The fact is that there isn’t an average slip-and-fall settlement amount. Each case is different and involves varying factors that influence the final amount of compensation. If you or a loved one sustains injuries in a slip and fall accident, you should consider consulting with an experienced Florida slip and fall attorney who can discuss a potential case and compensation.
There are several ways you can determine how much compensation you’re eligible to recover in a slip and fall accident case.
Factors That Can Influence a Slip and Fall Settlement
In slip and fall accidents, several factors can affect the total amount of compensation victims can receive. These influencing factors could include the following:
The Type and Severity of Your Injury
The part of your body that sustained an injury and the severity of it could influence your settlement. If your injuries are more serious, they’ll require more extensive treatment and potentially long-term, ongoing care. This would culminate in steep medical bills over time, increasing the total amount the case is worth.
Even if injuries are relatively minor and don’t need long-term treatment, they could still impact your quality of life and ability to work, warranting a certain amount of compensation.
If you’re unsure how your injury will affect the compensation you can recover, an attorney may be able to help.
Medical bills will also have a big impact on your settlement. This documentation is one of the most important pieces of evidence that can help prove the nature of your injuries. Bills will reveal precisely how costly your injuries are to help calculate economic damages associated with the slip and fall accident.
Medical documentation will also extend to medical and prescription records that detail your injuries and treatment. Additionally, you may need a doctor to provide a formal statement about your injuries and treatment.
In addition to medical bills, you will need to collect evidence that further supports your case.
Slip and fall accidents can involve a variety of evidence, including:
- Witness statements
- Photos of injuries and the scene of the accident
- Video footage from CCTV cameras or other systems
In the event of a slip and fall, it’s important to collect as much of this evidence as you can as early as possible. For example, if you slip and fall on loose flooring, such as a temporary piece of cardboard covering, take a picture of the site before someone removes the cardboard. You should also get the contact details of all witnesses present at the accident scene.
Together, these aspects will play a role in determining how much compensation you can recover in a slip-and-fall case. Working with an attorney may help with the collection and presentation of evidence to boost your case.
Also known as special damages, these are more tangible damages that involve specific financial losses that injury victims experience because of their injuries.
Some examples of economic damages in slip and fall cases could include:
- Medical costs. These expenses will include any current costs along with ongoing costs required to treat your injuries.
- Lost income. Injuries may require you to take some time off from work to recover, or you may not be able to return to work in the same capacity. Some victims may be unable to return to work entirely, in which case they may also be able to recover compensation for lost earning capacity and wages.
- Treatment. Doctors will prescribe certain medications to help slip and fall injury victims recover. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need to be on medication permanently.
- Ongoing care. Serious injuries and disabilities may also require long-term care. This scenario could entail having family or professionals provide ongoing care as needed.
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy. As you recover from more serious injuries, you may need to pay for rehab and physical therapy. In many cases, this could take place over years.
In addition to economic damages, injury victims may qualify for certain non-economic or general damages. These aren’t as easy to calculate as economic damages and tend to refer to the pain and suffering that injury victims experience after a slip and fall.
Here are a few examples of non-economic damages:
- Physical distress. Some slip and fall accidents may only result in minor pain, but more severe injuries could lead to more long-lasting chronic pain.
- Mental anguish. Injury victims may also suffer from psychological pain that results from an accident, including insomnia and fears about future incidents, along with trauma and post-traumatic stress.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. The toll of an injury could also lead to a general loss of enjoyment of daily activities that victims once enjoyed.
- Loss of consortium, care, and companionship. In cases involving wrongful death, the families of loved ones could recover compensation for the loss of that person and their relationship.
If a slip and fall accident occurs because of gross negligence or malicious intent, you may recover punitive damages, too. While economic and non-economic damages compensate victims for their losses and pain and suffering, punitive damages punish liable parties so they and others won’t engage in the same behavior. Punitive damages often involve large sums, but courts rarely award them.
