The short answer is yes. Most slip and fall cases settle out of court because the time in court is costly for all parties involved. Only a tiny percentage of such cases go to trial. In many instances, insurers will offer the injured party immediate compensation – usually an amount lower than what you might be able to win in court – to settle as quickly as possible.
Another reason most slip and fall cases settle out of court is that it’s often quite difficult to prove the accident was directly related to negligence on the property owner or manager’s part. A slip and fall injury lawyer could help you collect the evidence needed to prove your right to compensation.
Considerations that Affect a Slip and Fall Case’s Outcome
The most apparent factors that go into a slip and fall case, from the injured party’s perspective, are the cause of the fall and the type (and severity) of resulting injury. However, many other considerations may not initially seem obvious. These considerations are:
- Is it a business or residential property?
- What type of hazard led to the accident?
- Was the injured person a trespasser?
- Was the injured person partially responsible for the accident?
The property manager may raise the final two questions to avoid liability for the injury that occurred. If the injured person was trespassing, for instance, the property owner would likely bear no responsibility for the accident, per Florida Statutes § 768.075.
Types of Hazards a Property Owner or Manager Could Be Held Liable for
Any aspect of a walking surface or stairwell that might cause a person to trip, slip, or otherwise lose their balance should be clearly marked and/or restricted from public access. Common hazards include:
- Wet surfaces that are smooth enough to be slippery
- Unevenness in the walking surface, like a crumbling sidewalk
- Tripping hazards, such as unmarked steps or extension cords
- Steps and stairs that lack the appropriate handrails
Property owners and managers are expected to keep their property well maintained and free of any potholes or breaks in their parking lots and sidewalks. They’re also responsible for placing handrails next to any steps or stairwells.
What Happens If the Property Owner Could Not Correct an Issue?
It may be the case that a property owner knew about a potential hazard and was unable to make it safe despite trying to do so. In such cases, they are legally required to rope off the area or mark it clearly with signage to discourage access.
If the issue was left uncorrected with no clear signage or safeguards put into place, then you may be entitled to compensation for any injury resulting from that hazard.
Why Insurance Companies Try to Settle Quickly
Insurance companies are aware that suffering and medical bills discourage people from engaging further with the legal system. This situation leads to most slip and fall cases settling out of court for less money than what may be offered otherwise.
By offering you a quick lump sum, insurers are betting that you’ll be so strapped for cash that you’ll accept whatever can ease your financial pressures, if only temporarily. A personal injury lawyer who handles slip and fall cases can review your case. They can determine a fair value and negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf before you agree to a settlement.
Why It’s Important to Seek the Compensation You Deserve
Even if an immediate payout alleviates your financial concerns somewhat, it likely won’t be enough in the long run. In addition to the medical bills for your recovery, it’s important to consider what would happen if you can no longer work in the capacity that you once did.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
The many considerations that go into slip and fall cases can be confusing and often involve factors that individuals without legal knowledge may not consider. These include the types of safeguarding that are considered appropriate for each potential hazard on the property and the nuances of proving that a neglected hazard directly caused the injury.
In addition, given the pressures from insurers to settle quickly out of court, individuals may feel too uncertain about rejecting settlement money without guidance. A personal injury lawyer from our firm can guide you through the claims submission process and advise you on whether going to court is the next move.
Get Advice From Our Slip and Fall Lawyers While You Recover
One of the best things that legal representatives can do is to take the pressure off you while you focus on healing. Having someone take care of the legal complexities can give you peace of mind and get you on the right track faster.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help you gauge the likelihood of compensation and advise you on your next steps. Call 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation.
We Can Help.