More than almost any other type of accident, slip and fall accidents take victims by surprise. One moment, you’re shopping for groceries or walking down the sidewalk on a winter day. The next, you’re flat on your back after slipping on a wet floor or icy sidewalk and you’re hurt.
Sadly, this happens all the time in Washington state — more than 21,000 times per year on average. But there is good news. Our state laws allow slip and fall victims to recover compensation for their injuries in some circumstances. How much compensation can you recover? It can vary, but it’s helpful to look at average slip and fall settlement amounts. And that’s exactly what we’ll do in this article.
Slip and Fall Accident Defined
Let’s start at the beginning. What is a slip and fall accident? In personal injury law, a slip and fall accident occurs when someone slips, trips, or falls on someone else’s property and is injured.
This is an important distinction: Not all slips and falls qualify for slip and fall settlements. Washington state law holds that the accident has to be the result of someone else’s negligence, and you must have suffered injuries as a result of the accident.
Average Slip and Fall Settlements
Average slip and fall settlement amounts can be hard to pin down. That’s because so many factors are involved in determining how much you’re owed for a slip and fall accident. The payouts for slip and fall settlements vary.
If you look at the specific injuries slip and fall accidents can cause, you get a better picture of what kind of settlement you may be owed. For instance, slip and fall accidents are a common cause of spine injuries. The estimated healthcare and living cost of a spinal injury that impairs motor function in any way can be as high as $1.5 million per year. And that doesn’t account for indirect costs like lost wages. Those costs stack up to more than $71,000 per year on average.
Brain injuries are another common result of slip and fall accidents. One 2019 study found that the average settlement for a brain injury was more than $345,000.
As you can see, average slip and fall settlement amounts vary widely. A nearly endless number of factors could affect the settlement amount you receive.
Factors That Influence Average Settlements for Slip and Fall Accidents
The details of your slip and fall will help determine how much compensation you receive. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that influence slip and fall settlements.
In legal terms, negligence is the failure to take reasonable actions to prevent injury or harm. Negligence can take many forms, such as a grocery store owner failing to have a spill cleaned up or a Washington state government building failing to properly de-ice its outdoor walkways.
If you fall down and aren’t hurt, you likely won’t be eligible for a settlement. The type and severity of your slip and fall injuries will affect your settlement amount.
Here are some examples of common slip and fall injuries:
- Back injuries like paralysis and nerve damage
- Head injuries like concussions
- Broken bones and bone fractures
Severe or permanent injuries will result in higher settlement amounts.
To receive a settlement for a slip and fall, you will have to show that someone else was liable for your accident and injuries. Put simply, that means someone else owed you a duty of care to keep you reasonably safe. Property owners, for instance, are liable for hazards on their properties that harm others.
Your medical bills will make up a large portion of the money you receive in a slip and fall settlement. That means that the more expensive your healthcare costs are, the higher your settlement could be. If, for instance, you were rushed to the ER in an ambulance and had to have emergency surgery, your medical bills (and settlement) would likely be high.
Tips for Maximizing Your Slip and Fall Claim
You can’t control many of the factors surrounding your slip and fall accident. And while these factors influence average slip and fall settlement amounts, they aren’t the only factors that can change what you’re owed. Below, we explore some tips for getting the most out of your slip and fall settlement.
Even if you feel okay after your accident, go to the doctor. Why? Because this will create a medical record of your injuries, many of which may be unseen for a few days. Later, you can use this record to get a settlement. Seeking treatment also helps to ensure that you are not suffering from a potentially deadly hidden injury, such as internal bleeding or a severe concussion.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer will know exactly where to look for evidence to support and maximize your claim. They will also know how to show the suffering you have been through and prove that you are owed a higher settlement.
Present All Evidence
When you speak with your personal injury lawyer, be detailed. Don’t leave anything out. Even tiny details can become evidence that will help your case in ways that you may not be able to predict. By telling your lawyer everything, you give yourself a better chance of getting a higher settlement.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Average slip and fall settlement amounts can vary widely, but they all have something in common. They’re the result of a personal injury or insurance claim. To get what you’re owed, you will need to file a claim. The at-fault party or insurer won’t just hand over slip and fall settlements without victims asking.
Below, we outline how to file a personal injury claim for a slip and fall accident:
- Write your complaint, which should detail the accident, the at-fault party’s negligence, and how much compensation you are asking for.
- Share evidence with opposing counsel and review evidence they give to you.
- Begin settlement negotiations with the at-fault party or insurance company.
- If the other side won’t offer an acceptable settlement, file the lawsuit before the deadline set by Washington’s statute of limitations.
You can file a personal injury claim on your own or hire an experienced lawyer who can work on your behalf to secure a reasonable settlement.
In Need of a Slip and Fall Settlement? Contact Will & Will
At Will & Will, we work hard every day to maximize settlements for our clients. With decades of experience and countless happy clients, we believe we can be the right lawyers for your slip and fall case.
Ready to get started? Reach out to us today. Call 206-209-5585 or contact us online.