How Are Slip and Fall Cases Calculated?

A slip and fall accident can change your life forever. They can lead to serious injuries, medical bills, and even long-term disabilities. If your accident occurred on someone else’s property due to negligence on their part, you could be entitled to compensation. 

How to Establish Liability

The foundation of slip and fall cases lies in determining liability. Before we go over how slip and fall cases are calculated, it is important to determine who is at fault for the accident. Often, the property owner is held liable for the accident, therefore, your attorney will help prove that they were negligent, causing your slip and fall. Some of the factors include failure to maintain safe premises, lack of warning signs, or a failure to address any safety hazards. These elements are all key when it comes to establishing liability and will be your attorney’s main focus.

What Types of Damages are Considered?

In a slip and fall settlement, there are two types of damages that you could be entitled to, which include economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages

  • Medical Expenses: One of the primary components of slip and fall cases is medical expenses. This includes costs for emergency care, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical treatments.
  • Lost Wages: Slip and fall victims can be compensated for lost wages. This involves calculating the wages the individual would have earned if not for the injuries sustained in the slip and fall incident.
  • Property Damage: In cases where personal property is damaged during the accident, the cost of repair or replacement may be factored into the settlement.

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and Suffering: Calculating the intangible costs associated with pain and suffering is challenging but important. This involves assessing the severity and duration of physical and emotional distress caused by the slip and fall.
  • Emotional Distress: Victims may experience anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the accident. Non-economic damages account for the emotional toll the incident has taken on the individual’s mental well-being.

The Role of Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence can be part of a slip and fall case. The injured party can share some responsibility for the accident. If comparative negligence plays a role in a case, the settlement amount might be adjusted based on the percentage of fault for each party involved.

Gathering Evidence

Evidence is crucial in slip and fall cases, therefore, it is important to collect as much evidence from the scene as possible. One of the biggest pieces of evidence to collect is proof that you were on the premises where the injury occurred, this could be a sales receipt, proof of address, etc. Other pieces of evidence could include things such as photos, videos, witness statements, medical records, or any communication between the victim and property owner regarding the safety hazard. 

Consultation with Experts

When managing your slip and fall case, your attorney may consult experts in the field to support their claim. Experts, such as those in the medical field, can provide additional insights into the extent of the injuries and the necessary treatment for recovery. Other experts, such as property maintenance specialists, could evaluate the conditions of the property in the time leading up to the accident. These experts provide crucial evidence that helps your attorney better understand the case, which could lead to a higher settlement amount. 

Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage is another critical aspect that comes into play with slip and fall cases and can influence the overall settlement amount. Limits on the property owner’s insurance policy can impact compensation awarded to the victim. Your attorney can assist in determining any and all relevant insurance policies that may apply to your injuries. 

What Types of Evidence Will Support My Slip and Fall Claim?

Evidence in slip and fall cases is crucial. Attorneys need solid evidence to help them negotiate with the other party, whether that be the insurance company, or the property owner, to secure a better settlement. 

Some of the most important evidence includes:

  • Photos or videos, including any surveillance footage of the hazard that caused the victim’s injury.
  • A log to document how the accident has impacted your life, and led to a lower overall quality of life.
  • For non-economic recovery, records from a therapist that prove your emotional pain.
  • Witness testimony from anyone on the scene who saw the accident occur.
  • Evidence, such as documents stating that the property owner knew about the hazard, and failed to address it.

An attorney can help a victim secure this evidence, providing them an advantage. In many ways, the evidence found can make or break someone’s slip and fall case.

calculating slip and fall cases

Factors Influencing Settlement Calculation

There are a few key factors that influence the settlement calculation, such as the severity of the injuries, long-term impact, loss of consortium, age and occupation, jurisdiction, and negotiation skills. These factors are critical and could affect the settlement amount received. 

Severity of Injuries

The nature and severity of injuries the victim sustained in a slip and fall accident are primary factors in the final settlement calculation. More severe injuries typically result in higher compensation due to increased medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other long-term consequences.

Long-Term Impact

In slip and fall cases, the long-term impact of injuries is critical when deciding a final settlement amount. In a case where the victim has permanent disabilities or requires ongoing medical care, the settlement amount awarded to the victim may be adjusted.

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium is when a victim loses companionship, whether that be with friends, or a spouse or partner. 

Age and Occupation

The victim’s age and occupation can significantly influence the settlement amount. Younger individuals may receive higher compensation for potential future earnings lost due to the incident.

Jurisdictional Variances

Depending on where the incident happened, there could be different legal precedents that impact how a slip and fall settlement is calculated. It is important to seek legal counsel to understand the specific laws and regulations where the incident occurred.

Negotiation Skills

The negotiation skills of an attorney representing an injured party play a significant role in the settlement process. A skilled negotiator can secure a better settlement for their client.

Settlement Negotiation Process

The negotiation process involves back-and-forth communication between the parties, with each presenting their case and proposed settlement amount. It is common for both sides to engage in negotiations before reaching a settlement that both parties can agree on. This could mean that mediation is needed to resolve the disagreement without going to trial. 

Litigation as a Last Resort

If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, a slip and fall case may go to litigation. Going to trial includes additional costs, uncertainties, and time delays. If a case does go to trial and the jury finds for the injured, the jury will then determine the amount of compensation awarded to the injured party, based on the presented evidence, expert testimonies, and legal arguments.

Case Studies of Slips and Falls

Let’s go over a few short case studies that help to clarify the settlement a victim would receive in each scenario.

Scenario 1: Mild Injuries and Limited Impact

In a case where the victim sustains mild injuries with minimal impact on their daily life, the settlement amount may primarily cover medical expenses and a small amount for pain and suffering. The total compensation could range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Scenario 2: Severe Injuries with Long-Term Consequences

If the slip and fall results in severe injuries, such as spinal cord damage or traumatic brain injury, the settlement amount would likely be much higher. It is important to consider the extensive medical expenses, ongoing rehabilitation, lost wages, and substantial compensation for pain and suffering. Settlements in such cases could reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Scenario 3: Shared Liability and Comparative Negligence

When both the property owner and the victim share some degree of negligence, the settlement amount is adjusted accordingly. If the victim is found to be 20% responsible for the accident, their compensation would be reduced by that percentage.

Slip and fall cases are complex, and require a multifaceted approach to thoroughly understand the legal principles at hand, the evidence gathered, and the negotiation skills needed to win a case. Victims seeking compensation must navigate the intricacies of liability, damages, and the various factors influencing settlement calculations. Likewise, property owners and their insurers must carefully assess their potential liability and engage in fair and transparent negotiations. 

If you have been injured do not have to go through this process alone. An experienced personal injury attorney could help answer your questions about how slip and fall cases are calculated and assist in handling the legalities of your case, while you focus on recovery. 

If you have been injured in a slip and fall incident, reach out to Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers at 314-270-2273 today for a free consultation.