Florida Slip and Fall Settlements
Slip and Fall settlements in Florida are usually determined through a series of negotiations between the injured party’s lawyer and the insurance adjuster for the insurance company that provides general liability coverage for the property (location) where the trip and fall or slip and fall occurred. The goal of these negotiations is to come up with a fair and reasonable settlement, if possible. The next step, if the parties cannot reach an agreement, would be to file a lawsuit and have a jury trial where six members of the community would decide who is responsible for the injury and what the value of the claim is.
Whether the case settles prior to a lawsuit being filed or ends up in a full jury trial, the analysis to determine the settlement value of any slip and fall case requires that there be an evaluation of the two main parts of these types of cases: liability and damages.
Florida Slip and Fall Liability
First, liability is the part of the case where you have to prove that the injury was due to the negligence of the property owner. Usually this is based on a dangerous condition on the property that was either created by the property owner, or their employees, or was a condition that had remained on their property for a long enough period of time that a reasonably prudent property owner would have discovered it and remedied the condition prior to your fall / injury.
As part of this liability analysis in Florida, if the property owner can show that you were not paying attention to where you were walking, or that you did something else to contribute to your fall, the value of your claim goes down significantly. If it was half your fault for not paying attention to where you were going and half the property owner’s fault for having a dangerous condition remain on their property too long, you would only recover half of what you would otherwise be entitled to. Proving liability at 100% or at least 90% on the property owner is critical to a good settlement in these types of cases. The more experienced your lawyer is in handling these cases, the more likely you will be able to prove most of the fault on the property owner.
Florida Slip and Fall Damages
The second part of the analysis to determine the value of a Slip and Fall settlement in Florida is known as “damages”. This is where you have to show, as a result of the fault on the property owner, what harm was done to you.
Types of Florida Slip and Fall Damages
The main types of damages you are entitled to recover for in a Florida Slip and Fall case would be:
- Past lost wages, medical bills and other out of pocket expenses already incurred: This number would be based on the actual bills already incurred in the past for medical treatment, medication, transportation, and actual time missed from work due to your injuries.
- Future lost wages and medical bills: This is based on an opinion of a medical provider usually. That provider would have to state within a reasonable degree of medical probability that you will likely be in need of additional and/or ongoing medical care or suffer future wage loss as a result of restrictions caused by your injuries.
- Past and future pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and other “non-economic” damages: These claims are difficult to value and are different in every case. The amount of pain and suffering one experiences has a direct correlation to the severity of the injury and the opinion of a doctor as to future impairment. The more serious and permanent the injuries are, the more value the pain and suffering claim has. Other factors would include the extent of the treatment to date. Was a surgery required? Are there any permanent scars or disfigurement? How do the injuries affect your ability to perform your normal activities of daily living? These are examples of some of the factors involved.
There are a lot of factors that go into determining the liability and damages of any particular slip and fall or trip and fall case. It is critical to have an experienced attorney to help you determine the fair value of your case. I have been settling and filing suit against property owners for these types of premises liability claims since the early 1990’s and would be happy to evaluate your case. Just contact my office at [email protected] or visit our website for more information at www.robertgluck.com.