damages in a Winston-Salem slip and fall cases. Otherwise, the cap is three times the economic harm money. Punitive damages against a defendant shall not exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater. If the compensatory damages award was a million dollars, the cap on punitive damages would be three million dollars.

Insurance companies and business owners have fought for legislative tort reform. The legislature in North Carolina and other states put caps on damages as a way of keeping jury awards down, which the theory being that is going to reduce business costs, although this reasoning is questionable.