What is the Average Slip and Fall Settlement
The average settlement for a slip and fall case is based on many factors. Criteria for calculating a slip and fall settlement include the amount of insurance, severity of injuries, and comparative fault.
Slip-and-fall accidents are tort claims, which means they result when someone’s negligence causes another person to be injured. Like the vast majority of tort claims, which are also referred to as personal injury claims, most slip-and-fall cases end in a negotiated settlement.
Seeing someone slip and fall in a scene from a movie or television show may cause you to laugh, but they are not funny in real life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury and account for more than $50 billion annually in medical costs in the United States.
A slip and fall can happen anywhere and at any time. You could be shopping at your favorite supermarket or attending a pool party at a neighbor’s home when a loose floor tile, spilled liquids or other hazard causes you to slip and fall to the ground.
If you or a loved one sustains an injury in a slip-and-fall accident, you probably will want to know how much your claim for compensation may be worth. As you continue to read through this information about slip and fall settlements to learn more about how these cases occur and what goes into reaching a settlement, keep in mind that a fall accident requires the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer to get you the money that you need and deserve.
There are almost 21 million preventable injuries that happen each year, and falls top the list as the leading cause of them. A slip and fall accident is the legal term that fall attorneys use for any type of incident where a person trips or slips while walking or running. Slipping and falling can result in serious injuries and death.
A slip and fall accident should not be confused with the common, yet very embarrassing, experience that most people have at one time or another of stumbling over their own feet while walking. When someone consults with a fall attorney after an accident it is generally about serious injuries caused by a negligent property owner failing to correct or remove a hazardous condition that caused the victim to slip or trip and suffer injuries in the resulting fall.
If a cracked sidewalk, broken step, wet floor or other hazardous condition causes you to slip, fall and be injured, you may be wondering about your rights against the negligent property owner and the amount of compensation that you are entitled to recover from them. A consultation with a personal injury attorney experienced in the handling of fall injury cases can be of assistance to answer your questions.
How much compensation you receive depends on several factors, including the severity of your injuries and the strength of the evidence proving that the property owner was at fault. Determining the average compensation in fall injury cases is difficult because each one of them presents its own unique set of circumstances that affect the amount of money that a plaintiff receives through a settlement.
The information that follows will help you to better understand the challenges presented by slip and fall claims and how experienced personal injury lawyers work through them to obtain settlements that compensate their clients for their financial losses and the pain and suffering they endured. It also gives you insight into the factors that contribute to a fair settlement in a slip and fall case and how each fall injury case is different.
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A Look At The Elements Of A Slip And Fall Case
Fall cases occur when a property owner or someone responsible for managing and maintaining premises allows a hazardous or dangerous condition to exist that presents a slipping or tripping hazard. Some of the common types of hazardous conditions include the following:
- Water accumulating on floor surfaces.
- Poor lighting in stairwells.
- Loose or worn carpeting and rugs.
- Loose or broken handrails.
- Potholes or broken and uneven concrete walkways.
- Debris, tools, wires, extension cords, garden hoses and other objects left on floors and other areas where people can trip over them.
- Snow and ice accumulation on sidewalks and parking lots.
The personal injury lawyer representing a client injured in a fall on someone else’s property will investigate the circumstances of the accident to identify and gather the evidence needed to prove the following:
- The defendant owned or was responsible for maintaining the premises on which the plaintiff was injured.
- The plaintiff was lawfully on the property.
- The existence of a hazardous or dangerous condition that caused the plaintiff to be injured.
- The owner or responsible party knew or should have known of the presence of a condition that could cause harm to the plaintiff or others lawfully on the property.
- The plaintiff suffered injuries in an accident caused by the condition of the property.
The evidence gathered by the plaintiff’s lawyer may identify multiple parties, including the owner, manager, and maintenance company, who may be held responsible for the hazardous condition and made to pay compensation to the plaintiff.
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Criteria For Calculating A Slip And Fall Settlement
An insurance company for the owner of premises where you fell and sustained injuries will not discuss a fall settlement unless the claim adjuster is convinced that you have a strong case supported by the evidence that proves all of the following:
- You were injured in a fall on premises owned, managed or maintained by the insurance company’s policyholder.
- The cause of the fall was a condition that existed on the property, such as a pothole, wet floor or other hazard.
- The defendant in the case was negligent for failing to maintain the premises in a safe condition that was free of known or obvious hazards.
- That your injuries were the direct result of a fall caused by the condition of the premises.
To recover compensation for injuries suffered in an accident on someone’s property you must be able to prove that you had damages. Damages in a personal injury case based on a slip or trip that causes you to fall may differ from one case to another, but they generally include the following:
- Medical bills for emergency room treatment, hospitalization, treatment at your doctor’s office, physical therapy and rehabilitation and other services provided by health care professionals.
- Projected medical expenses for treatment that your doctor anticipates your injuries may require that you undergo in the future.
- Prescription medications and specialized medical equipment, such as crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and walkers.
