If you were injured in a slip and fall accident at little to no fault of your own, you are likely entitled to significant legal compensation from the at-fault party. However, you may be wondering about the value of your claim. The personal injury lawyers at Sieben Polk P.A. are ready to evaluate your case and give you an estimate of how much it may be worth. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
How Are Slip and Fall Settlements Calculated?
Wet floors, loose tiles, and icy sidewalks can all lead to slip and fall accidents. Injuries sustained in these accidents are often more serious than many people think. They can leave victims facing severe pain, life-long disabilities, and enormous medical bills. All of this can quickly become overwhelming, especially when also trying to handle the legal aftermath of an accident.
That is where the skilled personal injury lawyers at Sieben Polk P.A. come in. For over 50 years, our firm has helped injury victims and their families throughout Minnesota secure compensation in all sorts of cases, including those involving slip and fall accidents. We are ready to do the same for you.
Among other things, if you were injured in this kind of accident, you may find yourself asking: “How are slip and fall settlements calculated?” Our slip and fall attorneys can investigate your case, gather all available evidence, and help you figure out how much your claim for compensation may be worth. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Determining the Value of a Slip and Fall Settlement in Minnesota
The compensation you receive in a slip and fall lawsuit will depend on many factors, especially the extent and severity of your injuries. Our personal injury lawyers can conduct a thorough investigation and evaluate the full circumstances of your case. We will then use the evidence we find to give you a good idea of how much your case may be worth.
Importantly, remember that the initial settlement offers you receive from the at-fault party and their insurers will likely not be enough to cover all your expenses. Don’t worry. Our attorneys will use their advocacy and negotiation skills to push toward full and fair compensation.
In most cases, property owners and insurers prefer to settle slip and fall lawsuits out of court rather than spend time, energy, and money litigating. By leveraging the threat of a lawsuit against them, plaintiffs are often able to increase their settlement.
What Damages Are Available Through a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
Of course, in addition to securing a measure of justice and accountability, plaintiffs in lawsuits are normally also interested in securing legal compensation in the form of a monetary payout. However, many slip and fall injury victims think they can only seek compensation for their medical bills. Not so. This section goes over the compensation that may be available to you.
Economic Damages in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
Economic damages, sometimes known as “special damages,” are meant to cover the impact of your injuries that can be easily reduced to a monetary value. Typically, this form of damages is calculated by reviewing bills, receipts, and other documentation associated with your accident. It may compensate you for things like:
1. Medical Bills
Common injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents include broken bones, back injuries, and even traumatic brain injuries. Ultimately, you are likely to spend thousands of dollars on medical treatment after a serious slip and fall incident. We can help you secure compensation for these expenses, including the cost of rehabilitation during recovery.
2. Lost Wages
A slip and fall accident might make it impossible for you to work for an extended period of time, and your lost income can make it difficult to keep up with your daily expenses. The wages you lose while recovering from your injury are compensable economic damages.
3. Lowered Earning Capacity
Chronic pain and long-term disabilities resulting from your injury could limit your ability to work at the same level or in the same capacity as before your accident. The at-fault party should compensate you for the impact this has on your future earning capacity. Our personal injury attorneys can consult with vocational rehabilitation specialists to verify and substantiate how your injury affects your ability to work in the future.
4. Incidental Expenses
Throughout your recovery, you may also incur many out-of-pocket costs. For example, you may need to modify your home (e.g., installing an electric chair lift), purchase mobility devices (e.g., wheelchairs and crutches), and buy expensive prescription medications. Our attorneys can help you recover the costs through a lawsuit.
Non-Economic Damages in a Slip and Fall Accident Case
Non-economic damages, sometimes known as “general damages,” may also be available in your case. However, this form of damages can be somewhat more difficult to calculate because of the inherently subjective nature of what it is meant to compensate for, which includes things like:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disfigurement
- Lowered quality of life
Because the impact of these things is likely to vary from person to person, it is important to have a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney on your team who can empathetically listen to your story and communicate it in settlement negotiations and in court. The legal team at Sieben Polk P.A. can help.
