Slip and fall accidents happen when someone slips and falls, resulting in injuries. The dangers of slip and fall incidents include sprains and broken bones. Sprains happen when ligaments are stretched or torn. It usually affects the ankle, causing pain, swelling, and limited mobility. In some cases, doctors may recommend using crutches for support.
Another common fall injury is broken bones, especially around the knee area. A high-impact fall can even result in a fractured thigh bone. Patients with thigh bone fractures experience pain, swelling, and sensitivity in the affected area. The leg may also appear misaligned or crooked due to the fracture.
Slip and fall victims may also suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Severe injuries to the brain can cause seizures, infections, blood vessel damage, and even coma. Unfortunately, in some cases, TBIs can also cause the wrongful death of a loved one. Some patients may become brain-dead due to a lack of brain activity after a high-impact fall.
Hire a personal injury lawyer if you slip and fall on another’s property. They can provide guidance and support in pursuing maximum compensation from the at-fault party.
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Slip and Fall Settlements of 2021
With the help of premises liability lawyers, some plaintiffs can receive fair compensation for their injuries. Some successful slip-and-fall cases involve Walmart, Inc., a retailer operating supermarkets, grocery stores, and neighborhood markets.
Watts v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP
One notable Walmart slip and fall case involved Linda Watts. In October 2016, Watts slipped on a wet floor mat while exiting a Walmart store in Atlanta. The incident led to neck, back, and shoulder injuries, requiring surgery. As a result, she incurred substantial medical costs.
In September 2018, she sued the company and sought compensation of less than $100,000 to cover medical expenses. Watts alleged that before she stepped on the mat, Walmart knew that liquid was pooling under it. She also argued that the store failed to ensure the safety of its customers.
In her second amended complaint, she claimed Walmart failed to inspect the area where she slipped. During the pretrial, the company made a settlement offer of $600,000. But a jury in Georgia awarded more than $1.4 million to Watts.
The jury awarded her one million for pain and suffering. She is also set to receive $200,000 for medical expenses and $200,000 for attorney’s fees. Watts initially demanded less than $100,000 for medical bills, but the jury granted her $200,000.
Demeritt v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP
In November 2016, Judith Demeritt visited a Walmart store in Florida. Unfortunately, she slipped on a liquid leaking from the cooler to the floor. As a result, she sustained neck and arm injuries adding additional burden to her pre-existing disability.
In 2019, Demeritt filed a slip and fall lawsuit against Walmart, alleging that the company failed to maintain its flooring and created a trip hazard. She also argued that the store failed to warn her of the floor’s dangerous condition. On the other hand, the company asserted that it did not know of the leaks and Demeritt was responsible for her injuries.
A Florida jury found Walmart fully liable for Demeritt’s slip and fall accident. In their verdict, the jury awarded her $150,000 to cover lost earnings and medical expenses. Walmart must also pay her $1,850,000 for non-economic damages.
Amador v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP
In December 2016, Jessica Amador went to a Walmart store with her mother. While on the store premises, Amador followed her mother to the bathroom to assist her. According to Amador, a shopping cart was blocking the bathroom door, but they could still enter because it was unlocked.
While assisting her mother, she fell and hit the back of her head. Consequently, she suffered from muscle spasms, sprains, cervical disc herniations, and post-concussion syndrome. These injuries affected her ability to enjoy her hobbies. In May 2018, she sued the company, alleging that it failed to ensure the safety of its customers.
Walmart offered almost $75,000 to Amador, but she declined the payout. In 2021, a Florida jury awarded over $900,000 to Amador. According to the jury, Walmart was 95 percent liable for the incident. The company was ordered to pay $190,000 for medical treatment costs and $750,000 for non-economic damages.
Premises Liability Law
Certain circumstances can give rise to a property owner’s liability for another person’s injury. The premises liability law outlines the instances where an owner must compensate the injured party. Your slip-and-fall attorney must prove negligence and consider the defenses a property owner may invoke.
The elements of negligence in relation to premises liability include the following:
- The defendant has a legal duty to maintain the property;
- The defendant breached their obligation;
- Plaintiff suffered slip and fall injuries; and
- The causation between the breach and injuries.
An attorney can prove each element to solidify your claim. For instance, they can gather evidence showing the property owner failed to install heavy-duty handrails in their building. The evidence may include video footage and photos of the location. Your attorney can also request maintenance logs to know the actions taken on the staircase and handrails.
As a result of the incident, you experienced broken bones and sprains. In personal injury cases involving slips and falls, you must prove the resulting medical conditions. Your attorney can present medical records containing the diagnostic test results, treatments, and prescription records. The insurance company or other party can use such documents to calculate their potential offer.
Premises liability cases may also require proof that the property owner knew of the hazards or should have known of the dangerous conditions due to the lapse of sufficient time.
Suppose you went inside a building with freshly mopped floors. But the owner or manager failed to put warning signs for the wet floor. Due to their negligence, a customer slipped and suffered ankle injuries. This circumstance can give rise to a personal injury claim. Similarly, the injured party can request compensation from the property owner.
Status of injured persons
A person sustaining injuries while on another’s property does not automatically give rise to a personal injury lawsuit. Liability may depend on the category of visitors involved. Likewise, not all slip-and-fall victims can demand compensation.
