Expertly Reviewed By: Serah Waweru, Esq., on April 12, 2023
Surgery or not, you may be eligible for a settlement after a slip-and-fall. However, the settlement amount depends on several factors. Read on to learn more.
What Is Slip-and-Fall?
Slip and fall is a personal injury accident caused by hazardous or unsafe conditions, such as wet or slippery floors, uneven flooring or stairs, poorly maintained sidewalks, insufficient lighting, and obstacles in walkways on someone else’s property. It can happen in various settings, such as supermarkets, restaurants, office buildings, public parks, and private residences. These accidents can result in minor bruises and cuts and serious injuries like broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
Slips and falls are common; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that more than 3 million older adults visit the emergency room every year seeking treatment after slips and falls.
What Are Some Examples of Slips and Falls?
Some common examples of slip and fall accidents include the following:
- Slipping on a wet floor in a grocery store that has not been marked or cleaned up properly.
- Tripping on an uneven sidewalk that has not been maintained by the city or property owner.
- Slipping on a greasy kitchen floor in a restaurant due to inadequate floor mats or cleaning procedures.
- Falling down a staircase in a poorly lit office building that lacks proper handrails.
- Slipping on ice or snow in an unsalted parking lot.
- Slipping and falling in a hotel bathtub due to a lack of non-slip surface or grab bars.
- Tripping over an obstacle in a cluttered warehouse.
What Is the Average Slip-and Fall-Settlement?
Now, let’s talk about money.
There is no fixed or average settlement amount for slip and fall cases. Don’t believe any attorney that promises to help you recover a specific amount, especially if they haven’t reviewed your case or engaged the other party.
This is because the amount you may receive will depend on many different factors, including but not limited to the following:
The Severity of Your Injuries
In most cases, the more severe your injuries, the higher the settlement. This, of course, depends on the unique nature of your case and the jurisdiction. For example, if you were partly to blame for the accident, this alone could reduce the settlement amount you may be entitled to.
In some states, you won’t even recover any damages if your percentage of fault exceeds a certain threshold. Such states usually follow the contributory negligence concept. In these states, you won’t recover any damages even if you were 1% at fault for the accident.
Examples of contributory negligence states include Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama. Though not a state, the District of Columbia also follows the widely unpopular and controversial contributory negligence doctrine.
The Impact on Your Life
Undergoing surgery due to an injury caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing can potentially increase the value of your settlement in a personal injury case. This is because surgery is often considered a significant and costly medical procedure that can substantially impact your overall quality of life.
Several factors can contribute to the increase in settlement value, such as:
Medical expenses: Surgery can be expensive, and if you underwent surgery due to your injury, your medical bills are likely to be higher than they would have been otherwise.
Pain and suffering: Surgery can cause significant pain and discomfort, increasing the compensation you receive for pain and suffering.
Lost wages and future earning potential: If you had to take time off work to recover from surgery or cannot work in the future due to your injury, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and future earning potential.
Long-term effects: Surgery can have long-term effects on your health and well-being, such as scarring or permanent disability, which can also factor into your settlement.
Property Owner’s Level of Negligence
If someone slips and falls on someone else’s property, the property owner may be responsible for any injuries if they failed to maintain a safe environment. The degree of the owner’s negligence can significantly impact the settlement amount for a slip and fall case.
Four degrees of negligence are commonly considered in a slip-and-fall case:
No negligence: If the owner took all necessary precautions to maintain a safe environment, they may not be held responsible for the accident.
Slight negligence: If they were aware of a hazard but did not take reasonable measures to address it, they may be considered slightly negligent. In this case, the settlement amount may be small.
Ordinary negligence: If they failed to take appropriate steps to keep the premises safe, leading to the slip and fall, they may be considered ordinarily negligent. The settlement amount may be higher than in cases of slight negligence.
Gross negligence: If the property owner knowingly ignored a hazard and failed to fix it, they may be considered grossly negligent. In such cases, the settlement amount may be significantly higher than in cases of ordinary negligence.
Factors that can impact the degree of the property owner’s negligence include:
- The property’s history of hazards or accidents.
- The duration of the hazard before the accident.
- The owner’s knowledge of the danger.
READ MORE: How Long Do Injury Lawsuits Take to Settle?
Can You Get a Slip-and-Fall Settlement Without Surgery?
If you have experienced a slip and fall accident that didn’t require surgery, you may still be eligible to receive a settlement. Of course, surgery is a great indicator of the severity of your injuries but it is not always the only thing worth considering when determining what you may be entitled to. Other factors, such as lost wages, lost earning potential, and future medical expenses, will influence the settlement amount.
How Much Is a Slip-and-Fall Settlement Without Surgery?
The settlement amount for a slip and fall case without surgery varies on a case-by-case basis. Typically, settlements for slip and fall cases without surgery tend to be lower than those with surgery due to the absence of significant medical expenses. However, the exact settlement amount will depend on the specific details of the case, so it’s possible that you may still receive a significant amount of compensation even without surgery.
To understand the true value of your case, you should consider speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney specializing in slip and fall cases. The attorney will review the unique circumstances of your case and determine the settlement amount you may be entitled to.
How To Maximize Your Slip-and-Fall Settlement
To get the most out of your slip-and-fall settlement, follow these steps:
- Get medical attention right away, even for minor injuries. If you don’t, it could hurt your case later on.
- Keep track of all expenses related to your injury, including medical bills, lost wages, and any other costs.
- If possible, take photos of the accident and your injuries.
- Immediately inform the property owner or manager about the accident and get a copy of the report they make.
- Don’t sign anything or agree to a settlement without talking to a personal injury attorney first.
- Consider hiring an attorney to help you negotiate with the insurance company and get the most compensation possible.
- If your injuries will affect you long-term, you should include that aspect in your settlement amount.
Remember, every case is different, so your settlement amount will depend on the unique nature of your situation. That said, these steps can help you get the most money possible for your slip and fall accident.
The bottom line is that you may still be entitled to compensation even if you did not need surgery after the slip and fall incident. And if your injuries required surgery, that alone could increase the settlement amount. However, bear in mind that factors such as the unique nature of your case and the jurisdiction will influence the settlement or whether or not you are entitled to compensation in the first place.
For this reason, the best way to determine whether you may be entitled to a settlement after your injury is by consulting a seasoned slip-and-fall lawyer. The attorney will review your case and discuss how to proceed.