Your Slip and Fall Claim: Determining What it’s Worth
More than likely, Brett Favre was speaking about football injuries when he shared his view. However, his remark that “injuries obviously change the way you approach the game” holds true to everyday life. That said, determining what your slip and fall claim is worth might seem critical to your survival.
First and foremost, dispel any thoughts that attorneys and claims adjusters honor some magic formula in calculating settlements. If that were the case, you wouldn’t need legal representation. Truth be told, retaining an experienced slip and fall lawyer adds to the value of your case.
For a moment, you may want to take a look at some of the verdicts and settlements achieved by just one personal injury law firm. Truth be told, you may wonder about cases worth in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as the slip and fall injury that brought in $1.3 million.
Sad to say, it would be better if your accident claim weren’t worth a whole lot of money. You don’t get paid unless you’re hurt. No doubt even if injuries “change the way you approach the game,” you’re a whole lot better off without them.
Slip and Fall Cases: The Numbers
Although some slip and fall cases bear some similarities, they all have unique qualities. Of course, the first challenge concerns establishing liability. You can’t expect a settlement offer unless there’s proof that another party was at fault.
Keep in mind that there are guidelines when it comes to holding someone responsible for your accident. For example, if you slipped and fell on ice at a private residence, the homeowner doesn’t arbitrarily owe you anything. That is unless the property owners attempted to remove the snow and ice and did a bad job.
Meanwhile, your actions might have contributed to the circumstances that caused you to either slip and fall or trip and fall. You won’t necessarily find yourself with zero compensation for your injuries. Instead, your financial recovery will be discounted by the percentage of negligence attributable to you.
The New Jersey statutes recognize the concept of comparative negligence. NJSA 2A:15-5.1 provides the law on both contributory negligence and comparative negligence. Bottom line, your recovery diminishes but is still available if you were less responsible for the accident than the other party.
After you’ve come down to proving the negligence part of the claim, you must demonstrate the extent of your damages. Your attorney works to quantify your losses by assembling critical information.
Quantifying Your Damages
To begin with it, proof of your injuries adds to quantifying your damages. This means reviewing all of your treatment records. Your attorney will also request medical reports concerning the extent of your injuries and the likelihood that you’ve experienced some degree of permanency.
Additionally, you will need evaluation by someone other than a treating physician. In fact, the insurance company will also require an independent medical examination (IME). You shouldn’t be surprised at the differences between the two resulting opinions.
Your lawyer prepares a settlement package to the insurance company in making a demand for money damages on your behalf. The paperwork includes:
- Expert reports establishing liability
- A list of your treating medical bills (also referred to as medical specials)
- Your lost wages
- Photographs of scars, etc.
- Pain and suffering documentation, including your deposition testimony
- Permanency Evaluations
Negotiation goes back and forth until a suitable number closes the deal. In some cases, resolution cannot be achieved. You may need to go all the way to trial to allow a jury to decide the value of your slip and fall case.
Thirty years ago, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone started as a personal injury law firm. We feel for our clients and use our experience to achieve the results they deserve. If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, please call us. We are ready to start work on your behalf.