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An Introduction to Slip and Fall Settlements

An Introduction to Slip and Fall Settlements

If you’ve ever walked into a place of business—a store, restaurant or other business establishment—when that floor was being mopped or cleaned with water and other substances—you may have noticed the large orange cones laid out, warning you that the floor was wet and slippery.  And although I’m sure you’d like to assume that those cones were placed there merely out of concern for your personal well-being, the more likely truth is that these cones are probably there to help businesses protect themselves from being liable in some type of slip and fall lawsuit.

If you have been injured from a slip or fall, and that slip or fall was the result of another’s negligence, you may be eligible for a slip and fall settlement.  In this article we will discuss slip and fall settlements in a bit more detail, including what constitutes slip and fall liability and what damages are usually covered.

Slip and Fall Settlements:  The Court Process

If you were injured in a “slip and fall” accident, you may decide to sue the party you think is responsible, and unless that party settles with you immediately, the case will more than likely go to court to determine whether or not the other party is indeed liable for your injuries.

Slip and fall cases are really no different than other types of personal injury lawsuits, and in court the burden of proof will lay squarely on you—the plaintiff—to prove that the other party—the defendant—whether that party is a business or an individual, is responsible for the injury-causing fall.  In other words, you must prove that if it hadn’t been for another’s carelessness or negligence, the fall could have been avoided.

If, after all the information has been presented in court, it is determined by either a judge or a jury that the defendant is at least partially at fault for the slip and fall accident, said defendant will be expected to pay an award to the plaintiff.  The amount of this award is usually determined by a personal injury calculator and depends upon a number of factors which will be covered in the next section.

What Damages Can You Claim under a Slip and Fall Settlement?

In most cases, the amount of a slip and fall settlement will be limited to the amount of money the injured party had to pay as the result of medical bills, but there are several other factors to consider which may increase the size of the award.  Below is a look at some of these conditions:

  • Medical and Hospital Bills.  Any money paid by you or your insurance company in medical expenditures, whether or not you were actually hospitalized, can be claimed in a slip and fall settlement.
  • Pain and Suffering.  Pain and suffering is a rather abstract claim, but if your injuries were severe enough to cause you an inordinate amount of pain and suffering, there are provisions where you can be awarded monetary compensation for these conditions.
  • Lost Wages.  If the slip and fall in question was severe enough to cause you to miss work, you are certainly eligible to claim these lost wages as part of your slip and fall settlement.
  • Property Damage.  This is rare in slip and fall settlements, but if any of your personal property was lost or damaged as the result of the fall—things like laptop computers, cell phones or sunglasses—you may be eligible to be compensated for your loss.
  • Other.  Things like ambulance charges would fit into the “other category.

Most personal injury attorneys who handle slip and fall cases will usually instruct their clients to claim the maximum allowable amount of damages, as rarely do judges or juries give the plaintiff 100 percent of the damages he/she is claiming.

After a slip and fall settlement has been awarded, payment for the damages can be expected in one of two ways.  The first is a lump sum payment, in which all the damages are paid at once.  The other, and the much more common form of payment, is a structured settlement in which the damages will be paid over time, usually in monthly or annual installments.

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