How Long Does a Slip and Fall Case Take to Settle?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Following a slip and fall incident on another person’s property, you might be dealing with physical injuries and discomfort, as well as emotional distress. The accident could also lead to missed workdays and a loss of income, in addition to accumulating expenses.
The compensation from a slip and fall case can be crucial in covering your expenses and helping get your life back on track so you might wonder how long it takes to settle a slip and fall case. Each case is unique, and slip and fall cases can take several months to several years to resolve.
Learn how the slip and fall attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., can address your settlement timeline questions and assist in obtaining fair compensation for your claim.
Who is responsible for a Slip and Fall Accident?
In slip and fall cases, the party responsible for maintaining a duty of care is typically the owner of the premises where the incident occurred. However, the specific circumstances of each case can vary, and different parties may be liable depending on the situation.
Other potentially liable parties include renters if the accident occurred in an area under their control, employers in workplace incidents, government entities for accidents on their property, and construction companies for incidents in construction areas.
Determining liability in these cases revolves around proving negligence by the property owner or manager. This involves showing that they knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and failed to take appropriate action to rectify it. Evidence such as security footage, eyewitness accounts, or previous complaints about the surface can be crucial in establishing negligence.
The injured party also has responsibilities in these cases. They must demonstrate that they exercised due care and the burden is not theirs. For instance, if someone was texting without paying attention to their surroundings, they would struggle to prove that the property owner is at fault.
To successfully establish a slip and fall case, it’s necessary to demonstrate the following points:
- Responsible party: Who the accountable party is and whether they owed you a duty of care.
- Breach of duty: Proving the responsible party failed in their duty of care.
- Causation: Establishing their failure to provide care caused your fall.
- Damages: Demonstrating your injuries and damages were caused by your fall.
The Process for Filing a Slip and Fall Claim
Filing a slip and fall claim involves several essential steps, each contributing to the overall timeline of the settlement process:
- Filing a claim with the property owner’s liability insurance provider, followed by an investigation by the insurance adjuster.
- The pretrial discovery and case preparation can take several months. This includes gathering paperwork, contacting witnesses, and potentially working with medical and occupational experts.
- Settlement talks and pretrial motions may also span a few months. If a settlement is reached, the case ends here.
- If no settlement is agreed upon, the case goes to trial, which is scheduled several months in advance and can take several months.
- After a trial verdict, there is a period for collecting the judgment. Additionally, if either party is dissatisfied with the verdict, there might be appeals extending the timeline by several months.
Factors Affecting How Long Your Slip and Fall Settlement Could Take
The time it takes to settle a slip and fall case and obtain compensation for injuries can vary, typically ranging from several months to even years. The duration is influenced by multiple factors, including the severity of the injuries sustained, the extent of medical treatment required, the process of gathering and analyzing evidence, and the overall complexity of the case.
Each of these elements plays a critical role in determining the length of time needed to reach a resolution.
Severity of Injuries
The full impact of injuries sustained from a fall may not be immediately apparent, often emerging gradually over days, weeks, or even months. This delay in symptom manifestation is common for certain injury types, which may not become apparent until a formal diagnosis is made or hospitalization becomes necessary.
- Soft tissue injuries: Injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons might not cause pain or discomfort until several days after your fall.
- Head impact symptoms: Following a head impact during a fall, symptoms of a concussion or a more severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) (TBI) may not be immediately evident and can develop or intensify over time. Subtle signs such as dizziness, confusion, and memory problems might initially go unnoticed but can gradually become more apparent and pronounced as time passes.
- Spinal injuries: Impacts on the spine after a slip and fall might not immediately feel painful. However, the spine may swell, cause pain, or bleed over time. Additional symptoms include numbness, headaches, a reduced range of motion, and paralysis.
- Psychological trauma: Slip and fall accidents can be traumatizing experiences. Psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can appear and remain long after physical injuries have been treated.