How Are Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Minnesota Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
Again, non-economic damages are very subjective in nature and cannot be calculated by simply pulling out a calculator. Even so, there are two popular methods sometimes used to help standardize the way in which non-economic damages are calculated.
1. Multiplier Method
The multiplier method first involves calculating your total economic damages by adding up the hard-and-fast numbers on bills, receipts, etc. Then, that number is multiplied by a value between 1.5 and 5, sometimes known as the pain-and-suffering multiplier. In theory, the more serious your injuries and the longer your recovery time, the higher your multiplier should be.
An example may help. Suppose you were injured in a car accident in which you suffered $40,000 in property and minimal injuries. In this case, your pain-and-suffering multiplier would be relatively low, and your compensation would not rise far above $40,000.
However, suppose instead that the accident left you unable to work, suffering extreme pain, and bedridden for six months in a hospital. If a jury chose a multiplier of 5, your non-economic damages could rise to $200,000 on top of the $40,000 for property damage.
2. Daily-Rate Method
This method of calculating non-economic damages involves multiplying a per diem monetary value by the number of days you spend in recovery. Often, the value is set based on the money you normally earn on a day-to-day basis, though not always.
For example, suppose $250 is selected as the appropriate daily rate and you spend 200 days recovering from your injuries. Your pain-and-suffering damages would be calculated by multiplying these numbers for a grand total of $50,000
What Other Factors Can Affect My Slip and Fall Settlement?
At Sieben Polk P.A., we understand that every accident is unique and requires the personalized attention of a skilled personal injury attorney. When you work with our firm, you can count on us to develop a case strategy tailored to your individual needs and goals. The following are some important factors that may come into play when determining the final value of your settlement:
- Comparative fault – Under Minnesota’s comparative fault law, you can still recover damages if you are 50 percent or less at fault. However, the amount will be reduced in proportion to your share of liability.
- Your status on the defendant’s property – The reason you were on the defendant’s property when you slipped and fell can also affect your settlement. For example, if you slipped and fell at a grocery store or restaurant because the owner failed to remove hazards, you can seek damages by arguing premises liability. However, it is much more difficult to make this argument if you did not have permission to be there (i.e., you trespassed).
- The nature of your injuries – Of course, the extent and severity of your injuries are very important factors in any personal injury case. In general, serious and/or life-threatening injuries are likely to result in a higher settlement value.
- Statute of limitations – This is easily one of the simplest yet most consequential laws governing personal injury cases throughout the country. That is because it sets a filing deadline for your case. If you miss the correct deadline, it will most likely be dismissed in court. Fortunately, the deadline in Minnesota is much more generous than in most other states. Personal injury victims normally have six years to file a slip and fall claim in Minnesota.
Should I Consult with a Lawyer Before Accepting a Settlement?
Absolutely. It is always wise to consult with an attorney before you sign a settlement agreement with an at-fault party or their insurer. In fact, you should ideally do so before you ever speak to an insurer at all.
Insurance companies, including your own, save money by denying as many claims as possible. Often, they try to convince slip and fall victims to accept an early settlement before they have had an attorney explain their full legal rights and options. Initial settlements are likely to significantly underestimate the true value of your claim.
Do not fall for this trap. If you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident, our experienced slip and fall lawyers are standing by to make sure you are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous insurers. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can start our thorough, independent investigation of your claim.
Sieben Polk P.A.: Your Slip and Fall Attorneys in the Twin Cities
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, do not wait to have an attorney review your case. You may be entitled to significant compensation. The skilled personal injury attorneys at Sieben Polk P.A. can help. Remember, there is no charge to have your case reviewed. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Sieben Polk P.A. is a nationally recognized law firm with local roots planted deeply here in the Twin Cities. We serve our community from our office in Eagan. Learn more by visiting our case results and client testimonials pages.