In our past few posts dealing with premises liability, we have gone through the various elements of a negligence case, which is generally the theory under which Connecticut plaintiffs attempt to recover in these kinds of lawsuits. You may remember we have briefly discussed the elements of duty, breach, cause-in-fact and proximate cause. That leaves one last element required to recover under a negligence theory: damages.
The most important thing to remember about damages in a negligence case is that they usually cannot be theoretical; that is there has to have been some actual injury that occurred to the plaintiff. Simply pointing out that a premises owner was negligent and that such hazards as existed could have led to injury is not enough. The victim must have suffered some adverse effect from the conditions exposed in the suit.
So, what can a victim of a premises liability case potentially recover for? The most obvious and generally easiest to prove is medical expenses. A plaintiff may recover from a negligent property owner the cost of the medical care he or she received for the injury, and may also be able to recover for reasonable future medical costs. A victim in these cases may also be awarded damages for his or her pain and suffering. In such cases, a jury might consider how severe the injury is, how bad the pain has been and is likely to be in the future and how long it may last. Lost wages and earning capacity may also be taken into account in the award of damages to a plaintiff. The amount of work missed, and whether the injuries are of a sort that will prevent the victim from working in the future are the sorts of considerations in an award for these types of damages.
There are some other, less common, but still possible damage claims, such as loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium with a spouse. In any case, it may be wise for Connecticut residents injured due to the negligence of a property owner to consider consulting an experienced premises liability attorney.