Some of the most complicated legal cases that consume a lot of time and energy include the slip and fall out of court settlement amounts. These cases are hard to establish since there is often no clear narrative involved in them. Looking for a person at fault in the entire case is slightly more difficult in such cases. Therefore, the legal cases that involve slip and fall in grocery store settlement need an expert overview from a professional lawyer.
To understand the slip and fall cases, let’s take two different narratives into the picture here. In the first case the victim could successfully claim a huge amount, while in the second one, the victim could not do so.
Case 1: Slip and Fall at a Grocery Store Settlement Amounts
In case 1, a man slipped and fell in a grocery store due to the negligence of the store owner. The man slipped over a small puddle of water that was left unattended after mopping the floor. In this scenario, the man suffered heavy injuries both in his back as well as neck. He was immediately rushed to the hospital. Luckily, the man did not need any major surgeries and walked away from the case with minor scratches and bumps.
The man decided to sue the grocery store for its negligence and claimed that the accident caused serious mental trauma. The man also claimed that after the accident, his physical injuries caused a lot of pain and suffering that forced him to have suicidal thoughts and depression for a long period. He claimed a sum of 100,000 USD for the pain and suffering.
The insurance agency of the defendant, that is, the store owner claimed that the negligence was a two-sided affair and that the plaintiff should have been more careful. The agency also claimed that such minor injuries were not enough to cause serious mental trauma. The jury considered both pleas and thought that it would not be wise to charge the store owner for the complete incident.
After the second appeal, the jury decided to award the man a sum of 50,000 USD, half of his initial demands.
Case 2: Slip and Fall at a Gas Station Settlement Amounts
In case 2, a businesswoman of a very high stature slipped and fell in a dangerous puddle of mud right outside a gas station. The puddle was formed due to the negligence of the petrol bunk owner who left a leaky water pipe unattended for days.
The damage directly impacted the businesswoman’s backbone and caused disc herniation immediately. She had to go through multiple surgeries to recover from the accident. Moreover, the accident caused her to lose consciousness on impact and she also suffered multiple seizures in the later stages. After the accident, the woman’s capability to resume business, as usual, was affected severely. Therefore, she lost a considerable amount of money in business operations.
The jury sympathized with her case and awarded a huge settlement amount of over 10 million USD.
What Do We Learn from These Cases?
These cases are proof that while the jury does sympathize with the plea of the plaintiff, it takes the plea of the defendant into account too. Rather than taking emotions into consideration, it lays enough emphasis on the facts and evidence collected from the scene of the accident. The initial financial condition of the plaintiff plays a major role in the overall settlement amount.
Moreover, the total amount of slip and fall settlement depends on the following factors.
Financial Condition of the Plaintiff Before and After the Incident
The financial condition of the plaintiff matters a lot in calculating the future loss of earnings capability for the overall settlement plea. The owner of a highly successful business owner will be able to claim more than a person who is then unemployed. The successful business owner has more to lose due to a personal injury compared to the person who is not working now.
The settlement amount also depends on how the quality of work suffers after the accident. If the plaintiff can resume normal work after the accident, he/she does not get a significant settlement amount. On the other hand, if the person cannot resume with the work normally, he/she can claim for a higher amount. For example, the quality of work for an athlete completely depends on his/her physical ability to perform well. Therefore, the athlete can easily claim for a higher settlement amount even in case of a minor injury.
On the other hand, a business person whose entire job is mainly conducted from behind the computer screen can claim a smaller amount since the work does not suffer that much. Calculating the loss of earning capacity is always tricky and a major deciding factor in the overall settlement amount. This is where the expertise of a professional slip and fall accident lawyer can help the plaintiff make a better plea by preparing a stronger case.
Type and Seriousness of the Physical Damage to the Plaintiff’s Well-Being
A person who loses consciousness and needs to go through multiple surgeries to resume function can file for a huge settlement amount. In comparison, a person who leaves the scene of the accident with a few bumps and scratches cannot expect a million-dollar settlement. More serious injuries always get the better deal in the settlement claim.
In case the accident affects the normal lifestyle of the person, he/she can claim a higher settlement amount easily. After a full-fledged checkup from a certified physician, the plaintiff can claim for the deserved settlement claim with the help of a professional lawyer.
If the tests by a certified physician reveal that the quality of life of the plaintiff will take a serious toll after the accident, a higher settlement claim will follow the trial. On the other hand, if the physician says that the accident will not affect the lifestyle of the plaintiff and that he/she can make a full recovery within days after the accident, the overall settlement claim will be significantly lower.
The best legal firms have the right contacts with certified physicians who can perform comprehensive medical tests for the plaintiff. They also have the top lawyers who can help the plaintiff prepare a strong case against the defendant.
Type and Seriousness of the Mental Damage to the Plaintiff’s Well-Being
In accidents that involve serious physical damage, the mental well-being of the individual takes a significant toll consequently. Calculating the pain and suffering component of the claim without a professional lawyer is nearly impossible. A novice litigator or a person fighting his/her own case may often aim too high or too low in calculating the overall claim settlement amount. In both cases, the plaintiff is at a significant loss.
The plaintiffs claiming a settlement amount for such cases need to show the evidence of post-traumatic stress and harm to their mental well-being. They need to file the reports for the same with the certified physicians and psychiatrists. The plaintiff’s who do file for such reports have a better chance of getting a generous payout at the end of the trial.
The conditions that involve serious damage to the overall mental health of the individual require fair compensation. Most juries understand this well enough and sympathize with the condition of the plaintiff. However, they never let the plaintiff misuse the victim-card to extort a heavy penalty out of the insurance agency. The plaintiff can file proof to the seizures and post-traumatic mental conditions as evidence for claiming a higher pain and suffering settlement amount.
