Settlements for slip-and-fall claims can be anywhere from $10,000 to over $1 Million Dollars. The circumstances of every slip-and-fall accident are different, and so settlement amounts can vary. The value of a settlement will be determined by the nature and extent of your injuries, in addition to any economic losses you or your loved ones sustain.
Table of Contents
What Is the Average Settlement for Slip and Fall Claims in Illinois?
Determining the average settlement amount for a slip and fall injury is difficult, since each case has its own unique circumstances and details that affect the size of the claim. The severity of the injuries, circumstances leading to the slip and fall, who the responsible party is and the amount of insurance available to the responsible party can impact the final settlement amount.
For example, an elderly person in a nursing home might suffer a fall due to neglectful care workers. In this case, the injuries sustained, cause of injuries, and damages may be different from a high income earning worker falling at a construction site with inadequate safety measures.
Falls can lead to injuries that result in long-term or permanent disability. They can also result in death. Until the full nature and extent of the injury can be established, it would be dishonest to claim to know what proper compensation for an injury would be.
What Affects the Size of a Slip and Fall Settlement?
There are several factors that can affect the size of your slip and fall settlement amount. The two biggest ones are the severity of your injuries and the extent each party was at fault for the accident. The strength of your evidence, the size of your medical bills, and lost wages will also have an impact on the final calculated amount. A slip and fall attorney can review the details of your case and can help determine a fair settlement amount.
The Extent of Your Injuries
How badly you have been injured has a big effect on your settlement amount. Minor injuries can be quicker to heal, easier to treat, and result in only short term disability. These cases are usually quicker to settle.
More severe injuries take longer to heal, cost more to treat, and may cause lost income because you are not able to work. They tend to be more painful because of their severity, and may cause chronic pain. Severe injuries are also more likely to leave permanent disfigurements, have long-term consequences, result in permanent partial or total disability, or reduce your ability to work and earn an income in the future. Permanent injuries will often result in future medical bills for ongoing medical care and possible future surgery.
Every one of these issues need to be taken into account in evaluating fair compensation in arriving at a settlement. The more severe your injuries are, the more complex the factors that have to be taken into consideration for settlement.
Illinois uses comparative negligence as a principle when recovering damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Comparative negligence assigns a percentage of fault to each party in an accident. A person has to be less than 50% at fault to be able to claim damages, and his or her damages are reduced by the percentage that he or she was at fault.
For example, in some cases your careless conduct may have contributed to the fall. If you were found to be 60% at fault, you will not have a claim. If you were found to be 20% at fault, your damages are reduced by 20%. So, if your damages are $100,000, they will be reduced by 20%, and you will only be entitled to receive $80,000 compensation. Therefore, in order to determine the proper settlement, the facts surrounding the cause of the fall have to be taken into account.
Slip and fall accidents fall under the umbrella of premises liability. If a property owner invites you to his or her property or business but fails to ensure that the property is safe, he or she is likely to be considered at fault if you slip and fall.
Examples of unsafe property conditions that can lead to a slip and fall accident include:
- Steps that either have damaged handrails or do not have handrails installed.
- Steps that were built in violation of industry standards.
- Wet floors.
- Gutters, downspouts or grading that causes an unnatural accumulation of ice.
- Careless snow removal that creates unnatural or dangerous conditions.
- Uneven flooring, including carpeting that is frayed or torn.
- Tripping hazards, such as loose cords on the floor.
- Inadequate lighting.
Property owners have a legal duty to keep their property maintained, discover potential hazards, and warn visitors of hazards that are not immediately obvious to help prevent possible injuries.
Evidence is essential in a slip and fall accident. If you do not have sufficient evidence, the at fault person or insurance company might dispute the claim, including who was at fault, the extent of your injuries, or what medical costs you incurred.
To make sure you have a solid case, you should gather as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident. Much of the evidence relating to the circumstances of the fall can be time-sensitive.
For example, if you slipped on a wet floor, you might not be able to prove later that it was wet without evidence, as it will be dry at that point. If you tripped over a hazard, the person at-fault can simply remove the hazard and deny there were any hazards causing you to trip. If there were any witnesses, you will need to get contact details immediately, as you might not be able to track them down after they have left the scene. The camera in your phone is invaluable.
To preserve evidence, you should take photographs at the scene, and get the contact information of any witnesses to your slip and fall or the conditions causing your fall. Make a note of the location of any security camera and who might have ownership or control of it.
How Is a Slip and Fall Settlement Calculated?
Damages fall into two categories, either economic damages, or non-economic damages.
Economic damages are actual financial damages that you have suffered because of your injury, with an amount that can be calculated and verified. They include:
- Medical expenses. This includes medical expenses that you have already had to pay, as well as future medical expenses due to your slip and fall injury. You can prove your past medical expenses by providing bills and receipts. You may need a doctor’s testimony to prove what medical expenses you are likely to incur in the future.
- Ongoing care. Depending on the severity of your injuries and whether they are permanent, you may require home care or some other form of long-term care.
- Rehabilitation. Your recovery from your injuries may include physical rehabilitation that can last months or years.
- Lost wages. After the accident, you might not be able to work while recovering from your injuries. If this is the case, you might have missed out on wages and earnings. You can provide past pay stubs as evidence of the pay you would have received if you had been able to work.
- Diminished earning capacity. If your injuries were severe enough to have long-term consequences, they might prevent you from being able to perform the same type of work that you did before the accident. In this case, you might lose the ability to earn the same income or lose future career opportunities. If your earning capacity is diminished, you can claim the difference between what you would have been able to earn had the accident not happened, and what you can now earn because of your diminished capacity.
Non-economic damages are compensation for subjective, non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering. Other examples include physical suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment or quality of life, scarring and disfigurement, or disabilities and impairments. In cases of a death of the victim of a fall, there could also be damages for loss of society and grief to the victim’s family. These damages are often far greater than economic damages and take the skill of an experienced lawyer to properly evaluate, present and prove.
It is essential that you seek medical attention as soon as possible after your accident, report all symptoms, as well as any worsening symptoms, and follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Your doctor will be essential to providing evidence of the effect of your injury and any pain, suffering, discomfort and disability that your accident caused you.
You should also keep journals documenting the details of your pain and recovery. You can record your recovery with photographs of your injuries. Therapists’ notes will provide evidence of your mental state and any mental suffering and anguish, and it is important that you communicate those issues with them.