It only takes a moment for a slip and fall accident to occur, yet that moment can have lasting consequences. You may break a bone, dislocate a shoulder or suffer a severe head injury. Your medical care could include hospitalization, surgery and rehabilitation therapy. What’s more, you and your family may experience financial hardship if you are unable to work as a result of your injuries.
If you believe the property/premises owner was responsible for your accident, you might be thinking about filing a lawsuit. If so, you are probably wondering how much compensation you will receive. While every case is different, here’s a general guide to the kind of settlement you can expect from your slip and fall case.Do You Have a Case?
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, the following conditions must be met in order to sue the property/premises owner:
Your claim must be filed within the three-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Michigan.
You must have sustained an actual injury and have medical records that document your injuries, physical and mental/emotional, if applicable.
Your injuries must be directly caused by a fall that occurred because of a hazardous condition on someone else’s property/premises.
However, simply fulfilling these criteria does not guarantee you will win your lawsuit. To prevail, you will also need to demonstrate that the property/premises owner was responsible for your fall. This means proving the owner (or their representative) knew or should have known about the hazard and failed to take care of it in a timely manner.
Therefore, it’s important to consult an experienced slip and fall lawyer to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation.
Because compensation is based on many factors, there is no one-size-fits-all slip and fall settlement amount. However, plaintiffs who have sustained serious injuries often receive settlements that are significantly higher. Examples are people who require surgery, extensive physical therapy or are permanently disabled as a result of a slip and fall accident.
A thorough medical work-up is needed to determine the extent and severity of a slip and fall injury. Physicians from differing specialties may be called on to evaluate your condition and future prognosis.
Recommended Reading: Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Furthermore, a victim who has suffered lasting harm is likely to recover substantial compensation for pain and suffering. In serious injury cases, your attorney may ask for compensation that is several times higher than the economic damages.
Compensation for a slip and fall claim consists of two parts: (1) tangible economic losses such as medical bills and lost income and (2) non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. In Michigan, however, you cannot receive non-economic damages if a jury finds you are more than 50% at fault for the accident.
Like many other states, Michigan follows the doctrine of “modified comparative negligence.” This means your compensation may be reduced by the degree you were at fault.
If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may be considered partially at fault from a legal standpoint:
Suppose your attorney negotiates a settlement of $100,000. However, you were determined to be 30% at fault because you were not paying attention when you tripped. In that case, your settlement is reduced by 30% and you would receive $70,000, or 70% of the amount you won.
Property/Premises owners are not automatically responsible for every dangerous condition. The law considers whether the owner knew or “should have known” about the hazard. Generally, you will receive more compensation if the property/premises owner knew about a danger and did nothing about it.
In addition, proving negligence can be challenging. This is one reason plaintiffs who hire experienced slip and fall attorneys have better outcomes than those who file their own claims.
The amount of compensation you receive depends more on the strength of your case than on whether it goes to trial. Settling a slip and fall claim in or out of court requires many of the same steps, the first of which is filing a lawsuit.
Once all the information is obtained, including medical records, your attorney may send a “demand package” to the responsible party. This includes the specific amount of compensation you are seeking and the supporting documentation. From there, the two parties may begin negotiations.
If they cannot reach an agreement that is acceptable to both sides, the case may be scheduled for trial. Often, a case is settled before the actual court date. A knowledgeable slip and fall lawyer is best able to advise you on whether to accept an offer or proceed to court.
In any case, you want to hire an attorney who has trial experience and is not reluctant to go to court if necessary. Often, a defendant is more likely to offer a fair settlement when up against a lawyer who is willing fight for the compensation you deserve.
However, you should never accept an out-of-court settlement without consulting a lawyer. Many insurance companies offer hasty and low-ball settlements before you have a chance to properly assess your damages or hire an attorney. And, once you sign those papers, you lose your right to sue for a larger amount if your injuries prove to be more serious.
Slip and fall law is complicated, but finding the right accident attorney is simple.
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