Slips and falls frequently cause workplace injuries but can happen anywhere. Various conditions, like wet floors, uneven walkways, or loose floorboards, can set the stage for slips and falls.
Some slip-and-fall victims walk away with nothing more than their pride hurt. Unfortunately, others may suffer serious injuries and even wrongful death. Slips and falls account for 15 percent of workplace accidental deaths in the US. In 2020, 42,114 individuals died in falls at work and home, while 6,841,044 suffered nonfatal injuries.
Anyone can get hurt in slip-and-fall accidents. However, some groups have increased risk than others. The elderly and those working in electrical and construction fields are more susceptible to slip-and-fall injuries and fatalities. The consequences can be pretty dire, physically, emotionally, and financially.
However, accident victims of slip-and-fall cases may be eligible to recover damages through a premises liability claim. Like most personal injury cases, premises liability involves establishing negligence and proving who is at fault for the accident. However, the liable party’s insurance company may try to deny your claim.
That’s why a personal injury attorney’s experience and knowledge would be a valuable resource in your slip-and-fall case. Find out the average slip-and-fall settlement and how lawyers can help you secure fair compensation.
How Premises Liability Works in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
When you enter someone’s property, you have a reasonable expectation of not getting hurt. But there are instances where the property owners fail to keep their premises free of dangerous conditions. If an accident like slips and falls happens on someone’s property, premises liability may arise.
Besides slips and falls, premises liability encompasses other personal injury cases. It can include dog or animal attacks, electrical accidents, chemical exposure, and negligent security.
No matter the type of premises liability, accident victims must prove they sustained injuries due to some hazard on someone’s property.
Proving fault for premises liability can be complex. Different states have different rules and conditions for injured victims to pursue compensation. This is why having a personal injury lawyer from a reliable law firm is crucial for your premises liability case.
Suppose you or a loved one sustained severe injuries after falling on another’s property. You may have a valid claim for a fair settlement in that case. The following elements of negligence must exist for slip-and-fall accidents to have grounds of premises liability.
Duty of care
A duty of care is a property owner’s legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm to others. They have the following legal obligation:
- Maintain the premises in reasonably good condition
- Discover potential hazards and take steps to address them
- Provide foreseeable visitors with warnings of any known hazards
Establishing that the legal property owner has this duty towards the victim is essential in a premises liability claim. Additionally, how you enter the premises also affects the degree of responsibility the owner owes to you. The following are three categories of people who might be on someone else’s property:
Invitees have implied or direct permission to be on the property for business purposes. They can be shoppers at a grocery store, job applicants, or a delivery person.
If you’re an invitee, the property owner owes you the highest duty of care. This means they have the responsibility to repair and correct known dangers. They also have an obligation to reasonably examine, discover, and remedy unknown hazards in areas accessible to you.
Licensees also have express or implied consent to enter the property but for social reasons or their benefit. They may be party guests, visiting friends and family, neighbors, or someone who came to use the restroom in a store.
If you’re a licensee, the level of care owed to you is lower than that of an invitee. Property owners must warn you of any known hazards. But they don’t have a duty to inspect the property for dangerous conditions or remedy them once discovered.
Trespassers don’t have the owner’s authorization to be on the premises. Although property owners are not legally responsible for protecting trespassers, they cannot willfully injure them.
Properties with attractive nuisances like a pool require the owners to take reasonable measures to prevent harm to trespassers. This applies particularly to children who may get into dangerous situations like unguarded swimming pools, abandoned automobiles, and tree houses.
Breach of duty
After establishing a duty of care, the next element is a breach of that duty. You must prove that the owner failed to meet their legal obligation because of carelessness or negligence.
Carelessness refers to any activity of the property owner that helps create a hazardous situation. Meanwhile, negligence happens when there’s a known danger on the property, but the owner does nothing to fix it.
Here are some relevant questions to consider when determining whether the owner of the premises breached their duty of care.
- Did the property owner know about the dangerous condition of the premises?
- Could the property owner have prevented the slip-and-fall accident from occurring?
- Did the property owner warn invitees and licensees about the hazards?
Causation and proof of injuries
Causation is another factor when proving premises liability. Just because you slip and fall and get injured on a property doesn’t mean the owner is automatically liable. You must show that the property owner’s breach of duty directly caused your injuries.
Insurance companies may dispute that your injuries were not related to the dangerous conditions on the premises. Proving that you sustained injuries at the property because of the owner’s carelessness and negligence is essential.
Seeking medical treatment immediately after the accident is one way to prove that. This will demonstrate that your injuries are consistent with the recent slip-and-fall accident you had on the property.
The plaintiff must also prove the defendant’s action or inaction resulted in specific harm or loss in a premises liability case. They can get compensation through damages such as financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and property loss.
Punitive damages, an additional amount awarded as punishment for particularly reckless conduct, may also be awarded in some cases.
Who can be liable for a slip-and-fall injury?
The impact of slip-and-fall accidents can cause minor to severe injuries. It usually happens when you lose your balance or footing and fall to the ground.
