There is no certain answer to how much your slip and fall claim is worth because every case differs.
Even with the facts of your case, the progress of negotiations could affect how much money you will actually end up with.
Once you understand how courts and insurance companies value slip and fall claims, however, you will be in a better position to estimate your claim’s value.
Elements of Damages
How much is a slip and fall worth? The answer is more complex and nuanced than you might imagine.
The complexity, however, does render the expected payout in your particular case to be far more specific than just a wild guess.
Following are some of the major components of damages.
To properly estimate your claim’s value, you need to factor in both present and future medical bills.
Normally, you should wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)—the point where you are not expected to recover any further—before filing a claim.
This will allow you to accurately calculate your medical bills and estimate the cost of any ongoing or future treatment.
Calculating future medical bills can get tricky if your injury results in long-term consequences. You need to get it right, however. Once you receive a verdict or settlement, there will be no way for you to ask for more money later.
Retaining a skilled personal injury lawyer is your best best bet for accurately calculating long-term medical expenses. You might also need to consult with a medical expert on this matter.
How long did your injury keep you out of work? A day? A month? Will you have to quit your job or retire early due to your injuries? You need to calculate your losses to date plus your anticipated future losses.
The younger you are and the more money you were making at the time of the accident, the more this element of damages is likely to amount to.
You might incur a number of incidental expenses as a consequence of your injuries including child care, parking fees and gas expenses for medical appointments, etc. Be sure to document and claim all of them.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages compensate you for the physical suffering that you endured as a result of your accident. Some injuries hurt more than others.
Courts are quite generous when apportioning pain and suffering damages, and as a consequence, insurance companies are often willing to settle for more.
Pain and suffering damages can amount to several times the total amount of your medical bills.
Courts award punitive damages, if at all, above and beyond any amount they award for compensatory damages.
Most plaintiffs do not receive punitive damages, however. A defendant’s conduct must be outrageous for you to qualify.
Only a few cases qualify for punitive damages. Many states place statutory limits on the amount of punitive damages you can receive.
Examples of Slip and Fall Case Payouts
Slip and fall case payouts depend on many factors. Following are some examples of actual slip and fall recoveries.
Keep in mind, however, that although the examples below represent unusually generous payouts, recoveries such as these are not at all unheard of.
- $250,000 when a stairway railing snapped, causing a man to break his ankle and dislocate his hip.
- $235,000 when an elderly man suffered a serious hip injury after slipping on a puddle of water in a supermarket. Due to his age, the injury caused long-term chronic pain.
- $1.5 million when a woman slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk. The injury required surgery.
- $120,000 when a woman slipped on yellow “Caution” tape and suffered an injury that required foot surgery.
Slip and fall compensation varies so much that an “average payout” is essentially meaningless.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
If your injury was work-related, your claim will fall within the workers’ compensation system. Under workers’ compensation, you do not have to prove that your employer was at fault.
Unfortunately, however, you cannot receive pain and suffering or punitive damages. Workers’ compensation payouts tend to be smaller compared to ordinary personal injury claims.
The Bottom Line: How Much Is a Slip and Fall Case Worth?
It is impossible to give an exact value for a slip and fall claim.
When you are negotiating a claim, however, the opposing party is not likely to agree to pay much more than they believe you could win in court if the case went to trial.
As a general rule, take your expected payout (calculated as above), discount it by the likelihood that you would lose the case in court (30%, for example), and the resulting figure should be a reasonable approximation of the settlement value of your slip and fall claim.
Naturally, the better your lawyer is, the more likely you are to win in court, and the higher your expected claim value will be.
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It takes even more time to refuse initial offers and hold out for a settlement offer that reflects the true value of your claim.
Meanwhile, you’ve got bills to pay that cannot wait for a settlement check to arrive. It’s a dilemma. In many ways, a lawsuit loan is a perfect solution to this dilemma.
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