Slip and fall cases, and the settlements they generate, are some of the most misunderstood personal injury cases. Much-lampooned in the media, they are subject to public skepticism while receiving less serious attention than car accidents.
Yet slip and fall cases can be life-altering. For some elderly adults, they can make a dramatic change in that person’s quality of life and ability to enjoy their daily activities. Even younger, healthier people can cause major injuries that result in expensive hospital and physical therapy bills. Medicaid will not cover all of those expenses.
Here’s what you need to know about slip and fall settlements.
Slip and fall cases are about negligence.
Like most personal injury cases, slip and fall cases, also known as premises liability cases, are about negligence. There is no law that compensates anyone who gets hurt just because they get hurt. Sometimes people slip, trip, and fall and it’s not anyone’s fault. People can lose their balance, and property owners aren’t held accountable for that.
Rather, the law compensates you because someone did something they shouldn’t have done, or failed to do something that they should have done. This action or non-action then led directly to you getting hurt.
Some examples could be a property owner who knows that a stair rail is loose but fails to repair it. The rail comes loose while you’re walking up the stairs and you slip and fall as a result. That property owner had a responsibility to make their property safe as soon as they knew about the problem, or at the very least to post a warning. When they failed to do that, they created the potential for you to recover expenses associated with that injury.
Thus, the reason you feel is going to be very important. When you fall you should take photos if you can. When you have photos you have more evidence that can point to a maintenance problem or other hazard as the source of your injury. Even your shoes can be evidence that works for or against you, so take photos of those, too.
Timing is important too. For example, if you slip on any public property here in Cochrane, such as a public sidewalk that wasn’t salted and shoveled, you only have 10 days to notify the municipality that there was an incident.
Read More: How Do I Sue for Slip and Fall?
Do most slip and fall cases settle out of court?
Yes. Like most personal injury cases, most slip and fall cases settle out of court.
For the most part, nothing new is happening in most personal injury cases. The laws governing when a property insurance company has to pay a liability claim and why are well-worn.
What gets argued are the extent of the injuries, the extent of the pain and suffering, and the extent of the property owner’s liability. For example, Alberta is a comparative negligence province, so if it’s determined that someone knowingly took a risk then the ultimate award can be reduced by whatever percentage of the injury is considered to be that person’s “own fault.”
Nevertheless, eventually settlements are reached. Both sides know exactly how much the case is worth. They have a pretty good idea of what a judge or a jury will say. They tend to be arguing about a few percentage points here or there. Those percentage points can be significant: they can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars lost or gained. Yet in the end, most of the time, both sides go in with the idea that the insurance company is going to make some sort of payment.
There are exceptions. Sometimes the insurance company just isn’t realistic. Sometimes the facts of the case are a little less straightforward. Sometimes there actually are legal questions to argue, like the extent that a signed waiver protects a property owner, or whether a property owner really had enough time to rectify the problem, or a responsibility to do so. Those are the cases that go into litigation.
How are slip and fall settlements calculated?
There are two parts to your settlement.
The first is your actual expenses. These include:
- The actual amount of your medical bills.
- The projected value of your future medical bills.
- The actual amount of your lost wages and income while recovering from the injury.
- The actual amount of your lost income and earning opportunity as a result of the injury.
- The actual amount of other expenses associated with your case.
The second part is your pain and suffering amount. This compensates you for mental anguish, physical pain, and the ways that your life has changed as a result of the injury. This number is a lot more variable and negotiable.
In Alberta this figure is capped at $370,000. Minor, soft-tissue injuries are capped at $5,296. It will be your personal injury lawyer‘s job to get that amount as close to the maximum as possible.
What is the average settlement for a slip and fall case?
Every case is different. There is no real average for slip and fall settlement. The average hospital bill for a hip fracture is around $40,000. It can take six months to one year to recover from that sort of injury. Factor in all the other costs and a fractured hip case could be around $500,000. Yet someone who fractures a hip may also fracture a wrist or acquire a traumatic brain injury. Those cases will be significantly more expensive.
Most injuries are neither that intensive nor that expensive. In Canada, many cases settle for $10,000 to $40,000, and that’s more than enough to compensate most slip-and-fall victims for their losses.
How can I prove my pain and suffering in a slip and fall case?
One way is to show the hospital records. A fractured hip hurts. That’s established fact.
Another is to show the restrictions the doctor has placed you under. If you can’t walk without assistance anymore then you’ve undergone some anguish. You’ve lost some life enjoyment.
We’ll show any activities you can’t perform anymore, produce bills from any psychiatric help you’ve sought, and will find other ways to help you prove that your pain and suffering are real and deserve attention.
Read More: Pain and Suffering Compensation Claims
Is it hard to win a slip and fall case in Canada?
Slip and fall cases tend to have less evidence to back them than car accident cases. There aren’t always any witnesses to corroborate claims. Sometimes the victim is too hurt to take photos or to gather other evidence. It’s also hard to generate evidence that the property owner knew about the problem.
All this means you need an expert by your side if you’re going to win your slip and fall claim. Contact a lawyer as soon as you are medically capable of doing so.
Get Help With Your Slip & Fall Settlement
Our team of experienced and caring personal injury lawyers has a long track record of winning personal injury cases. Meeting with us is risk-free. Contact us to schedule your initial consultation today.
Call (403) 237-9777 to get started today.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much can you get out of pain and suffering?
How Is Suffering and Pain Calculated? Neither for a judge and jury nor for an insurance business, there is a straightforward pain and suffering calculation. Pain and suffering compensation is often calculated as a percentage of your special damages, typically ranging between 1.5 and 5 times the special damages in your claim.
What is a good settlement?
In circumstances where your injuries may be permanent or result in some form of handicap, a reasonable settlement offer should not only be able to pay for your medical expenses and legal fees but also come close to covering a year’s worth of your present earnings.
What do I do with a large settlement check?
- Pay off any debt: If you have any debt, this can be a great way to pay off all or as much of your debt as you want.
- Create an emergency fund: If you don’t have an emergency fund, using some of your settlement money to create one is a great idea.
What is a fair settlement?
A number of factors are considered when determining a fair settlement offer. In a personal injury lawsuit, the parties often try to reach a settlement agreement that takes into consideration the amount of money the plaintiff may collect through a court decision.