How much a slip and fall case is worth in Florida depends on three (3) basic things: liability, damages, and insurance coverage. Every case is different but these factors determine how much money you could get from a slip and fall case.
For the purpose of this article we’ll assume there is insurance coverage. This is rarely an issue because most slip and falls occur on commercial property which carry million dollar policies. You’ll want to find out how much coverage is available by contacting the property owner and demanding they report the incident to their insurance carrier. If you hire an attorney, which I highly recommend, they will handle this for you.
Answering the question do I have a good slip and fall case starts with determining liability. Liability means fault. Florida property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a safe condition. They also have a duty to discover and warn of known dangers not open and obvious.
Usually, if you slip and fall on something that’s not supposed to be there the property owner has some level of fault. Florida is a comparative negligence state. That means even if you were partly to blame for the fall you can still recover. Sometimes juries apportion fault to both the property owner and the injured plaintiff. The logic behind this is that the injured plaintiff should have been watching where they were walking. The other-side of that argument is that the substance shouldn’t have been on the floor. Most slip and fall cases have some level of comparative negligence.
In a slip and fall case you are entitled to your past medical expenses. These are the easiest to prove. You or your slip and fall attorney will submit your past medical bills. If the property owner is negligent they must pay all medical bills that are reasonable, necessary, and related to the incident. Defense attorneys love to argue that your medical bills are not reasonable. They claim you didn’t need the injections or the surgery because the fall wasn’t that bad. Your doctor’s testimony on your treatment is important in proving your damages. This is why you need to see a doctor immediately after an accident.
You are also entitled to future medical expenses in a slip and fall case. Here, you must prove more than a possibility that future treatment might occur. Expert testimony is usually required to support a claim for future medical expenses. I had a case where my client’s treating orthopedist recommended surgery. We submitted a demand highlighting the need for a future surgery. The insurance company made a low-ball offer because they didn’t believe my client was going to go through with the surgery. My client ended up having the surgery and the insurance then covered the cost. In other words, a recommendation for surgery is not enough.
The most contested type of damages in slip and fall cases is pain and suffering. The reason is because every person feels pain differently. What might be excruciating for one person might be uncomfortable for another. Also, when making a claim for pain and suffering plaintiffs have been known to “exaggerate” their pain. I know – shocking right!
Insurance companies view your complaints of pain and suffering cautiously. Before they pay money they want to make sure your pain corresponds with the medical findings. They’ll look at the MRI reports and follow the nerve pathways to confirm that’s where you’re complaining of pain. The old saying goes, the films never lie. So if your MRI is negative, it’s hard to claim your have great pain and suffering. If your MRI shows herniated discs, its more likely your complaints are true.
Settling slip and fall case in Florida is like selling real estate. Just like in real estate you can determining how much your case is worth is by looking at comparators. The house sold down the street has an impact on the fair market value of your house. Same applies in average slip and fall settlements. If a jury awarded $100,000 in case similar case to yours, then you could expect your case to settle in the same range. Slip and fall lawyers look at jury verdict reports. This is not an exact science but it’s an added tool for slip and fall attorneys in Florida.
If you’d like to see a jury verdict report of slip and fall cases in Florida contact my office. I’d be happy to email you a copy. For more information be sure to read some of our recent articles on slip and fall accidents. And please subscribe to our YouTube channel!
The Longo Firm, P.A.
12555 Orange Drive, Ste. 233
Davie, FL 33330
Tel: (954) 862-3608