Slip and fall accidents can happen in various locations and in different ways. Such accidents can involve slippery floors, walkway obstructions, and other hazards. No matter how it occurred, the resulting injuries can be serious and may require a slip and fall settlement to help offset the injured person’s losses.
Compensation in a slip and fall settlement is based on consideration of many factors, many of which can involve complex legal concepts like negligence and liability. If you or a loved one were hurt in a slip and fall accident, you may need the assistance of an experienced injury attorney who can help you get the proper settlement amount.
At The Smith Law Center, our attorneys have decades of experience handling injury cases and can help you understand the compensation you may be entitled to after a slip and fall incident. Contact us at (757) 244-7000 to speak with an attorney about the details of your case.
What Are Slip and Fall Settlements?
In any type of personal injury situation, including slip and fall accidents, a settlement is a voluntary agreement to resolve the dispute. This typically happens without input from the court. This is in contrast to a verdict, which is a final judgment in a trial and is issued by a judge or jury. Thus, the main difference is basically who decides the outcome of the case.
To illustrate, suppose a person slips and falls and injures themselves at a restaurant because the staff failed to clean the floor properly. The victim may then face costs like hospital bills, which the restaurant establishment might be liable for. A settlement, in this case, would be where the injured victim and the restaurant establishment reach an agreement on how much the restaurant should pay for the person’s losses.
Slip and fall settlements are binding, meaning they are legally enforceable, similar to a contract. They can be paid out in different ways, such as spread out over time or in a lump sum. The important part is that the injured party receives the compensation they deserve for their losses caused by the injury.
Types of Compensation Available Through Slip and Fall Settlements
In dealing with a slip and fall settlement, the settlement amounts may be divided into different categories of expenses. This helps the parties to fully understand what the settlement is covering and how the costs are divided up.
Broadly speaking, slip and fall settlements cover two types of losses, referred to as “damages.” These are general compensatory damages and special compensatory damages. These are both intended to compensate the victim for certain losses (hence the term “compensatory”).
General compensatory damages cover intangible, non-monetary losses that do not have a specific dollar amount. Examples of these include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anxiety or emotional trauma
- Loss of companionship
Special compensatory damages cover expenses that can be calculated into a dollar amount more readily. The goal of these damages is to restore the victim to their financial situation before the slip and fall incident occurred. These include:
- Medical bills
- Costs of future medical treatment
- Expenses associated with rehab or therapy
Suppose that a slip and fall settlement is reached in the amount of $500,000. $300,000 of that might cover special damages, and $200,000 might cover general damages. The breakdown will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. The type of injury involved can heavily affect the way the settlement is calculated.
How Different Types of Slip and Fall Injuries Affect a Settlement
Slip and fall accidents can involve a number of different types of injuries. These can depend on how the person fell, what part of their body hit the floor, where they were, and other factors.
Common slip and fall injuries include:
- Sprained joints, especially a wrist sprain from catching the fall
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Injuries from hitting one’s head, including traumatic brain injuries or concussions
- Back and spinal cord injuries — these can lead to serious conditions like paralysis
The type of injury and how serious it is heavily affects the amount of compensation in a slip and fall settlement. For instance, a sprained wrist may require a specific mix of treatment, medication, and physical therapy. In contrast, a brain injury from a slip and fall can involve additional factors besides these, such as a loss of the ability to generate income in the future. These types of differences are considered closely when formulating a settlement amount.
Also, where the injury occurred is a major deciding factor when calculating the amount. Slip and fall injuries can happen in various places, including:
- Retail stores
- Grocery stores
- At the workplace
- Swimming pools
- Various other places
Negotiating a settlement with a small local boutique store owner will be drastically different than negotiating with a large corporate establishment like a department store chain. In any case, the assistance of an attorney is invaluable when it comes to reaching a settlement.
When Can Slip and Fall Settlements Occur?
Settlements can occur at different times. In many cases, a settlement is reached out-of-court before the case even goes to trial. In other instances, a settlement can happen after a lawsuit has already been filed. This all depends on the needs and preferences of the parties involved.
