How Much is the “Average” Slip and Fall Claim Worth?
Slip and fall accidents are common personal injury accidents resulting from a property owner having dangers present on their premises that can cause people to slip and injure themselves. Some hazards that can cause a slip and fall accident include wet floors, exposed wiring, uneven floors, loose tiling, missing steps, etc. A property owner that negligently allows these hazards to remain can cause a slip and fall accident and be liable in a slip and fall claim.
If you were to take all the settlements and awards in slip and fall accidents, add them together, and divide them by the number of slip and fall claims resolved through settlement negotiations or a verdict, you still wouldn’t have an average of how much a slip and fall lawsuit is worth.
Every accident is different, so averages never apply. To understand the true value of your slip and fall case, you should contact a slip and fall attorney. They can calculate the damages caused by a property owner’s negligence and determine what amount of compensation can help you get back on your feet.
What is a Slip and Fall?
The type of accident colloquially termed a “slip and fall” actually refers to several different types of accidents. In general, someone can either slip and fall on a slick surface or trip and fall because of a hazard like a loose cable or debris.
An example of a slip and fall would be if someone spills a soda at the local supermarket, and the liquid causes you to slip. A trip and fall accident can also occur, as you might if the carpet on an inadequately tacked down hotel floor. Thus, not every fall case is one and the same.
There is also an accident known as a “step and fall,” where a person might step in a hole on inadequately maintained stairs or an unexpected low spot on a dark sidewalk. These fall under slip and fall law. Thus, fall cases can relate to any instance where a hazard takes a person off their feet and causes them to crash on the ground, such as slips or trips over a fixed object, fluids, and many other impediments or obstacles.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Common hazards that property owners can neglect to address can cause slip and fall accidents. It is important to remember that just because these conditions may exist on a property and can cause a slip and fall, they do not immediately mean that they result from a property owner’s negligence.
The following are some of the causes of a slip and fall accident:
- Wet flooring
- Uneven flooring
- Loose power cables
- Poor lighting
- A lack of handrails and similar safety barriers
- Loose carpeting
- Freshly waxed or mopped floors
- Open drawers or cabinet doors that block walkways
What Type of Injuries Do Slip and Fall Accidents Cause?
Slips and falls may sound mild, but they can cause severe injuries with long recovery periods. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and fall accidents account for over one million hospital emergency department visits in the U.S. each year, involving some of the most serious injuries a person can experience.
Slip and fall injuries can range from bruises from slipping on a wet floor to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or spinal cord injuries sustained in a fall down a flight of stairs. According to the National Safety Council, roughly 800,000 people go to the hospital annually because of injuries sustained in a fall.
The following are some of the injuries that can result from a slip and fall injury:
- Bone fractures: The pressure and force projected onto the bones during a slip and fall can result in a broken bone. Broken hips are common during slips and falls, especially in individuals older than 65. Statistics show that only about half of all individuals over 65 suffering this type of injury will ever be able to return home or live independently after the injury. Other commonly broken bones in slip and fall accidents include the elbows and wrists. This is often the result of the body’s instinct to “catch itself” when falling by extending the arms.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Falls are one of the leading causes of TBIs, which damage the brain through a jolt to the head or body. The brain is one of the body’s most essential organs, as it controls the functions and involuntary responses of the rest of the body. However, despite its importance, the brain has only a limited ability to heal after injury. This often results in permanent deficits such as memory loss, difficulty with communication, the inability to move in a balanced, coordinated manner, or the inability to control one’s behavior or impulses.
- Spinal cord injuries: Falls are also a major cause of spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that extends from the base of the skull to the waist and relays messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Spinal cord injuries often result in paralysis, a loss of sensation and function below the injury. An individual who suffered a spinal cord injury in the cervical (neck) area will generally experience paralysis from the neck down, which is known as quadriplegia or tetraplegia. Those suffering an injury lower on the spinal cord will often lose function and sensation in the lower extremities, a condition known as paraplegia.
- Soft tissue injuries: These can include SLAP tears, strains and sprains, and other damage to the muscles, tendons, and cartilage. Jointed areas are at particular risk of injury, including shoulders, elbows, and knees. Severe damage can occur to the knees from twisting or wrenching the joint during a fall.
- Skin lacerations: A laceration is essentially a cut or tear in the skin that can range from a short and shallow scrape to a life-threatening gash in a person’s body. These types of injuries are normally caused by impact from a sharp object and cause major bleeding. Slip and falls can also cause other injuries to the skin, including abrasions, punctures, avulsions, and scars.