Like many other personal injury claims, it is difficult to estimate the average settlement amount for your slip and fall case. A slip and fall settlement can be around $10,000, or even more than $700,000, based entirely on the specifics of your case. Only by working with an experienced personal injury attorney will you be able to recover an adequate settlement amount that will cover all your injuries, damages, and other expenses associated with your accident.
What Factors Determine a Slip and Fall Accident Settlement Amount?
There are numerous factors that can influence the average slip and fall accident settlement. Slip and fall cases can be vastly more complex than they appear, since factors such as the extent of your injury and proof of negligence will have a direct impact on your fall settlement amount. A skilled premises liability lawyer can help discuss your options. Some of the most important factors that are used to calculate your slip and fall settlement amount include:
Extent of Injury
A slip and fall accident can cause several injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, broken bones, neck and spinal cord injuries, and much more. Minor injuries will typically net a smaller settlement, while major injuries that require expensive medical treatment and extensive future medical expenses will have a higher settlement.
Serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries can cause permanent disability. When the extent of your injury interferes with your quality of life and your ability to work, these injuries will carry more weight when your settlement is calculated. Severe accidents can even cause the death of a fall victim, which means the family of the victim may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Location of Accident
Sometimes, the location of where the fall accident occurred can also influence your personal injury settlement. The average settlement for an accident that occurred on business or commercial property is around $350,000, while the average settlement for an accident on private land is around $100,000.
Evidence of Accident
The more evidence you have for your slip and fall accident, the stronger your case will be and the more financial compensation you will receive. Evidence for slip and fall accidents will show how your severe injuries occurred.
If there is proof of willful negligence, then your personal injury lawyer may ask for punitive damages to be added to the slip and fall settlement amount. Punitive damages in personal injury lawsuits are meant to punish the negligent party, especially if there is a significant slip and fall injury.
Slip and fall settlements may also be dictated by insurance coverage limitations. Even if you have very strong evidence for your case, the average slip and fall settlement may be limited by the liability insurance policy of the person or entity who is responsible for your accident. Essentially, this means that your maximum compensation is determined by how much the liable party can afford to pay.
Much of the time, an insurance company will try to argue that you are responsible for your fall injury. In Missouri, part of personal injury law holds that the victim can be partially responsible for their injuries. This can affect slip and fall settlement amounts because the victim will only be able to recover compensation for the percentage of damages they are not responsible for.
Even if you are 99% at fault for your accident, you will still be able to recover 1% of compensation for your damages from the other party. When pure comparative negligence is involved in your lawsuit, you will need support from a lawyer and extensive proof to show your percentage of liability.
A slip and fall injury such as a head injury can require a lot of medical expenses associated with your recovery. Generally, the exact amount of your medical bills will be used to calculate the fair settlement for your slip and fall case. Some of your medical bills can include costs for physical therapy, long-term care, medications, surgery, and medical aids.
Ideally, the cost of your medical bills should also include your future medical expenses if you have a permanent disability. Severe injuries that will generate significant medical bills in the future should be fully compensated by the liable party, particularly if you are unable to work.
One of the most common damages claimed in slip and fall cases is lost wages. Lost wages occur because you are no longer able to work due to your recovery or because a disability prevents you from working in the future. In addition to lost wages, your damages may include the projected lost income you would have earned in the future.
Slip and fall accidents can also cause non-economic damages such as physical pain, suffering, emotional pain, mental anguish, and trauma. Sometimes, the injuries from slip and fall accidents will result in reduced quality of life, loss of self-esteem, and loss of consortium, all of which can be claimed as part of your settlement.
How Can You Prove Non-Economic Damages?
The average settlement for non-economic damages is a bit trickier to calculate than economic damages. Unlike a bill for medical treatment, which can be used as a raw economic cost for your damages, non-economic damages must be proven with medical diagnoses, testimony, and expert opinions. Non-economic damages can add significant compensation to your final settlement amount.
What Causes a Slip and Fall Accident?
In general, a slip and fall accident occurs when a property owner fails to adhere to the duty of care owed to all visitors on the property. Accidents can happen because spills are not cleaned up promptly, icy walkways are not treated with salt, clutter has made walkways unsafe, or floors, stairs, and stair rails are in a state of disrepair. Property owners are obligated to post warnings for hazardous conditions, even if those conditions seem obvious.
How Do You Win a Slip and Fall Case?
To win personal injury cases, you will need to focus on proving that negligence was the direct cause of your injuries and damages. First, you must establish that the liable party owed you a duty of care since you were a guest or visitor on the property. Then, you will need to use evidence to prove that this duty of care was not observed, either because the liable party was careless or willfully negligent.
Once you prove those two elements, your lawyer will be able to link the breach in duty of care to your injuries and damages. If you cannot prove all three elements, then you may not win your lawsuit.
Can a Lack of Causation Hurt Your Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
The success of slip and fall lawsuits rests on causation. To prove negligence for your legal claim, slip and fall attorneys will need to show proof of causation. Essentially, this means that an experienced slip and fall lawyer will show how a spill occurred and how this action led to your injuries.
However, if you do not have sufficient evidence to prove causation, your lawsuit may not be successful. Without adequate evidence for causation, you will be unable to recover compensation for the full extent of your damages. A lack of causation typically means the liable party did not act negligently, which means the liable party cannot be held responsible for your damages even if you were severely injured on private or commercial property.
Who Is Responsible for Your Slip and Fall Accident?
In general, the property owner of the land where your accident occurred will be held liable for your injuries. Property owners are responsible for ensuring all property is reasonably safe, which includes marking dangerous conditions to warn visitors of potential hazards.
Aside from property owners, renters of commercial property such as a grocery store owner can also be held liable for your injuries. Sometimes, there may be multiple people who are responsible for your accident. A personal injury lawyer will be able to assess your case to identify who should be held liable for your fall injuries.
How Long Do You Have to File a Slip and Fall Claim?
In Missouri, you will have up to five years to file a slip and fall lawsuit. This statute of limitations applies to almost every premises liability case, except for certain lawsuits filed against the government. If your accident occurred on government property, you will only have 90 days to file a slip and fall claim with the state.
After you are injured in an accident, even if you only have minor injuries, you must move quickly with your slip and fall case. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations timeframe, you will not be able to seek compensation for your injuries and damages even if you have strong supporting evidence for your case.
What Are the Chances of Your Case Going to Trial?
Most of the time, a personal injury lawsuit will not go to trial. Most slip and fall cases are settled outside of court through mediation when an insurance company or the liable party pays a negotiated settlement amount. However, if your case does end up going to trial, you will need to hire an experienced injury attorney to prove your injuries, so you can receive fair compensation for your damages.
Of course, even if your case does not go to trial, it is still a good idea to hire a lawyer when you plan to file a slip and fall claim. Slip and fall cases can be hotly contested because property owners and insurance companies will try to blame you for your accident. Only a slip and fall lawyer will be able to use evidence to show that a property owner failed to exercise reasonable care, which led to your injuries and damages.
Slip and fall settlements are hard to predict. Whether or not your case goes to court, it’s a good idea to hire a slip and fall attorney. Only injury attorneys have the experience to help you end your case with a fair outcome that covers the damages for all the injuries caused by your slip and fall accident.
To schedule a free consultation, call Holman Schiavone, LLC at 816-399-5149 today.