Length of Medical Treatment
Settlement negotiations and accurate estimates of the compensation amount you are entitled to only begin after you no longer need further medical treatment. This concept is referred to in federal and state law as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
Slip and fall attorneys typically advise waiting until you have reached MMI before accurately assessing your damages. This ensures that the compensation reflects the total impact of the injuries, including any long-term effects or ongoing medical needs that might not be apparent immediately after the incident.
Our senior partner and nurse attorney, Eileen Kroll, and her team will prioritize your health and recovery, and once MMI is reached, she will shift her attention to the damages for your case. This includes effectively communicating on your behalf and safeguarding you against common insurance tactics, which often involve pressuring claimants into accepting lower settlement offers than they may be entitled to.
Evidence Collection and Analysis
All slip and fall cases require collecting sufficient evidence to determine the responsible parties, establish a breach of duty, and prove causation. While evidence collection can be a lengthy process and potentially delay receiving compensation, it’s necessary to strengthen your case and maximize your potential settlement. Types of evidence required in these cases include:
- Photo and video evidence. Photographs of the accident scene shortly after the fall and video footage of the incident from passers-by or security cameras. Additional evidence could include photos and videos documenting lighting, weather, signage, and hazards at the scene.
- Medical documents. Conserving medical evidence is crucial to record your injuries and treatment expenses accurately. Keep all medical reports, including diagnosis statements, prescriptions, and medical bills for surgeries and treatment.
- Witness testimonies. If others see your fall, our slip and fall lawyers will help you identify, contact, and interview witnesses to strengthen your case.
- Accident reports. Official reports filed at the time of the accident, especially if it occurred in a public place or business establishment, can bolster your claim.
- Expert analysis. More complex cases may require the help of experts in specific domains. For example, a medical expert can link the circumstances of your fall with your specific injuries and assess their long-term impact. Accident reconstruction specialists can help determine how a more complex accident occurred by recreating it in a scientific environment.
Factors such as unclear circumstances of the accident, disputes over who is at fault, the extent and nature of injuries, and the involvement of multiple parties can all add layers of complexity. These challenges often necessitate a more detailed investigation and stronger evidence to build a convincing case, extending the time needed to reach a resolution.
How Much Compensation Can You Claim for a Slip and Fall Case in Michigan?
The compensation amount you can claim in a Michigan slip and fall case varies based on the severity of your injuries, the extent of your medical expenses, lost wages, and the degree of fault attributed to you under Michigan’s comparative negligence laws. The final amount also considers non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Types of Damages Received
Our legal team is skilled in assessing the potential compensation you could receive after a slip and fall accident. Our approach involves a comprehensive calculation encompassing economic and non-economic damages resulting from the fall.
- Economic damages. These are quantifiable financial losses such as medical expenses (including future medical care), lost wages from missed work, and any other out-of-pocket expenses linked to the accident.
- Non-economic damages. These are more subjective and include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and potentially loss of companionship or consortium.
Each case is unique, and our attorneys would assess all aspects of your situation to ensure that all relevant damages are accounted for in the compensation estimate. This thorough evaluation is crucial to ensure that you receive a fair and adequate settlement for your injuries and losses.
Degree of Fault
Michigan follows the modified comparative negligence rule. This means that when seeking damages as the victim of a personal injury case the amount of compensation you are entitled to can be reduced in two ways:
- 50% of fault or less: If your overall degree of fault is less than 50%, your total compensation amount will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 10% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by 10%.
- More than 50% at fault: If you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident that resulted in your slip and fall, you are ineligible to recover compensation for your damages.
This modified comparative negligence rule is part of Michigan’s efforts to ensure fair compensation based on the degree of responsibility each party bears in an accident. The recent reinterpretation of Michigan’s “Open and Obvious” doctrine allows for a more thorough examination of each case’s circumstances rather than broadly applying a general rule.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Us Today
Our slip and fall attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. will fight for your rights with the dedication and resources you need to secure maximum compensation. We’ve helped numerous previous clients earn millions of dollars worth of damages for their injuries.
By choosing to work with us, you are assured of our unwavering dedication, extensive experience, and comprehensive legal expertise, all focused on your case. We will evaluate your case, review the facts, and answer all your questions, including “How long does it take to settle a slip and fall case?”
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.