Slip and Fall Injury Settlements
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UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018
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If you are presented with a settlement offer to pay you for your slip and fall injuries, there are some things to consider before signing. It is important to note that any slip and fall settlement will close the case, preventing you from later claiming that you need more money to compensate your injuries. It is a good idea to speak with an experienced slip and fall attorney before putting pen to paper and agreeing to a settlement offer.
When to Settle a Slip and Fall Case
You don’t have to rush your settlement. In fact, it is wise to wait and see if your injuries worsen or anything else develops rather than grab a quick settlement. If there is any residual damage—permanent or long lasting pain, scars, etc., or future surgery and significant other treatments—your case is typically worth much more. A quick settlement and easy resolution favors the property owner and the insurance company, so be wary of signing offers and accepting money early in the process. You do not need to rush to settlement, and should consult an experienced attorney before agreeing to any offer.
NOTE: You do, however, need to file your lawsuit within the time set by your state’s statute of limitations. Do not be so hesitant as to miss out on a key deadline. Consult an attorney as soon as possible, and make sure you follow all necessary legal procedures.
Before Settling a Slip and Fall Case
If you have received an offer to settle a slip and fall lawsuit, run down a simple checklist to make sure you have thought of everything before you lose the opportunity:
- Have all your injuries been accounted for?
- Are you aware of all slip and fall damages available to you?
- Do you know the long term effects of your injuries?
- Have you consulted with the right medical professionals who have experience with your type of injury?
- Was the property owner at fault for your slip and fall accident?
- Are there any legitimate defenses against your lawsuit?
- Has an experienced attorney looked at the circumstances of your slip and fall accident?
Keep in mind that once you sign a slip and fall settlement, there is no going back. You cannot reopen a case to collect more damages after you settle, so be sure that you know exactly how strong of a legal case you have, what the extent of your injuries is, what future damages could arise, and how a personal injury attorney values / assesses your claim.
Disagreeing with Your Attorney
Settlements in slip and fall lawsuits are fairly common, even if the settlement agreement is reached after a lot of work has been done to file the suit, gather evidence, and engage in legal arguments before the trial begins. Personal injury attorneys that handle slip and fall cases are adept at using negotiation and legal tactics to increase settlement offers, and it is likely that your attorney will suggest, if not encourage, you settle the case before a judge or jury makes a final decision. If you disagree with your attorney, and do not want to settle, work through some simple steps:
- Ask your attorney to fully explain why he wants to settle. Attorneys with experience will be able to tell how strong / weak your slip and fall case is, and can give you a good idea of how likely it is you’ll receive more money should you not settle.
- Communicate your disagreement and your reasons why. While you do not have a legal background, you have a sense of what is fair or unfair and have a right to tell your attorney that you want to pursue your case further.
- Reconsider your position given the attorney’s assessment of your case and your possible settlements. One of the hardest things to do after you have been injured in a slip and fall case is match your expectations of what your claim is worth with the reality. Good attorneys will give you honest assessments, and not fill your head with delusions of million dollar judgments. Before you take any drastic action, listen to what your attorney is saying about your case and why they think you should settle.
- Consult with another attorney for a second opinion
- Dismiss your attorney if you feel he doesn’t have your best interests in mind
Dismissing your attorney should be a measure of last resort, and only undertaken if a second lawyer gives you an assessment that is drastically different. Attorneys are obligated to put a client’s interests as top priority, but, given how much work a lawsuit can be, it is not unheard of for attorneys to favor settlements at the expense of a client. If a second opinion encourages you to pursue a suit then you may dismiss your lawyer and move forward with somebody else.
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