The fall speed and landing place can affect the severity of your injuries. Although every accident differs, victims commonly sustain one or more of these slip-and-fall injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Fractured or broken bones
- Soft tissue Injuries
- Dislocated shoulders
- Neck and back injuries
These types of slip-and-fall injuries often require medical assistance, which can be costly. But accident victims don’t have to bear the burden of expensive medical costs alone.
You could seek financial compensation if your slip-and-fall injuries directly resulted from someone else’s negligence. Below are different parties you can hold liable for your slip-and-fall accidents and the resulting harm.
If you slip and fall on someone’s residential property, the homeowner may be responsible for your accident and injuries. But they have to be negligent in a way that causes you harm.
You can’t automatically hold them liable if you only slip because you lose your balance. However, the homeowner may be held accountable if you fall due to a wet floor, unfinished construction, or any known danger.
Local, state, or federal government entities can also be held accountable for injuries occurring on their property. But these cases are much more complex. There might be immunity provisions that protect the government from premises liability.
Additionally, accident victims will have to meet stringent requirements. In many cases, they may have barely a few weeks to report the incident and preserve their premises liability claim.
Restaurant, store, or other business owners can be held responsible for accidents on their premises. But they are only legally accountable if it happens because of negligence or failure to take appropriate preventative action.
Suppose you get injured on the business property without evidence that the owner was negligent. In that case, you may not have a viable slip-and-fall claim against the business owner.
Slip and fall accident victims can often hold multiple people or entities liable, primarily if it occurs on commercial property. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help determine liability and assess whether you have a viable slip-and-fall claim.
Types of Damages in a Slip and Fall Case
Injured victims could pursue damages after a slip-and-fall accident if someone’s negligence caused it. Damages refer to monetary awards for the injuries and losses suffered in personal injury incidents like slip-and-falls.
The financial compensation you may be legally eligible to receive depends on the facts of your case and state laws. But generally, the type of damages available in a slip-and-fall case includes the following:
These damages aim to compensate you for direct financial losses related to your slip-and-fall accident and injury. Because they’re tied to an actual monetary value, economic damages are the easiest to quantify and prove.
You can show the direct financial harm of a slip-and-fall accident through financial records, bills, invoices, receipts, and tax returns. Significant economic damages may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of wages and earning capacity
- Physical therapy or vocational rehabilitation costs
- Accident-related out-of-pocket expenses
Depending on the severity of your injuries, your quality of life may diminish after a slip-and-fall accident. Non-economic damages compensate you for the reduced quality of life and the shock of adjusting to it.
These losses can be just as financially devastating as economic damages, especially in cases involving serious injuries. But since they’re subjective, non-economic losses are much more challenging to calculate and prove.
Under these types of damages, you may be able to recover compensation for one or more of the following:
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium or companionship
Unlike economic and non-economic losses, these damages are not meant to compensate the victim. Instead, punitive damages punish liable individuals or entities and deter similar wrongdoings in the future.
Punitive damages are not awarded frequently and are often available in cases that involve injuries caused by criminal acts. These types of damages may also be appropriate in some premises liability cases. But they can be extremely challenging to recover.
What’s the average settlement for slip-and-fall accidents?
Like many victims, you probably wonder how much is the average payout for slips and falls. The circumstances surrounding every injury are unique, so it may be hard to determine the actual value of your losses.
While some losses are easy to quantify, others are much more difficult to calculate. But using the multiplier method, for a nonfatal slip-and-fall case, the average settlement ranges from $10,000 and $50,000. Slip and fall claims involving fatal injuries commonly settle for over $200,000.
The exact fall and slip settle amounts take numerous factors into account. Thus, the average payout may be different from your actual case. However, you can estimate a fair settlement based on the damages and compensation formula.
The first step of the formula involves adding up all your economic damages. Once added up, the resulting number is multiplied by 1.5 to 5 (multiplier) to estimate non-economic damages.
The multiplier depends on how badly the accident has affected your life. Minor injuries often qualify for a multiplier of one up to three. Meanwhile, severe injuries that are long-term and incapacitating may receive a multiplier of 5 or more times. The total amount will then be added to any lost income due to your injuries.
The sum of economic losses and estimated non-economic damages becomes the starting point of settlement negotiations. Typically, insurance adjusters won’t tell you what formula they’re using to value your slip-and-fall claim.
That’s because insurance companies are known for low settlement offers. But an experienced personal injury attorney will negotiate and get the compensation you deserve.
Factors That Affect Your Slip and Fall Settlement
The facts of every personal injury claim are different, so settlement amounts can vary significantly. It’s possible to estimate how much you may get. But no single formula will determine your exact slip-and-fall settlement amount. The final payout still depends on several factors, including the following.
Type and extent of your injuries
The type and extent of your injuries are significant factors when assessing the settlement value of your slip-and-fall case. Naturally, accidents that result in the most serious injuries will possibly have a serious and long-term impact on your quality of life.
