Slip and Fall Settlements with Surgery: Will Surgery Increase My Settlement Amount?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
In personal injury claims, including those for slip and fall incidents, the details of each individual case play a role in determining the compensation amount. Given the over eight million yearly emergency room visits due to falls in the U.S., knowing the factors that influence slip and fall settlements involving surgery is essential in securing the compensation you’re entitled to.
Learn how surgical procedures impact settlement outcomes and understand how the legal expertise of our slip and fall attorneys can help ensure you recover fair compensation.
Common Examples of Slip and Fall Incidents
Slip and fall incidents can occur in various settings, often leading to unforeseen injuries. Common places where slip and fall incidents are likely to occur include:
- Uneven surfaces. Uneven surfaces, such as cracked sidewalks, broken tiles, or potholes in parking lots, pose a major risk. These hazards can easily catch someone off guard, leading to a sudden slip or trip and fall.
- Wet or slippery floors. Spills, leaks, or recently mopped floors without proper warning signs can create slippery surfaces. Failure to promptly address wet floors in supermarkets, restaurants, or public restrooms can cause slip and fall accidents.
- Inadequate lighting. Poorly lit areas increase the likelihood of accidents. Insufficient lighting can hide potential hazards like steps, uneven surfaces, or obstacles, making it challenging to navigate safely.
- Weather conditions. Weather like rain, snow, or ice often contributes to slip and fall incidents. Accumulated ice in parking lots, wet floors near entrances, or snow-covered walkways can become treacherous for pedestrians.
- Lack of handrails or guardrails. Staircases without proper handrails or elevated areas without guardrails are dangerous, especially for individuals with mobility challenges. The likelihood of falls increases without these safety features.
- Loose carpets of mats. Loose or inadequately fastened carpets, rugs, or mats can create tripping risks. These everyday items can turn into serious threats in residential, commercial, or public areas when they are improperly anchored.
- Cluttered walkways. Cluttered walkways in retail settings, workplaces, or communal areas can cause accidents. Obstacles left on the floor or in corridors can trip people up, leading to falls and subsequent injuries.
- Falls from heights. Working at heights without proper safety measures can result in severe injuries. Falls from ladders, scaffolding, or elevated platforms without appropriate safety precautions contribute to workplace injuries.
Who Might Be Responsible for Your Slip and Fall?
In assessing liability for your slip and fall, your lawyer will evaluate different entities whose negligence or lack of action might have led to the accident. Below are some potential parties that could be held responsible:
- Property owners. Property owners are responsible for maintaining a safe environment on their premises. If your fall resulted from a known danger (or one that they should have been aware of) that wasn’t remedied, they might be held accountable.
- Business operators. If the fall occurred in a commercial space, like a store or restaurant, the business operator might be liable, especially if the hazard was related to their daily operations.
- Government entities. If poorly maintained, a local government or municipal agency might be liable for falls on public property, such as sidewalks or parks.
- Maintenance companies. If a third-party company is tasked with the upkeep of the property where your fall occurred, they might be held responsible if the incident resulted from their failure to maintain the area properly.
- Property management companies. In rental or leased properties like apartment buildings, the management company might be responsible for ensuring the safety of the premises.
- Manufacturers or installers. If your fall was caused by a defective product, like a faulty handrail or uneven flooring, the manufacturer or installer could be held accountable.
- Employers. If the fall occurred at your workplace, your employer might be responsible, particularly if it was related to unsafe working conditions.
What Does a Slip and Fall Settlement Usually Cover?
A slip and fall compensation usually encompasses various costs related to the victim’s injuries, including:
- Emergency medical transportation costs. This covers the cost of ambulance services, facilitating quick transportation to a healthcare facility after the accident.
- Costs for initial treatment and diagnosis. This covers the charges for immediate care services provided in the hospital’s emergency room following the accident, which is essential for diagnosing and treating the injuries.
- Hospitalization fees. This includes the costs for room and board during a hospital stay and expenses related to surgical procedures, medications, special bedding, and diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs incurred during the hospitalization.
- Consultations, evaluations, and procedures. All costs incurred for consultations, evaluations, procedures, and aftercare visits conducted by various specialists. This can include orthopedic surgeons, spine specialists, neurologists, physiatrists, and other rehabilitation practitioners.
- Assistive mobility equipment. This covers the costs of mobility aids such as canes, crutches, knee scooters, wheelchairs, or walkers, which are necessary for safe movement and navigation throughout the various recovery phases.
- Rehabilitation services. This includes the costs of medically necessary rehabilitation services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and psychological visits.
- Medication costs. Costs of prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or pain relief medications used throughout medical care.
- Loss of employment income. This entails reimbursement for the total loss of earnings and benefits during prolonged medical absences, which prevent the victim from working for extended periods ranging from weeks to months.
- Reduced future earnings. Reflects compensation for diminished future income due to a permanent partial disability.
- Pain and suffering. This encompasses compensation for intangible damages such as emotional distress, pain, and suffering resulting from the injuries. It recognizes the physical and psychological turmoil that extends beyond the direct financial costs of treatment and recovery.
What Types of Slip and Fall Injuries May Require Surgery?
Following a slip and fall accident, the extent of injuries can vary widely, from minor sprains to severe, life-altering conditions like spinal cord damage. Minor injuries may be managed with methods such as bracing, casting, or physical therapy; however, traumatic injuries may necessitate intervention.
