A settlement in a slip-and-fall case typically compensates injured victims for medical expenses, lost wages and other types of compensation they need to recover from their injuries. The amount of a slip-and-fall settlement can vary. But, it is crucial for victims and their families to understand what to expect when they are engaged in a claim process. This can help you not only build a strong case, but also prevent the mistakes and avoid the pitfalls that could potentially jeopardize your claim.
What is a Slip-and-Fall Case Worth?
Each slip-and-fall accident injury is unique. Each case has its own set of facts and circumstances. Slip-and-fall settlements of up to $50,000 are common where victims have suffered relatively minor injuries. The value of the claim climbs up as the injury increases in severity.
For example, a victim who has suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of slipping and falling down a flight of stairs and would be unable to return to work for an extended period of time, is likely to receive more compensation compared to someone who suffered a sprain or a slipped disc.
Here are some of the factors that could have an impact on the amount of a slip-and-fall settlement:
Medical bills: This is one of the most important determining factors in a slip-and-fall settlement. If you have been harmed by someone else's negligence, they can be held financially responsible for the medical costs stemming from that injury.
Lost income: When you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, it is likely that you will need to take time off work to recover from your injuries and to get the medical care and treatment you need. If your injury forces you to miss work, you can seek to recover these damages as part of your slip-and-fall settlement.
Future monetary damages: It is also common for a slip-and-fall claim to seek compensation for future medical expenses. Often, after a slip-and-fall injury, victims may need additional surgeries and/or rehabilitative treatment and care. These costs could add up quickly and may not be covered by the victim's health insurance policy. If the victim cannot return to work for an extended period of time because of a temporary or permanent disability caused by the injury, he or she can also seek compensation for lost future income or loss of earning capacity, if the injury is catastrophic.
Pain and suffering: These are commonly referred to as non-economic damages. Victims of slip-and-fall accidents can seek compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering they have endured as a result of the accident and injury. Pain and suffering could affect quality of life moving forward and even have an impact on the victim's financial situation.
The settlement amount you get to keep is largely dependent upon the facts of your case and your legal representation.
How Are the Damages Calculated?
When estimating the amount of a slip-and-fall settlement, we often start with the monetary damages we know about and can actually quantify. Medical bills, lost wages (itemized with the help of pay stubs), and receipts for transportation, lodging when non-local treatment and care is needed – all provide dollar amounts as a starting point for the calculations.
If you need ongoing medical treatment and care, a reasonable estimate based on the medical costs that you are likely to incur can be drawn by looking at pricing models for similar services in your area. You can also determine these amounts by asking your health providers for estimates.
Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or emotional distress are calculated by using a multiplier of your monetary damages. Typically it could be anywhere between one to five times your monetary damages. More serious injuries and disabilities that have long-term impacts could be assigned a higher factor. For example, while a strained back that requires a few months of rehabilitation for recovery could receive a smaller multiplier than someone with severe spinal cord trauma and paralysis. Such settlements could run into millions of dollars.
How Does the Claim Process Unfold?
If you are considering filing a lawsuit, you may wonder how the process works. A vast majority of slip-and-fall cases, like most personal injury cases, are settled out of court. Very few actually make it to trial. The first step to filing a slip-and-fall case is to get a case review from an experienced Los Angeles slip-and-fall lawyer.
Once your lawyer determines that you have a case, he or she will file a complaint with the court. The defendant typically has 30 days to respond to the complaint. Often, the defendant will file a motion denying your complaint or seeking to dismiss the case. If the case proceeds, the next step is the discovery phase when both parties attempt to find out as much as possible about the case.
Attorneys conduct interviews under oath and request documents. After this stage, both parties may attempt to arrive at a settlement agreement. If the settlement conference is not successful, the case will go to trial. Since you don't know which way your case will go, it is important to seek the counsel of a personal injury lawyer who is both a skilled negotiator and a trial lawyer who can present your case before a jury, if the need arises.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal concept in personal injury cases where the injury was caused as the result of some type of dangerous or defective condition on someone else's property. In order to receive compensation in these types of cases, plaintiffs must prove that the owner or manager of the property where the slip-and-fall accident occurred was negligent and that the injuries were the result of such negligence.
In a slip and fall case, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. In order to win compensation in a premises liability case in California, you must prove that:
- You faced a hazardous condition on the property<
- The property owner and/or manager knew about this dangerous condition
- The dangerous property condition caused your injuries
- The injuries resulted in monetary damages and losses
Slip-and-fall accident cases are the most common type of premises liability cases. Some common conditions that could lead to these accidents include faulty or broken stairs, wet floors, slick surfaces, unsecured rugs or carpets, etc. Under premises liability laws, property owners, managers and their agents have a duty or legal responsibility to make sure their property is safe for visitors, guests and tenants.
When there is a dangerous condition on the property that can cause a slip-and-fall accident, property owners and managers have a duty to warn tenants, visitors and guests about these dangers. For example, if there is spilled liquid in a supermarket aisle, the store's owner and/or manager should mop up the spill right away and post a sign warning shoppers about the hazard.
Type of Injury Suffered
The settlement amount in your slip-and-fall case could depend on how badly you have been injured. When the injuries are more severe, the settlement is likely to be higher. However, even a seemingly minor injury could have an impact on your day-to-day work and prevent you from resuming normal life such as returning to work. This is why it is important that you contact an experienced slip-and-fall lawyer even if your injuries are not severe. When you suffer a permanent injury that requires ongoing treatment and care, your slip-and-fall settlement could be higher.
Nature of the Evidence
The success of a slip-and-fall case often depends on the type of evidence collected such as security camera footage of the incident, photos from the scene and eyewitness testimony. The sooner you gather these pieces of evidence, the stronger your case is likely to be. When there are delays in gathering or securing evidence, there is a danger that it could disappear or be destroyed. Similarly, anyone who witnessed your fall might also leave the scene. So, it is important to get their contact information right away. If you have questions about what type of evidence you need, please contact an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall attorney for more information.
Slip-and-Fall Lawyers Here to Help
Studies have consistently shown that plaintiffs who are represented by lawyers receive awards and settlements much higher than those who did not hire an attorney. Slip-and-fall lawsuits are complicated. They require documents to be filed, evidence to be presented and complex negotiations.
The experienced Los Angeles slip-and-fall lawyers at Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC have the knowledge, resources and skill it takes to fight for your rights and help you secure the maximum possible compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. They will help you gather, compile and present crucial evidence that can help bolster your case and put you in the best possible position. They work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't pay us any fees unless they win an award or settlement for you. If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, call their law offices at (323) 782-0535 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.