The pain and suffering in severe injuries may be more substantial compared to minor injuries. They will also cause you to incur more medical costs and lost wages. In worse cases, you may be unable to return to work or participate in activities you used to love.
All those factors can increase the value of your slip-and-fall settlement. But even if you sustain a minor injury, it could affect your daily life. It’s crucial to seek medical attention and legal help, no matter the nature and severity of your injuries.
Some states have shared fault rules of negligence. This means that the court can issue percentages of fault to both the plaintiff and defendant if the case warrants it.
The legal damages that injured victims who were partially liable for their slip-and-fall may be reduced. How much it will decrease will depend on the percentage of fault.
Unfortunately, the rule in some states bars victims from recovering anything if they contributed to the accident. Known as contributory negligence, you have no right to compensation if you’re even one percent at fault under this rule.
Status on the property
Your status at the place where you slipped and fell can also affect the outcome of your premises liability case and settlement amount. If you’re a trespasser, you may have a more challenging time getting compensation for your injuries.
An injured licensee might get compensation if the property owner knew the dangerous condition existed but did nothing. Meanwhile, invitees injured on the premises are generally eligible for the highest award.
Amount of medical bills
Slip and fall injuries may require medical attention. Typically, it constitutes a large basis of the total amount of your slip-and-fall settlement. Insurance adjusters often place significant weight on your medical expenses to calculate their payouts. This is because the cost of medical expenses is straightforward and easily measurable.
Like other personal injury cases, slip-and-fall accidents depend heavily on collected evidence. The insurance company won’t take your word for what happened.
As the injured party making a claim, you must provide proof of the accident and injury. The collected evidence can impact the strength of your premises liability case and the maximum payout you can receive.
It’s typical for insurance companies to offer as low a payout as possible on your personal injury claim. But gathering the following will help establish the financial compensation you deserve.
- Pictures of the slip-and-fall scene
- Witness testimonies
- Medical bills
- Personal journals that document your pain
- Photos of your injuries in various stages of recovery
- Doctor’s notes and treatment plan
- Employment records
How can an experienced slip-and-fall attorney help you?
Slip and fall lawsuits involve complex legal issues and specific requirements that you need to meet. Only some slip-and-falls require an attorney’s guidance. But getting legal help from a slip-and-fall lawyer can significantly impact your case.
Like many accident victims, you may wonder why you need a lawyer. It would be best if you avail of the free consultation most law firms offer. In any case, here are the things an experienced slip-and-fall attorney can do for you.
Investigate your premises liability case thoroughly
It’s not always easy to identify what causes a slip-and-fall. Even if the dangerous condition is determined, proving the property owner’s negligence and that it caused your injuries are essential. This can be challenging without the help of a lawyer.
A skilled slip-and-fall attorney will thoroughly investigate your premises liability case and collect the necessary evidence. They won’t only look into what caused your accident but also who is at fault.
Calculate the compensation you deserve
Considering all the damages in your slip-and-fall case is exceptionally challenging. But an experienced attorney can help establish the value of your injuries and losses. After proving that the property owner was responsible for your accident, the lawyer will calculate how much your claim is worth.
Negotiate with insurance adjusters
Insurance adjusters often offer injured victims as low a payout as possible. A lawyer’s thorough knowledge and expertise make negotiating for a better settlement easier.
Insurers are more likely to take your slip-and-fall claim seriously when a lawyer advocates for your interests. In most cases, those who lawyers represent receive larger payouts than those who handle their claims alone.
Represent you in court if necessary
Most slip-and-fall claims settle out of court. But there are instances where the parties cannot reach a fair settlement. A slip-and-fall attorney can file a lawsuit and represent you in court.
Besides helping you file claims, settlements, and appeals, they will handle all the talking during trials. They will ensure you have all the suitable types of evidence even before your case goes to trial.
Insurance companies are looking for ways to reduce or reject your slip-and-fall claim. Only talk to an insurance adjuster with an experienced personal injury lawyer present.
Get Help for Your Slip-and-Fall Case
Were you hurt in a slip-and-fall accident? Getting a better understanding of your legal rights and options during this stressful time is essential.
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, it’s always wise to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Finding the right attorney specializing in your case may seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be with the resources and help of The Personal Injury Center.
We can easily connect you to the best slip-and-fall attorney in your area by getting a free case evaluation. Contact us now to learn more about the steps you need to take.
Protect your legal rights with The Personal Injury Center. Get a free assessment for your slip-and-fall case.
FAQs on Calculating the Average Settlement for a Slip and Fall Case
Slip and fall lawsuits are personal injury cases, meaning they have a two-year statute of limitations for filing a claim.
Typical cases of slip-and-fall accidents last anywhere from six months to six years. But it may take longer for complicated matters, particularly when the other party disputes your claim.
Slips and falls can happen anywhere, but they commonly occur in the following places:
- Damaged or wet sidewalks and walkways
- Public spaces with wet floors
- Nursing homes
- Manufacturing or construction sites
- Parking lots and garages
- Restaurants and retail stores