It can take anywhere from months to years to receive a settlement for a slip and fall claim depending on all of the factors in a specific case. These factors include things like waiting for the final cost of medical treatment and negotiations with insurance companies over a settlement amount.
It happens all the time. People slip and fall. For most, these accidents only result in minor bumps and bruises but what happens to those that are not as lucky? What happens when a slip and fall is the result of another person’s wrongful actions or negligence and causes the victim to suffer injuries, pain, and medical expenses?
If you have suffered injuries due to a slip and fall accident, you should not have to endure the traumatizing repercussions by yourself. You deserve to seek justice and financial relief for the damages you experienced.
What often stops many victims from pursuing the compensation they need is the belief that they do not qualify for any money, or the worry that the process will take too long to resolve.
To clear up some of this confusion surrounding these types of accidents, we have prepared the following blog post. In it, we will discuss the legal options you have after a slip and fall incident, the factors that can impact how long a slip and fall case can take, and how a personal injury attorney can help you get the money you are entitled to.
The Slip and Fall Lawsuit Process
In most cases, when you have been involved in a slip and fall incident, you will need to file a claim with the property owner’s liability insurance provider. Once the insurance provider receives it, they will send an adjuster to investigate the claim and negotiate a settlement based on their findings.
It is at this point that you need to consider speaking with a slip and fall attorney about your case if you have not already. They can walk you through the process of dealing with insurance, negotiate on your behalf, and take your claim to trial if necessary.
It is important to understand that this process can take anywhere from a few weeks to years to resolve. When you work with a skilled lawyer, you can trust that they can handle the whole process for you, from the day your claim is filed to the day your settlement check arrives – making sure to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Settling Slip and Fall Claims: What You Need to Know
Typically, when handling these claims, you will be dealing with the defendant’s insurance carrier. Even though most of these claims end up settling, it is not as easy as many people expect it to be.
The insurance carrier is a business, and like other businesses, they want to make money.
By paying out less on your claim, these insurance companies end up making a profit. That is why insurance adjusters will try any tactic they can to settle your claim for less than you are owed or try to deny your claim altogether.
When you work with an experienced lawyer, you will not have to worry about these unethical insurance tactics. A slip and fall lawyer can take on these discussions and negotiations with the adjuster and ensure you do not say anything that can hurt your claim while going after a reasonable settlement amount on your behalf.
Accepting or Refusing a Settlement Offer
In some slip and fall cases, the insurance company may offer you a settlement amount shortly after your accident. Before you accept this money, you need to consider several factors.
For instance, this amount will need to cover not only your current medical expenses but your future bills and medical needs. Quite often, the first settlement amount is a meager offer that will barely cover anything.
If you accept an offer, you will not be able to ask for more money down the road.
For these reasons, you must wait to settle a claim until you have finished your medical treatment and have a better understanding of the care you will require in the future.
You do not have to take the first offer you receive. In most cases, it is in your best interest to negotiate a settlement amount with the help of an attorney.
An injury lawyer can go over these settlement offers with you and determine if they are a fair offer to you. If they are not, your attorney can resume negotiations and fight for a settlement that is fair.
If the other side is unwilling to negotiate for a fair offer or is acting in bad faith, your lawyer can take your case to trial and fight for the maximum damages you deserve.
Types of Compensation You Can Get in a Slip and Fall Case
If you have been injured in an accident because of another person’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions, you may be entitled to certain types of compensation.
Typically, this includes the following damages:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
Economic Damages: These damages include actual and verifiable losses that result from the accident, including:
- Medical expenses including past, current, and future medical bills (doctor visits, hospital stay, prescription medications, and surgeries)
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitative therapy, such as occupational and physical therapy
- Replacement services
- At-home nursing care
- Personal property damages
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic Damages: These damages also include losses, but unlike economic damages, they are rather subjective and hard to quantify. They include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of reputation
Punitive Damages: Unlike compensatory damages (economic and non-economic damages), which are designed to compensate the victim for their losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their egregious and wrongful actions and to deter them and others from committing these acts in the future.
However, in Kentucky, the court only awards these damages when the victim proves with clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with fraud, malice, or oppression.
Pain & Suffering in Slip & Fall Cases
Slip and fall cases result in more than just physical harm. Many times victims also endure severe pain, suffering, and emotional anguish.
Even though many people have heard of these terms, relatively few understand that they are actually a vital component of a claim.
Pain and Suffering—What is it?
Pain and suffering is a legal term used to describe the emotional and physical stress that results from an injury or accident.
It encompasses physical pain and the mental and emotional injuries that occur, such as grief, worry, loss of enjoyment of life, and fear. Some damages that often come under this category include depression, permanent or temporary limitations on activities, and even the potential shortening of life.
Proving Pain and Suffering and Emotional Distress in a Slip and Fall Case
Proving pain and suffering damages is a complicated and tedious process that requires extensive evidence, including:
- Photographs, videos, and personal journals showing the victim’s emotional and physical well-being after the accident.
- Documentation from family and friends showing how the victim’s injury negatively impacted their life.
- Proof of medical treatment, such as documentation from a medical professional indicating that the victim’s injuries resulted in intense pain, anxiety, and depression.
What are Pain and Suffering and Emotional Distress in a Settlement?
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to calculate pain and suffering and emotional distress damages.
This is often because these damages are not only incredibly subjective, but they will also depend on a variety of factors.
These factors usually include the following:
- The extent and severity of your injury
- The state’s laws regarding pain and suffering
- The method used to calculate these damages
- The impact that this injury had on your relationships, life, and your job
- The length of time it will take to heal (if ever)
- The medical treatments you will need now and in the future
Any non-physical harm resulting from a slip and fall can fall under the umbrella of emotional distress, as well as pain and suffering.
Before you decide on any settlement offer, you first need to figure out what amount reasonably matches the extent of your emotional distress and the pain and suffering you and your family had to endure.
As this amount can vary dramatically depending on your case’s facts, you must discuss these damages with your injury attorney, so they can help you determine what a fair settlement is.
What Do You Do When Emotional Pain is Unbearable?
Emotional pain and distress should not be ignored. It is normal for a victim to experience an emotional response following an accident, such as anxiety, anger, or grief.
When this emotional pain starts to become unbearable and leads to a diminished quality of life, cognitive changes, or psychological trauma, you need to seek medical help and let your attorney know of this extensive emotional pain.
In many cases, these psychological injuries can outweigh the physical ones and need to be factored in during the settlement negotiations.
Contact an Attorney Today
Do not wait to seek legal help after a slip and fall injury disrupts your life. Instead, reach out to an experienced accident attorney and go after the money you need to start rebuilding your life as quickly as possible.
The personal injury lawyers at David Bryant Law have years of experience in providing sound legal advice for people injured in accidents. Contact us today using the form on this page for more information or to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.