How Much Can I Claim in a Slip and Fall?
The National Safety Council has shared that falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths. Research data gathered by the NSC further indicates that a total of 39,443 people died in falls in 2019.
Hopefully, one’s pride is the only thing hurt in your slip and fall accident, but if a personal injury results, the physical and financial pain that comes with it may visibly change a victim’s abilities to live, work, and thrive for some time, or a lifetime.
If the accident was caused by someone else’s neglect or fault and someone is hurt, the injured victim deserves fair compensation for the full impact of their injuries on their life and livelihood. The amount one can claim compensation for to cover the losses resulting from a slip and fall accident will depend on the individual’s injuries and the circumstances surrounding the accident.
Common Injuries in a Slip and Fall Claim
A person walks into a grocery store and trips over the door mat as they step inside, or perhaps they slip on a spill as they make their way down an aisle. These are common occurrences that could happen to anyone.
Because they are more common, these slip and fall accidents might not seem very serious. But any resulting injuries from a slip and fall can be just as painful and expensive as any other kind of accident.
Common injuries in a slip and fall, whether in a store or other public place may include:
- Back or spinal cord injuries
- Cuts, bruises, and abrasions
- Fractures, including to the ankle, arm, hip, leg, wrist, or other joints
- Head injuries, including concussions
- Lost teeth
- Sprains or dislocations, such as of the shoulder, wrist, knee, or ankle
- If pregnant at the time of the accident, there could also be injuries to the baby
Time may be all that is needed to heal many of these injuries. However, others may require extensive, long-term medical attention. Injuries can also put the victim “out of commission” and unable to work and enjoy the livelihood they had before the slip and fall accident happened.
What Expenses Can I Claim?
All personal injury cases have the same end goal: for the victim to be “made whole,” to get back to the physical and financial level they enjoyed before the accident took place.
Examples of direct expenses due to a slip and fall accident claim may include:
- Ambulance transport
- Emergency room care
- Hospital stays
- Urgent care or primary care doctor visits
- Surgery, anesthesiology, tests, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, lab work, medication, and other medical procedures
- Dental reconstruction
- Physical therapy
- Medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, splints, braces, or canes
Seeking reimbursement for the direct costs of treating physical injuries resulting from a slip and fall accident might seem obvious. What is often harder to figure out is fair compensation for the mental and emotional pain and suffering that accompanied these physical injuries. But all are valid claims in a slip and fall case.
There are several other expenses surrounding a slip and fall incident that a victim can include in a claim. For example, the cost of traveling to and from appointments for treatment can add up. Help maintaining one’s home during recovery, lost wages, and any future expenses related to the incident are all recoverable too.
Experienced personal injury attorneys such as Hipskind & McAninch can help a victim figure out how to calculate “fair” compensation for their individual case. They will first decide if a case has merit, then help assess what is fair to request for damages. Most importantly, they know how to effectively negotiate with insurance companies and businesses to get clients the full and fair compensation that they deserve.
How Can I Prove I Slipped and Fell?
Any damages awarded in a slip and fall personal injury claim must link the injuries directly to the incident itself. All costs included in the reimbursement claim must be documented and linked to injuries suffered in the incident as well. This is why it is crucial to seek medical attention at the scene and to continue with a treatment plan following the accident.
When a slip and fall accident results from someone else’s neglect or fault, it is important for the injured person to show evidence that the place of business knew about the problem that caused it and did not take action to prevent it. For example, if there was liquid spilled on the floor that was not cleaned up, and no signage or roping off to warn of the dangerous area.
Businesses must take action as soon as something like this is brought to their attention. They may be protected from legal action, however, if they did not know of the hazard and if there was no way for them to have reasonably been aware of it. A business must maintain the safety of their customers and visitors – this is known as premises liability.
One of the most common defenses in a slip and fall accident claim is that the injured person did not practice “reasonable care.”
For example, if a victim was walking in a place where they should not have been walking, even if they were not a trespasser, they may be considered “comparatively negligent.” This might prevent them from recovering any losses in a claim. Similarly, if a victim trips on a landscaping paver while taking a shortcut from the parking lot to their dentist’s office entrance door, they may not be able to recover damages for a broken knee.
Take These Steps if You Slip and Fall
Taking the right steps right after a slip and fall incident will help the chances of a claim having a favorable outcome:
- The first and most important action step is to seek medical attention. No matter what type of accident caused a victim’s injuries, getting medical help is crucial. Have injuries checked out as soon as possible. This is important for the victim’s physical wellbeing, as well as documenting the circumstances surrounding the accident.
- Be sure to immediately notify an employee, manager, or the property owner at the business that the accident has happened. Ask for copies of any reports or other documents they complete.
- Fully document the incident as best you can. Gather names and contact information for any witnesses and anyone else who may be involved. Take photos of the scene and any contributing hazards, as well as of the injury itself along with the clothing worn at the time.
- Contact an experienced personal injury law firm to help file your claim and manage the paperwork involved in getting a fair settlement for the claim.
- Do not talk to anyone about the incident or post about it on social media. Say as little as possible to family and friends, staying neutral and not assigning any blame.
- Do not make statements to property owners or their personnel, or to any insurance representatives. Do not sign anything without first talking to an attorney. Once you sign, it is game-over and you can not go back and make another claim if you end up having further expenses.
- Keep all paperwork, including anything received from the property owner or location manager, medical professionals, and first responders.
- Continue noting your daily physical and mental health throughout the healing and recovery process.
When you fall in a public place, you might be embarrassed and want to just get up and leave quickly. But it is important to follow these steps to protect yourself. And if your slip and fall leaves you with a personal injury through no clear fault of your own, you have a right to hold the property owner responsible, and to pursue fair compensation. The best way to do this is to discuss your accident with an attorney who has the experience to fight for your best interests.