The cases that involve slip and fall knee injuries are usually more complicated than the more common car accident cases. Calculating the average settlement for the slip and fall knee injury cases is difficult because usually negligence is involved on both sides. Both the defendant and victim can be at fault here due to negligence. Identifying the key person at fault is significantly more challenging in such cases.
Factors Affecting the Average Settlement for Slip and Fall Knee Injury Cases
Multiple factors govern the average settlement amounts for such complicated cases. A few of these include:
1. Location of the Accident
Where did the accident occur? Was it on the property where the property owner is responsible for maintaining it? Or did it happen somewhere outside the defendant’s property? You can ask these questions to your lawyer and the defendant to get more clarity on who is to blame for the accident.
In the case where the accident occurred on the property, the defendant is at serious risk and is most likely responsible for the accident. However, if the accident happened just outside the defendant’s property, you cannot blame him/her for the accident. In such cases, you need to approach the state for the trial and settlement.
Let’s take a small example to understand this better.
Let’s say that the accident occurred inside a grocery store. In such cases, the store owner is most likely responsible for the accident and can be held accountable by the jury. However, if the accident happened on the road just outside the grocery store, the jury will not hold the storeowner accountable for it. This is because the store owner is not responsible for maintaining the property outside his/her store. In such cases, you need to approach the state for the right settlement.
2. Negligence of the Property Owner
Did the accident happen due to the negligence of the property owner? If yes, then the property owner is most likely responsible for the accident. You can sue the property owner and get a decent settlement amount from his/her insurance agency.
For example, the victim slipped and fell in a grocery store. The accident occurred mainly because of wet flooring that the staff of the store did not clean properly. While the store owner directly is not involved in such cases, he/she is responsible for the accident. It is not the job of the store owner to mop the floor of the store himself/herself. However, the job of keeping the store well-maintained and risk-free is a critical task that he/she is responsible for.
In more slip and fall cases, the negligence of the property owner is the main reason for the accident. However, this is not the deciding factor for a solid case. If the property owner takes the necessary measures to prevent such happenings, the accident can be prevented. In the worst-case scenarios, the store owner may blame the victim for negligence and end up paying no settlement amount. It is advisable for the property owners to invest in regular maintenance of their properties.
3. Negligence of the Victim
The property owner needs to take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent such accidents. A few measures might not help prevent the accident, but they can help the property owner put the blame of the accident onto the victim.
In the previous example where the victim slipped and fell in the grocery store due to a wet floor, the entire case can land in favor of the store owner with one minor change. If the store owner is responsible enough to place a “Wet Floor” sign where the floor is being cleaned, the negligence now lands on the shoulders of the victim.
Placing a precautionary sign helps the shoppers identify a wet floor from far away. They can prevent walking on such floors and prevent the accident. However, if they still plan on walking such floors, it is completely at their own risk. If the shopper now slips and falls, he/she cannot blame the store owner.
This is the main reason why you will often see that vehicle parking spaces often have signboards that say, “Parking at your own risk.” Under such situations, the management of the parking space/building is not responsible for the theft of your vehicle or any damage done to it by other people.
4. Financial Conditions of the Victim
The financial conditions of the victim play a key role in deciding the overall settlement amount to a great extent. A person who earns a huge amount of money through a business/job will more likely get a better settlement offer than a person who is in between jobs during the accident.
The person who is financially strong is in a better position to hire the best legal firm in the state to get help for the case. On the other hand, the same process is quite difficult for a person who does not have the same financial strength. Also, the person who is financially strong has more to lose compared to the person who is less so. Therefore, the financially strong person can ask for a higher settlement offer with confidence.
A good legal firm will not discriminate between individuals with different net worth. Instead, it will try its best to get the most appropriate settlement offer for all its clients. Most legal firms do not charge a single penny to their clients in such cases until the firm wins the case for them. The final legal fee of the firm comes directly from the final settlement offer. This acts as an incentive for the legal firm to get the best deal on the table.
5. Pain and Suffering Caused due to the Accident
The unquantifiable component of the claim also known as the pain and suffering component of the claim is a little tricky. There is no pre-defined way of calculating this component of the claim accurately. Therefore, you need to rely on the judgment of a reliable lawyer in such calculations.
Experienced lawyers have dealt with multiple slip and fall cases in their career. Therefore, they are in the best position to calculate the total worth of this component effectively. These lawyers can take multiple factors into consideration while calculating this component. The best lawyers can blow this component out of proportion to get you the best settlement offer.
The internet is filled with various slip and fall settlement calculator tools. These tools are good at calculating the quantifiable components of the claim accurately. However, they cannot take the quantifiable components into account. This is where you require the expertise of an experienced auto accident lawyer.
Ideally, you should contact a professional lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. The lawyer will assess the situation and the conditions of the accident to see if you can build a case on it. If the lawyer thinks that the defense can park this case by proving your negligence, he/she will inform you and prepare the case accordingly.
6. Loss of Earnings During Treatment
In cases of minor accidents, the victim can walk away with a couple of bruises and scratches. Under such situations, it is not wise for the victim to spend the energy and time in fighting a legal battle. However, in the case of the major accidents, the victim might need surgery to or hospitalization.
The major slip and fall accidents can cause herniated disks and severe damage to the bone structure of the victim. In such cases, the victim needs to apply for a settlement for the herniated disk treatment procedure. In cases where the person is hospitalized for the treatment, he/she cannot resume normal work. This is where the employed individuals suffer the most.
