California personal-injury lawyer Moseley Collins reports on his website that over a million people are injured in slip/trip-and-fall accidents every year, with 17,000 of those injuries resulting in death. Sometimes slip/trip-and-fall accidents are related to the workplace, but they also can be related to property management, medical procedures or negligent manufacturing. Having an idea of how much money you can expect from a slip/trip-and-fall settlement can help you decide whether you should take the money that is offered to you or if you should fight for more.
No two slip/trip-and-fall cases are ever exactly alike in that the degree of personal responsibility assigned to each party involved will depend on the precise circumstances surrounding the accident, and in that no two accidents will result in exactly the same amount charged in medical bills, lost work or pain and suffering. However, you can get a general idea of what you might expect in a settlement by looking at how much others with very similar cases were awarded.
The best way to find cases similar to yours is to contact as many personal-injury lawyers as you can. Contacting lawyers in your area will personalize your inquiry based on local and state laws, but looking elsewhere may provide you with other legal precedents that still may be applicable. Any lawyer you contact should be able to tell you, free of charge, at least what their particular firm has been able to gather in monetary awards for trip-and-fall settlements. Many law firms now have websites that give examples of what they have been able to win for clients. You can find lawyers and other data about slip/trip-and-fall settlements from the American Bar Association website at www.abanet.org.
Type of Injury
Consider what type of injury or injuries resulted from the accident. If you were left with only a bruise, odds are you won't see much monetary compensation. If, on the other hand, your medical bills from the accident run you thousands of dollars, or if you are left permanently physically affected from the accident, you'll probably be awarded more. Use the medical bills and receipts to prove that you were hurt to the degree you claim and as a starting point for a minimum-award estimate. Moseley Collins states on his website that the average slip/trip-and-fall accident results in $74,000 in direct and indirect costs, but other legal websites, such as the one for attorney Thomas Newell, list settlements ranging from just under $30,000 to over $200,000.
Method of Settlement
Some cities such as New York City are experimenting with online methods of settling slip/trip-and-fall accident cases. These kinds of settlements generally don't pay out very much (only around $10,000) because those who utilize the online tool may not be aware of how much they may be entitled to due to lack of legal representation. Thus, when you try to put together your settlement, be sure you are comparing the same kind of settlement method.