Negligence on Behalf of the Plaintiff and the Defendant
Was the defendant of the case completely at fault during the accident? Or did the plaintiff to perform an act of negligence that caused the incident? In most slip and fall accident cases locating the exact source of negligence is nearly impossible.
Let’s say that the plaintiff slipped and fell on the floor of a grocery shop after it was recently cleaned. Was the store owner at fault for not attending to the wet floor? Was it the cleaner who was responsible for the mopping the floor correctly also responsible for the accident for not doing it correctly? Or was it the plaintiff who wasn’t careful around the wet floor and slipped due to his/her own negligence. In either case, the party at fault was not a single individual.
Such complications make it hard for the jury to decide upon a final slip and fall grocery store settlement amount. The jury needs a baseline on which it can decide the final settlement amount. It needs to have a reference line which can serve as the base for the overall settlement. This is where the expertise of a professional lawyer comes into the picture. The best lawyers know how to handle complicated legal cases correctly and file for just the right settlement claim amount.
Number of Complaints Received for Negligence by the Defendant Before the Incident
The settings of the incident play a major role in the overall settlement amount. Let’s take the same example from the previous point to understand this factor while calculating the slip and fall grocery store settlement amount. Did the store owner put up a “Wet Floor” sign at the dangerous spot where the accident occurred? If the store owner did so, the negligence can be tied majorly to the plaintiff. However, if there was no such sign, the store owner takes a significant hit in the case.
The defendant’s case is significantly weakened if there is deliberate negligence from him/her even after repeated complaints. For example, consider that the store owner received complaints from staff or other customers about the wet floor condition. In such scenarios, the storeowner’s negligence is directly in the crosshairs of the plaintiff’s lawyer. If the lawyer can prove that the store owner was deliberately negligent, the jury will award a significant settlement claim to the plaintiff.
On the other hand, if the plaintiff’s lawyer cannot pinpoint any such incidents, the jury will most likely hold the store owner and the plaintiff equally accountable for negligence.
Evidence Collected by the Plaintiff and the Defendant
The best lawyers can study the scene of the accident to draw conclusions from it. The lawyer can get access to the CCTV footage, statements of the nearby witnesses, as well as the staff of the store, to get a better overview of the situation. These lawyers can help the plaintiff collect the relevant evidence that helps them file for the best settlement claim.
Moreover, the plaintiff’s need the assistance of the lawyer in filing the evidence in an orderly fashion. The trustworthy lawyers can help the plaintiff file the evidence in an organized fashion to strengthen their case. The evidence collection process need not be carried out by the lawyer specifically. In fact, the plaintiff should start collecting evidence for building the case right after the first incident. Collecting valid evidence is a major part of the winning strategy.
The defendant too can collect the evidence to showcase his/her proactiveness in the case. If the defendant has more relevant evidence for the case, he/she might end up walking out of the trial without paying a single penny. The plaintiffs who know that they are at fault will most likely not file for a settlement case in the first place.
Typical Slip and Fall Out of Court Settlement Amounts
The insurance company lawyers of the defendants are usually smart enough to recognize the fault of their client beforehand. They can perform the necessary permutation and combinations well in advance to foresee the result of the trial. If they think that they have a little to no chance of winning the trial, they will try and settle with the plaintiff outside the court.
So, what is the typical slip and fall out of court settlement amount that the plaintiff can expect from the deal? Calculating the typical settlement amount in such cases involves the following steps.
Step 1: Realizing the Opportunity
The plaintiff must realize that he/she has the upper hand in the case if the insurance company wants to settle out of the court. If the defendant did have a strong case, the lawyers would rather take you to trial than try and settle out of the court. Therefore, the plaintiff must leverage this opportunity to get the best deal.
Step 2: Building the Case
After realizing the opportunity, the plaintiff must spend some time with his/her lawyer to build the case. The plaintiff cannot expect to negotiate with the insurance agency without a strong case. Even outside the court, the plaintiff needs to go prepared for every meeting and not crack under the pressure. A reliable lawyer can help the plaintiff keep his/her cool in such conditions.
Step 3: Negotiating the Offer
After the plaintiff has built a strong case, he/she is can negotiate for a better deal. The plaintiff can threaten the insurance agency to take them to a trial in case he/she has a stronger case. However, the plaintiff needs to act very judiciously in such cases. Minor mistakes can cost the plaintiff the whole case. In case of too high demand, the insurance agency would accept going to a trial with a strong case.
Step 4: Accepting the Final Offer
After the final negotiation, it is time for the plaintiff to accept the final offer. Ideally, the plaintiff must not crack under the pressure of the deadline given by the defendant. Instead, the plaintiff needs to constantly stay in a reassured position that he/she is at a better position in the case. Most insurance agency lawyers will use terms like “Once in a lifetime deal” or “This deal won’t be on the table tomorrow” to lure the plaintiff into accepting a subpar offer.
The complexity of a slip and fall case is usually higher compared to the other legal cases. Finding a single person who can be held accountable for the entire accident is usually impossible in such cases. Therefore, the plaintiffs require expert advice from a professional lawyer. Without the lawyer, a person can easily make the mistake of demanding too high or too low settlement amount.
Understanding the technical nuances of such complicated cases requires a lot of grit and experience. A professional lawyer can help an inexperienced plaintiff deal with the complications in an effective manner. The corrective measures taken by an expert lawyer can prevent a mishap and ensure that the plaintiff walks away with an extremely generous settlement offer.
The complexity of the case depends on various factors including the physical and mental well-being of the plaintiff. If the plaintiff wants to get the best deal on the table, he/she must rely on the expertise of a lawyer along with the personal resolve to see the legal case to its end. With the right help, claiming a million-dollar deal for a minor injury is totally possible for the plaintiff.