A pre-trial settlement can often reduce much of the time and expenses associated with a full lawsuit; this is one of the main reasons why parties may seek a settlement early on.
With out-of-court settlements, it is highly important to catalog all damages and expenses associated with the slip and fall accident. This is because negotiation will be a heavy element in the process, and the more you can support your claim, the more favorable the outcome will be for you.
Regardless of when a settlement occurs in the process, the settlement amount often depends on the attorney’s skill in negotiating and presenting solid arguments on behalf of their client. The prospect of having to deal with negotiations can be intimidating to an injury victim, but don’t worry — it’s a lawyer’s job to engage with the other party and negotiate on your behalf. In fact, you should never try to negotiate with the liable party or an insurance agent if you aren’t represented by an attorney.
At The Smith Law Center, we have experience with settling in and out of court, and have proven our competency in negotiations time and time again. We prepare each case as if it is going to trial, but are prepared to fight hard for our clients when it comes to settlements.
Hire a Lawyer for Slip and Fall Settlements
At first glance, slip and fall accidents can seem minor. However, they can often involve serious injuries that result in major losses to the victim. Obtaining compensation for such losses will help the victim and their family deal with the tremendous financial pressure that can result from an accident case.
When selecting a slip and fall lawyer to represent you for your claim, you need a lawyer with the experience and resources to negotiate on your behalf. The Smith Law Center is the largest firm on the peninsula and one of the largest in Virginia. Our founder, Stephen Smith, is internationally recognized for his work on traumatic brain injury cases and has over 44 years of experience in the matter.
If you or a loved one were injured in a slip and fall, contact us immediately at (757) 244-7000 to learn more about your legal rights and options. Any delays could affect the outcome of your settlement, so be sure to reach out as soon as you believe you have a case.
Slip and Fall Settlements: FAQs
How long do slip and fall settlements take?
A typical slip and fall settlement can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to complete. This depends on the exact case, as well as the timing of the settlement negotiations. If trial has already started, it may take longer to fully resolve the matter due to the legal procedures involved in a trial. Why would someone want to settle a slip and fall case?
In most cases, people seek slip and fall settlements as a way of avoiding a full lawsuit and shortening the entire legal process. If the parties can reach an agreement on their own regarding the compensation, it can help reduce the time and resources spent in court. Common reasons for settling a case include:
- Saving time and money by avoiding a full trial
- The parties basically agree on the compensation amount to begin with
- One party feels they will probably lose if they proceed with trial
- New evidence was introduced at trial that affected the potential outcome
Lastly, a settlement agreement may be more beneficial than other forms of compensation (such as a jury verdict), as the parties will be able to tailor exactly what the settlement will cover.
How much is my slip and fall settlement worth?
Every slip and fall case is different. Slip and fall compensation amounts will depend on several factors, including:
- The seriousness of the injuries
- Which party or parties are liable for the slip and fall
- The degree to which the party was liable
Calculation of general and special damages can be a complex matter. A qualified attorney can help obtain a settlement amount that best helps the victim obtain justice.
How can a slip and fall attorney help me?
Slip and fall settlements require extensive knowledge of injury laws and other matters. An attorney can help with the following when it comes to slip and fall settlements:
- Preparing any documents, records, and receipts in support of the claim
- Determining the various damages and losses from the injury
- Negotiating with the other side to ensure the proper figure is reached
- Handling any legal procedures or filing matters with the court if needed
Contact the slip and fall attorneys at The Smith Law Center for representation and assistance with any legal conflicts. We take a thorough, no-nonsense approach to settlements and fight zealously to ensure our clients are properly compensated. Get in touch with us today at (757) 244-7000 for a cost-free review of your case.
“I was very happy with the Smith Law center. They are professional, attentive and will truly fight for you. The entire office is very nice and communicates throughout the whole process. Mr. Gill is fantastic as well as the paralegals and the other administration team.”
“The attorneys and staff are great to work with. They care not only about obtaining a successful recovery, but ensuring their clients know what options are available for protecting the recovery long-term.”