Employed individuals cannot attend their office regularly. In severe cases, the doctors suggest the victims take up to 6 months of bed rest. Such conditions result in a loss of pay. Therefore, the person needs to dip into his/her savings to provide for a family.
Most individuals do not know that they can claim their loss of pay amount in the settlement offer. They can ask the defense to pay for his/her loss of pay. This is where the individuals with a higher earning capacity have an advantage over the others. A person who is paid 100,000 USD per year will have an advantage over the person who is paid 20,000 USD per year.
7. Type of Damage Incurred
The type of damage occurred due to the slip and fall accident governs the overall settlement amount too. We can classify the type of damage due to the accident in 3 categories namely low, medium, and high.
a) Low Damage Condition: In the case of a low damage condition, you might want to ignore the accident and move on with your life. You might not want to sue the property owner for his/her carelessness. You have the right to let the incident go and make your peace with it. However, once you sign the release form at the clinic or let go of the case, you cannot change your mind later.
Assess your medical condition very carefully after the accident and then decide if you want to let the incident go unattended. Ideally, you should get the opinion of a professional doctor and physician before making any decision. A few minor injuries can easily turn into severe medical complications at a later stage. Therefore, get complete health and body checkup right after the accident.
b) Medium Damage Condition: Medium damage conditions require immediate attention from a doctor. Bone fractures are often considered as medium damage conditions. If the victim of the accident does not get the necessary first aid treatment, medium damage condition can be easily converted into a high damage condition.
Such conditions require intense health checkup. In the case of fractured bones, the person needs to get an X-ray scan. In such conditions, the bone is fractured within the recoverable limits. A few months of treatment and care will help the victim resume normal function. If the bone is fractured into multiple fragments in an irrecoverable manner, you need to treat it is as a high damage condition.
The top lawyers have the knack for assessing the medium damage conditions fairly and add the pain and suffering component to the claim amount to raise it high.
c) High Damage Condition: The high damage condition requires several weeks of hospitalization and multiple surgeries. A professional doctor and surgeon can help you distinguish between the medium and high damage conditions effectively. High damage conditions usually require intense surgeries to help the victim recover quickly. The high damage conditions are usually compensated with an extremely generous settlement offer.
A professional lawyer can help you get a deal that is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in a high damage condition. You need to rely only on the most experienced and professional firms if you wish to get such settlement offers.
The best legal firms will have the necessary contacts in the medical sector to get you the right treatments for your injuries. In the most severe cases, a fractured bone or a herniated disk can impact the spinal cord of the victim. In such cases, the life of the victim is in grave danger. Such conditions can go unnoticed with minor back pain. Therefore, you must get a complete health checkup and not ignore any pain as a minor inconvenience after the accident.
8. Evidence Collected by Both the Parties
The evidence that you and the defendant collect play a major role in the overall settlement amount. The defendants will try and prove that the accident happened due to your negligence and that the property owner is in no way responsible for the damage. If the defendants are successful in convincing the jury of this, you do not get any settlement amount.
Similarly, your lawyer will try and convince the jury that the accident occurred due to the negligence on behalf of the property owner. A good lawyer will ensure that the jury sympathizes with your case and presents you a generous settlement offer. Both the defense counsel and your lawyers will need evidence to prove their point in court. Therefore, you need to be upfront with your lawyer and explain all the events leading up to the incident in great details.
Your lawyer will collect all the relevant evidence from the scene of the accident as well as your statement to present your case. On the other hand, the defense will try and prove that the property owner took the right precautionary measures to prevent the accident in the first place. The quality, as well as the quantity of evidence collected by both parties, will determine the overall amount for settlement.
9. Negotiation Skills of the Lawyer
Most defense lawyers will try and settle such complicated cases out of the court. If the defense counsel has no way to defend the property owner, it will try and settle the case with a meager offer. However, if the defendants have a case against you, they will readily go to trial to get out of paying the settlement costs.
If you have a strong case against the property owner, you can file the case and rest easy. The defense counsel will approach you with a settlement offer. Ideally, you should never try and initiate a conversation with the defense counsel if you have a strong case. Leverage your upper hand and let the defense approach you with the initial offer. Once you get the offer in hand, you must talk to your lawyer immediately.
A reliable lawyer will quickly assess the offer presented by the defense counsel and give you good advice. The best lawyers will never settle on the first offer prepared by the defense counsel. Instead, the lawyer will fight for you and get a better deal on the table. This is where the negotiation skills of the lawyer come into the picture. With effective back and forth negotiations, the lawyer can raise the settlement offer exponentially.
The slip and fall injury cases require an expert opinion. These cases may seem simple at first, but they get complicated over time. Without the right legal support, you can face a tough time negotiating a final settlement offer with the defense counsel. In the worst-case scenarios, you will walk out of the trial without any settlement offer.
Do not lose the entire case just to save a few thousand dollars in legal fee. If you do end up losing the case after hiring a legal firm, you do not need to pay anything. However, when you win, the legal fee is a tiny percentage of the total settlement amount. This fee is worth all the time and energy that you will save by hiring an expert legal firm.
Assess the slip and fall accident cases very cautiously in the presence of an expert lawyer and then, aim for a high settlement offer to get the best deal on the table.