Every year, there are 28 million falls, which result in three million emergency room visits and 28,000 deaths. However, if you’ve slipped and fallen, statistics are small comfort while you suffer through the pain and expenses of injury.

 

What is a Slip and Fall Injury?

Slip and fall injuries refer to a class of accidents that revolve around falling. You can literally slip and fall to the ground. Or you could trip on something and fall or tumble down poorly maintained stairs.

 

What’s the Average Payout of a Slip and Fall Accident?

No one number can quantify the amount of damages awarded in a slip and fall injury.  The compensation a victim receives depends on several factors, including the seriousness of the injuries and the lasting impact of those injuries on the victim’s life. To better understand how your slip and fall injury could be compensated, let’s review the law in Illinois.

 

Legal Standard for Proving Slip and Fall

Slip and fall claims are usually covered under the law of negligence, meaning that a property owner failed to maintain their premises in a safe manner. Under Illinois law, the plaintiff must prove the following elements to establish negligence:

  • Duty. The owner of the premises has a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep their property safe.
  • Breach of duty. The owner failed to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition.
  • Proximate cause. The owner’s failure caused the plaintiff to slip and fall.
  • Damages. The plaintiff’s fall resulted in injury.

 

Duty of Care

Illinois distinguishes between those on the property legally and those trespassing. 

For those legally present, the owner of the property owes them a duty of “reasonable care under the circumstances regarding the state of the premises or acts done or omitted on them.” In other words, they have a duty to keep the premises safe.

If alcohol is involved, then the extent of the duty owed is more complicated. Your attorney can explain the latest developments in this area of the law.

For trespassers, with some exceptions, the property owner merely owes them a duty not to injure them willfully and wantonly.

 

Breach of Duty

A property owner who fails to use reasonable care to keep their property safe breaches their duty and is negligent. The Illinois Supreme Court provides more guidance. Breach of duty occurs when the property owner:

  • Knows or should know of a condition that involves an unreasonable risk to those on the property; 
  • Should expect that those on the property will not discover the danger; and
  • Fails to exercise reasonable care to protect against the danger.

 

Damages

To recover damages, the victim must have suffered injuries. Common ones in slips and falls include broken bones, traumatic brain injury, back injury, sprains and strains, and soft tissue damage.

In Illinois, damages awarded for slip and fall accidents include:

  • Medical expenses. Those costs associated with treating the injury, past and future.
  • Lost income. Compensation lost from missing work. In some cases, the injury may be serious enough to decrease a person’s ability to earn income for the rest of their life.
  • Pain and suffering. Injuries don’t just impact your income – they hurt. You’re entitled to compensation for this pain and the accompanying suffering endured.
  • Loss of Companionship. In severe cases, an injury can impact the victim’s ability long-term to participate in everyday activities with those they love. 

Medical expenses and lost income are called economic damages. Past costs and lost wages can be readily calculated because documentation exists to prove them. Future medical costs and lost earnings can be estimated with the help of physicians and economists.

Pain and suffering, and loss of companionship, are non-economic damages. They are non-monetary in nature but still designed to compensate the plaintiff for their suffering associated with the injury.

Every case is different, and many variables are involved, so it’s not feasible to get an accurate forecast of a settlement amount or jury award.

To deal with this, some insurance companies use a multiplier to estimate damages for purposes of a settlement. A multiplier, usually between 1.5 and 5, works by taking the economic costs and adding a multiplier of that cost to arrive at a total figure.

For example, assume you slip and fall and severely injure your back. It takes months and several surgeries to partially recover, and you can’t go back to your old job of unloading trucks at the warehouse. You get reassigned to a clerical position at the warehouse, but it’s not a union job, so you make a lot less money.

The medical care you received has cost $500,000, and medical experts calculate future medical costs could reach $250,000. You’ve lost $75,000 in wages by not working, and an economist estimates your diminished earning capacity is $1 million. A multiplier of 4 works as follows:

$500,000 + (4 x ($75,000 + $1,000,000)) = $4.8 million

Therefore, an insurance company may be willing to settle your claim for $4.8 million. Note this is just an estimate, and your attorney, based on their knowledge and experience, will have their own thoughts on adequate compensation.

 

What to Do if You Slip and Fall

If you slip and fall, there are several things you should do. You may be in a lot of pain, but to the best of your ability:

  • Take photos or have someone take them for you. These should include shots of the premises, what caused the fall, and of your injuries.
  • Ask witnesses for their contact information. They can play a critical role in proving what happened and why.
  • Let the owner or manager of the premises know. 
  • See your doctor. Have the owner or manager call an ambulance if necessary. Remember that often a severe injury isn’t immediately felt, so if there’s any doubt, get medical attention.

 

Your Slip and Fall Lawyers

Getting hurt is bad enough. You shouldn’t also have to worry about getting fair compensation. That’s where our dedicated slip and fall lawyers come in. We’re here to help you along every step of the way and give you the best opportunity for a favorable settlement or jury award. Call us today at (123) 456-7890 or contact us here.

The post The Average Payout of a Slip and Fall Accident appeared first on Michael J. Brennan.