- Wages lost while out of work recovering from your injuries.
- Lost or diminished future earning capacity caused by full or partial disability caused by the injuries sustained in the accident.
- Physical pain and suffering and emotional anguish caused by the injuries.
- Loss of the ability to participate in activities that you enjoyed before being injured.
Before sending a demand letter to begin the negotiations to settle your claim, a personal injury attorney calculates the value of your slip and fall case by totaling the out-of-pocket losses that you incurred by using the receipts, bills and employment records that are available.
Pain and suffering and other types of non-economic damages do not have a monetary value that can readily be determined from a bill or receipt. Instead, the lawyer must assign a dollar value. One method of doing this uses economic losses, which are the medical bills and other expenses documented by invoices and receipts, and applies a multiplier to them. For example, if you have minor injuries with $2,500 in economic losses, your lawyer can choose a multiplier of 1.5 through 5, with the higher number used for serious personal injuries and the lower number for claims with minor injuries.
Multiplying $2,500 by 1.5 results in estimated pain and suffering and other non-economic damages of $3,750. Adding the two types of damages together gives you an estimated value of the claim of $6,250. The insurance adjuster handling the claim is also calculating its estimated value.
Something to keep in mind about putting a value on a case is that no one actually knows what a jury may award to a plaintiff based on the evidence presented by both sides during a trial. The goal of your lawyer is to negotiate for a good settlement offer, which fairly compensates you for your actual financial losses and the non-economic damages caused by the negligence of the defendant.
How Much Should You Ask For To Settle A Slip And Fall
The circumstances and severity of the injuries differ in each case, so there is no standard or customary amount to demand to settle a slip and fall lawsuit. The same caution applies to relying on average settlements in fall accidents. How the accident occurred, the severity of the injuries, and the degree of negligence, if any, of the plaintiff must be considered when deciding upon the amount to ask for to settle a claim.
If you have been injured in a fall, follow your lawyer’s advice about how much to accept to settle your case. You can help to strengthen the case and increasing its settlement value by doing the following:
- Seek medical treatment immediately after the accident and continue with the treatment plan prescribed for you by your doctor.
- Immediately notify the owner or manager of the premises where you were injured of the accident and get the name, contact information and title of the person to whom you make the report.
- Do not minimize the extent of your injuries or speculate about how the accident happened. Stick to the facts as you know them when reporting the accident.
- Do not engage in conversations with bystanders about the accident or how you feel. Anything you say can be used by the insurance company handling the claim to weaken or defeat your fall case.
Let your lawyer handle communications with insurance adjusters or investigators working for the insurance company for the property owner or other party responsible for the accident.
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Do Not Delay Making Your Claim For Compensation
Each state has its own personal injury laws that include limits on how long a person injured in a slip and fall or other accident caused by the negligence of someone else has to file a lawsuit to recover damages. The time limit, which is called the “statute of limitations,” may be two years for accidents in one state and three years from the date of an accident in another. Filing a claim too late may result in it being dismissed by a court.
Lawyers know the statute of limitations that applies to cases, but they may not have enough time to file a lawsuit if you delay contacting them. If you have been injured in a fall, contact a fall attorney right away to learn about your rights and options to exercise them.
3 Examples of Large Slip and Fall Verdicts
While no two slip and fall cases are alike, some recent large verdicts and settlements can give you an idea of what you may be able to expect in terms of compensation if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall. Here are three examples:
$1.26 Million Verdict for Woman Who Fell on Ice
In December of 2017, a jury in Massachusetts awarded a woman $1.26 million after she slipped and fell on an icy patch of pavement, suffering serious injuries. The woman had been leaving a friend’s house when she slipped on the ice, fracturing her hip and wrist. She required surgery and was left with permanent injuries that limited her mobility. The jury found that the homeowner was responsible for the condition of the property and awarded the woman $1.26 million to compensate her for her injuries, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
$825,000 Settlement for Man Who Fell in Store
In 2015, a man who slipped and fell in a grocery store was awarded an $825,000 settlement. The man had been shopping at the store when he slipped on a puddle of water that had been left on the floor. He suffered a fracture to his hip that required surgery. He also required physical therapy and was unable to return to work for several months. The man’s attorney was able to prove that the store had been negligent in its care of the premises and was able to secure the $825,000 settlement on his behalf.
$3 Million Settlement for Woman Who Fell in Parking Lot
In 2014, a woman who slipped and fell in a grocery store parking lot was awarded a $3 million settlement. The woman had been walking in the parking lot when she slipped on a puddle of water that had been left on the pavement. She sustained serious injuries, including a broken hip, that required surgery and lengthy hospitalization. The woman’s attorney was able to prove that the store had been negligent in its care of the premises.
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If a slip and fall accident leaves you injured and unable to work, the law gives you the right to seek compensation from the property owner or other party responsible for allowing a hazardous condition to exist and cause you to fall. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to find out about your right to file a claim for compensation against the negligent party.
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