Invitees are individuals who visit a property for business purposes, such as customers of a restaurant or grocery store. Property owners have a duty to inspect the premises and eliminate dangers, providing a safe space for the invitees. They must also warn them of any hazardous conditions.
On the other hand, licensees visit a property for personal intentions. They do not provide any economic benefit to the property owner. Examples of licensees include friends spending time at your house.
The owner has no duty to maintain the premises for licensees. However, they must warn the licensee of possible slip and fall hazards. Otherwise, they can be liable for any injuries a licensee sustains while on the property.
Section 768.075 of the Florida Statutes excuses an owner from liability if a trespasser sustains injuries while on their property. But an owner may still pay damages if the trespasser’s injuries or death resulted from the property owner’s gross negligence or intentional misconduct. The prohibited acts include setting traps for known trespassers.
Defenses against liability
Common defenses under personal injury law include contributory negligence, comparative negligence, and statute of limitations.
The contributory negligence rule bars a slip-and-fall claim if the plaintiff also acted negligently. For example, suppose the property owner posted warning signs. However, the visitor did not see the placard because they were distracted. Even if the injured individual is only one or two percent liable, they cannot recover compensation from the other party.
In contrast, comparative negligence reduces the recovery amount depending on the parties’ degree of negligence. Under the pure comparative negligence rule, plaintiffs can claim damages even for the one percent they are not liable for. On the other hand, the modified comparative negligence doctrine prevents recovery once the plaintiff’s degree of negligence reaches 50 or 51 percent. However, this rule varies per state.
The defendant may also invoke the statute of limitations. For instance, plaintiffs in California have two years to file a slip and fall claim. After the time limit prescribed by law has passed, the plaintiff can no longer recover damages from the at-fault party.
In some cases, the defendant may argue that they lacked adequate knowledge of the dangerous condition that caused the accident. They may assert that no sufficient time has lapsed for the employee to notice and address the spilled liquid.
Common Places for Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can happen everywhere. But they usually occur in supermarkets, restaurants, and nursing homes.
The common causes of fall accidents in supermarkets include:
- Liquid spills
- Flooring issues
- Lack of warning signs
- Parking lot hazards
For example, the grocery store may have uneven flooring due to missing floor tiles. Some supermarkets may also have uneven pavements and holes in their parking lots. If a customer sustains injuries from these hazards, they can institute a claim against the company.
A sample case involves a woman in Alabama who slipped and fell in a Dollar General store due to spilled laundry detergent. She underwent eight surgeries and had nearly 400 doctor visits. She also spent more than $470,000 on her medical treatments. She sued the company, and the jury awarded her $1,725,000.
Fall accident victims in restaurants usually suffer injuries because of the following conditions:
- Food spills
- Poor lighting
- Parking lot hazards
- Stair hazards
A related case involved Jorge Perez, who dined at Hibachi Buffet. He left his table and went to the bathroom. On his way, he did not notice any moisture on the floor and spent only a short time inside the restroom. Nevertheless, he slipped and fell on his way back to his table.
Perez sued the restaurant. Despite Hibachi Buffet’s attempts to discredit Perez, the jury awarded him $850,000. It was found that an employee had spilled liquid while taking dishes to the kitchen.
The common causes of fall accidents in long-term care facilities include the following:
- Old age and illnesses
- Poorly maintained wheelchairs
- Poor lighting
- Wet floors
Older adults usually experience muscle weakness, which can increase fall risk. As a result, they may have poor balance and show unsteadiness when standing or walking. Hence, caregivers must guide them to prevent serious injuries.
Since nursing home residents have an increased fall risk, they must only use regularly maintained wheelchairs. Owners and employees in such facilities must ensure the safety of all equipment. Moreover, they must eliminate fall hazards, including poor lighting, wet floors, and unstable furniture.
Damages in Slip and Fall Accidents
Personal injury settlements and verdicts may include payment for the following:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
The Amador v. Wal-Mart East, LP case shows a sample computation for the plaintiff’s compensation. In this particular case, the jury awarded $33,349.81 for past medical bills and $165,000 for future medical expenses. It also granted $200,000 for past pain and suffering and $550,000 for future mental anguish and inconvenience.
Did you know?
The average slip-and-fall settlement amount ranges from $10,000 to $50,000. However, it may be higher or lower depending on the unique facts of each case.
Find a Personal Injury Lawyer
Several cases show slip and fall victims receiving fair compensation with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. Some plaintiffs even won against multinational companies since their attorneys successfully established the elements of a slip and fall accident. It goes to show legal assistance from reliable attorneys is crucial to winning a personal injury lawsuit.
Visit The Personal Injury Center for free legal information about slip and fall accidents. Book your free consultation today, so we can connect you with a reliable attorney in your area.
Demand appropriate compensation for your injuries. Hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to know your case’s worth.
FAQs on Slip and Fall Settlements
You can claim compensation from their homeowners’ insurance. You do not need to sue and damage your relationship with a family member.
You can expect to receive the settlement proceeds after three to six weeks. The time frame mostly depends on the parties' cooperation and the case's complexity.
A deposition is a sworn, out-of-court testimony. At the deposition, the defense attorney will ask about basic background information. Subsequently, the interrogation will delve into the specifics surrounding the slip and fall accident and the resulting injuries.