How Does Premises Liability Work?
Slip and fall accident cases often depend on premises liability. These cases can take a long time to resolve and involve various steps to prove liability and injuries.
Premises liability cases, including slip and fall cases, involve certain steps that victims and their attorneys must take when settling with insurance companies or filing a lawsuit.
Typically, a premises liability case will involve the following process leading up to a settlement:
When beginning a premises liability case, the attorney investigates your slip and fall accident. In the process, the attorney will attempt to identify specific liable parties and obtain various evidence, including medical bills, records, lost wages, and more. Based on all of this information, your attorney will then be able to identify all damages involved in the case and accurately calculate the total settlement.
Achieving Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
You will also need to recover following your accident until you reach what medical professionals refer to as maximum medical improvement. This is the point when you have recovered as much as possible.
Once you reach MMI status, you, your doctors, and your attorney will better understand the nature of your injury. Your doctor can prescribe the appropriate treatment and determine if you need long-term care. You and your attorney can incorporate these expenses into your settlement based on the treatment you may need in the long term.
The next step will involve negotiating with insurance companies. This process will start when the attorney puts together and sends a demand package to the insurer. This package will include a wide variety of details about the case, including negligence or wrongdoing, information about who is liable, the nature of your injuries, the treatment required to recover from those injuries, and the various damages involved that count toward the final settlement.
In many cases, both parties involved in premises liability cases settle out of court during the claims process. However, if claimants, insurers, or negligent parties can’t agree, attorneys may try to win the case through litigation.
The litigation process will begin if the claims process doesn’t result in a settlement and the attorney chooses to continue seeking compensation. Your attorney may also go through litigation if the statute of limitations comes close to expiring.
Specifically, litigation will begin when the attorney files a complaint. If the other party responds to the complaint, the discovery phase will start. This entails taking depositions, obtaining critical documentation that may support your case, and having certain questions answered. Throughout the litigation process, your attorney will also continue attempting to settle the case and reach a favorable outcome.
If the litigation process doesn’t result in an out-of-court settlement, the case may then go to trial in a lawsuit. The court will then decide whether you are eligible to recover compensation and how much that compensation will be.
The process of handling a premises liability case is potentially lengthy and complex. This is why you shouldn’t attempt to go it alone. Instead, consider working with an attorney with experience handling these types of cases. An attorney who understands the process of a slip and fall accident case may help increase your chances of succeeding with your case.
How Long Do You Have to Sue for a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you want to file a claim or lawsuit after a slip and fall accident, it’s important to understand that these cases only have a limited amount of time in which they’re valid. The time you have to file a claim or lawsuit is the case’s statute of limitations. This statute of limitations varies from state to state and from case type to case type.
Florida’s statute of limitations for a slip and fall is four years. This means you have four years from the accident date to file a claim against liable parties. There are potentially some exceptions to this rule, but it can be difficult to get around the statute. One exception may be if the injury victim was underage at the time of the accident and could not file a lawsuit. Another could involve a victim who was unaware of the injury or the potential negligence of the liable party at the time of the accident.
If you don’t file a claim or lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you may be unable to recover compensation for your case and take legal action against others. This potential risk makes it necessary to begin building your case as soon as possible and consult an attorney well before the statute of limitations expires. Four years may seem like a long time, but you should begin seeking compensation before your medical bills mount and initiate the legal process early on.
Immediately after your accident, you should begin seeking treatment and gathering supporting documentation to help your case. This will increase your chances of succeeding with a case well before you pass the statute of limitations.
Turn to a Reliable Attorney to Build Your Slip and Fall Accident Case
Slip and fall accidents often result in serious injuries and various damages. If someone else was responsible for the accident and injuries, you may be able to recover compensation that covers all economic and non-economic damages. A Florida personal injury attorney with experience handling slip and fall cases will be able to discuss your specific case and determine what options are available to you. You may then file a claim or lawsuit against negligent parties and potentially reach a favorable settlement.