The National Safety Council reports that in 2019, there were more than 153,000 non-fatal falls in the US. While many tend to be those over the age of 65, slip and fall accidents can happen to anyone of any age, anytime.
One of the most common questions any accident lawyer hears is “how much is my case worth?” Since there are many contributing factors to a final settlement, it’s difficult to give an accurate figure. Even if your case is “just like” someone else’s accident, each slip and fall is very different.
Some lawyers may offer a“ballpark figure,” and some may even go so far as to apply a “formula” to give you a possible amount. These may not always be accurate, and you may be surprised if the amount is higher or lower than their quote.
Because each case is different, multiple factors go into the final settlement amount. You may not be aware of all of them, which is why speaking with a Charleston, WV slip and fall accident attorney is highly recommended.
First Step: Monetary Damages
How much did your accident cost you? If you think about the medical bills that were involved, that’s just one piece of the puzzle. The money you’ve already spent may not be the same as the money you’ll need in the future.
What kind of injury did you suffer? A slip and fall with a few bruises will be different than one with broken bones or more serious injuries that cost more to treat. An injury that leads to long-term or permanent disability with continual medical treatment will require more compensation.
- Lost wages. If you were unable to work during your convalescence, or no longer able to work due to your accident-related injuries, lost wages should also be part of your negotiated settlement.
- Property damage may also be a part of the settlement to compensate you for personal property. This can include things such as a watch or other jewelry, a smartphone, prescription sunglasses, or something else on you when you fell.
- Pain and suffering Depending on the circumstances, your settlement may include a sum for pain and suffering. This is something that an insurance adjuster who is interested in settling your case quickly won’t offer. Their goal is to get it off their books as fast as they can for as little as possible. They’re not interested in your health and wellbeing.
- Punitive Damages. This is a sum of money that’s awarded to a plaintiff intended to punish the defendant for the negligence that resulted in your injuries. This depends on the facts of the case, and what kind of negligence involved.
All these factors go into calculating your final settlement. If an insurer is offering a considerable amount of resistance, a jury trial may be the next step.
West Virginia is a state with a “comparative negligence rule” that examines the plaintiff’s responsibility in the accident. In nearly any accident, that will be the first defense raised by the other party to deflect responsibility, such as:
- Not paying attention to where you were walking
- Not paying attention to an “open and obvious” hazard
- Talking, texting, or otherwise distracted by a cell phone
- Ignored hazard warnings intended for anyone in the area
This means that if you are found partially responsible for your accident, your settlement will likely be reduced by the percentage of your responsibility. For instance, if you were found to be 30% responsible for the accident and your resulting injuries, a settlement of $10,000 will be reduced to $7,500. If your responsibility is 50% or more, you won’t be able to collect any compensation.
You Have Two Years
West Virginia imposes a two-year time limit on personal injury cases, including any property damage. After two years you will not be able to file for compensation to settle your claim. If you do, it will be dismissed. That’s why it’s important to file your claim and speak with a Charleston, WV slip and fall accident attorney as soon as you are able.
Speak To The Love Law Firm First
If you’ve received a letter or phone call—or many calls and letters—asking you to settle, call us. You could lose thousands of dollars in needed compensation if you take their first offer. Contact Charleston’s The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 and schedule your appointment with one of our slip and fall attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in a slip and fall accident settlement. We offer contingency fee arrangements, and there’s no fee if we don’t win your case.