- Severe fracture displacement. This occurs when bones fail to heal properly or are misaligned. Surgeries such as open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) might be necessary if non-invasive treatments like casting don’t successfully mend the break. This type of surgery usually involves using hardware like plates, screws, and pins to align and stabilize the bones correctly.
- Spinal disc herniations. This condition arises when spinal discs in the neck or lower back compress nearby nerves. If less invasive treatments, such as steroid injections, are ineffective, surgical intervention may become necessary. Surgical options include procedures to alleviate nerve pressure or spinal fusion, particularly in cases where there is escalating weakness or numbness.
- Complete ligament tears. Tears in ligaments, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in the knee, can make the knee unstable. Surgery, like arthroscopic reconstruction, may be needed if knee braces and muscle therapy don’t improve stability or strength.
- Damaged cartilage affecting joint movement. Severe damage to knee cartilage, especially with knee dislocations, might require a meniscectomy. This surgical option is considered when physical therapies fail to reduce swelling or resolve joint locking, suggesting that the cartilage is unlikely to heal naturally.
- Spinal cord injuries. In the event of severe spinal cord injuries resulting from falls, surgeries such as spinal decompression or fusion might be necessary when other treatments are insufficient to remedy nerve damage or stabilize the spine.
The Impact of Surgery on Your Settlement Value
Surgical procedures increase the overall cost of your injury, potentially increasing the settlement amount you may be entitled to. For instance, a 2023 study found that spinal decompression surgery and its associated hospital costs can range between $88,564 and $107,849.
A 2022 study found that all-inclusive care for SCI injuries, which may include surgery, can range from $32,240 to $1,156,400 in the first year after the injury to $251,450 in the following years. In the U.S., the overall cost of acute care for SCIs is between $92,220 and $337,400.
Surgical interventions for broken bones can also add to your settlement amount. For example, without insurance, surgery for a broken leg can cost between $17,000 and $35,000.
While the actual costs of your surgeries may vary, these numbers show how this procedure may impact your slip and fall settlement with surgery.
Medical Documents That Bolster Your Slip and Fall Claim After Surgery
If you require surgery as part of your recovery after a slip and fall, our lawyers at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can use the following medical papers and records to support your claim:
- Hospital admission records. These records provide information about the date of your surgery admission, the justifications for the surgical procedure, and the preliminary evaluations conducted by the medical team.
- Surgical reports. Include detailed reports of the surgery you underwent, specifying the procedures performed and any observations during the surgery.
- Post-operative care notes. Your surgeon and nurse notes provide information about your condition and care immediately after the surgery.
- Medical imaging records. X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and any additional imaging conducted before and after your surgery are vital in demonstrating the severity of your injuries.
- Physical therapy records. If you participated in physical therapy following surgery, include these records to illustrate the extent of rehabilitation that was necessary.
- Medication records. Provide a list of medications prescribed for your post-surgical recovery, including pain relievers and any other drugs.
Specialist consultations. Include their findings and recommendations if you consulted with specialists like orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, or pain management experts.
- Follow-up visit notes. Records from your follow-up visits to healthcare providers offer insight into your recovery progress and ongoing health issues.
- Medical expense receipts. Keep all receipts for your surgery and post-operative care, including hospital bills, medication costs, and therapy expenses.
- Doctor’s prognosis and future care plans. Include any prognosis or future treatment plans from your doctors, which can indicate the potential long-term impact of your injuries.
Determining the Potential Value of Your Settlement
After a slip and fall injury, our skilled attorneys will thoroughly assess your damages to help you seek maximum compensation. The settlement value, including surgical costs, is determined as follows:
- Gathering medical records. This involves collecting detailed documentation of your injuries, treatments, and medical history. We carefully analyze these records to understand the full extent of your injuries and your expected maximum medical improvement, which helps us understand the full scope of your damages.
- Evaluating surgical and medical costs. We scrutinize the expenses incurred for surgeries, hospital stays, medications, and other medical procedures resulting from your injury. This assessment ensures that the settlement calculation accurately reflects all current medical costs.
- Assessing future medical expenses. Injuries can have long-term impacts, necessitating ongoing medical care. We estimate future costs for treatments, therapies, or additional surgeries you might need, ensuring that your settlement accounts for these prolonged expenses.
- Medical review. Led by Eileen Kroll, a registered nurse and senior partner attorney, our team will thoroughly assess your medical records. Using her medical background, Eileen can review your medical records to firmly establish a link between your injuries and the incident.
- Calculating lost income and potential future earnings loss. We analyze the income you’ve lost during your recovery period and project potential future earnings losses. This includes understanding your career trajectory and the impact of your injury on your ability to work.
- Considering pain and suffering. Our assessment takes into account the emotional and psychological repercussions of your injury, encompassing trauma, distress, and a diminished quality of life. We quantify these non-economic damages to guarantee they receive fair compensation in your settlement.
- Reviewing additional expenses. We examine additional expenses linked to your injury, including travel costs for medical appointments, adjustments made to your home due to the injury, and any other out-of-pocket expenditures you’ve accrued.
Secure Maximum Compensation in Slip and Fall Settlement with Surgery
Following a slip and fall incident that necessitated surgery, you are entitled to compensation from the responsible party for your injuries. We have the expertise to accurately assess a slip and fall settlement involving surgery and will assist you in securing the compensation you deserve for all medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress from the accident.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss how surgery affects your compensation and to learn your legal options.
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.