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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Do Most Slip and Fall Cases Settle Out of Court in Personal Injury Lawsuits?

When slip and fall accidents happen, and a person is injured, it can lead to a claim for compensation. There are two possible endings for a slip and fall case: settling out of court- or going to trial.


In most cases, securing a slip and fall settlement from the at-fault insurance company without going to court is preferable for both parties. It doesn't always happen, but it usually does.


What Is a Slip and Fall Case?

What Is a Slip and Fall Case?


A slip and fall claim follows an accident caused when a person injures themself on someone's property because of a slippery surface. The biggest cause of slip accidents is wet floors- but they can also happen for other reasons.


Some people believe that anyone who slips and falls can make a claim- but that is not true. The property owner must be clearly at fault, and the accident must have happened because of their negligence.


There can be times when the victim is partially to blame, which can impact their chance of winning a settlement. It is important to contact a slip and fall lawyer in Indianapolis IN as soon as possible to find out what steps to take to determine what can be claimed and from who.


Is It Common for Slip and Fall Cases to Settle Out of Court?


The majority of slip and fall cases settle without going to trial. In most cases, settlement negotiations between both parties' legal teams are successful, and the damages are awarded to the victim.


A trial usually only happens when negotiations break down, the mediation process doesn't yield results, and the defendant does not believe they are liable.


In that instance, both sides must prepare an argument and go in front of a judge- who then decides who is at fault, and how much they need to pay.


What Are the Benefits of Settling a Slip and Fall Lawsuit Without Going to Court?


It is beneficial for both sides to settle out of court in a slip and fall case- for several reasons.

  • Settling avoids the stress of a trial- which can be difficult for victims to face if they are still in recovery.

  • The defendant may prefer to find a fast and discreet solution- rather than go through the courts and have more people learn about the incident.

  • It is the faster option by far.

  • When the fault is clear, there is very little use in going through a trial. It costs more, is more complicated, and takes much longer.

  • Although sometimes the victim can get more if they go to trial, they also have to pay more fees, so it works out roughly the same.

  • Defendants can benefit from a settlement because they can end up paying less money to the plaintiff.


How Is a Settlement for a Slip and Fall Accident Reached?


When someone has a slip and fall accident, the first step towards a settlement is establishing liability.

Without proof of fault, there is no case, so it is essential to have a personal injury lawyer review the case early and find a way to prove that someone is at fault- and that it is not the victim.


How to Prove a Slip and Fall Case and Secure a Settlement Offer


The laws in Indiana are fairly complex about liability in a slip and fall case. First, there must be proof of an element of negligence on the part of the property owner. That means that there must be a duty of care, that they have breached it, and that breach was the primary cause of the accident.


Some examples of property owner negligence include shop owners who do not clean up spills quickly enough, or public buildings that wax or polish the floors and don't give fair warning to patrons.


There is also comparative fault to consider- which is when the victim is partially to blame. The defendant and their legal team may try to shift blame to reduce how much the insurance company has to pay, so it is important to have an attorney to fight the opposite argument.


What Happens If the Case Does Not Settle Out of Court?


Before going to court, the attorneys for both parties negotiate offers. They are based on all the relevant damages and expenses- from medical bills to pain and suffering.


The defending attorney tries to reduce the amount, and the plaintiff's attorney fights for a higher settlement- and it continues until they find a figure both parties can agree on.


If that doesn't work, a neutral third party (called a mediator) comes in to try and help the process. Nothing discussed during the mediation process is legally binding- and it does not always work.

When mediation fails, the next step is a trial. Both parties prepare a case- including evidence, statements, and legal arguments. They go in front of a judge- who decides if the defendant is liable in the personal injury claim- and- if so- how much they have to pay.


The judge also decides if any of the blame lies with the victim. If it does, it may reduce the settlement amount- and if it is over 51%, the property owners may not need to pay anything.


Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?


Even though most cases settle out of court for slip and fall injuries, it is important to be prepared for when they don't.


A slip and fall attorney can put together the strongest case for victims- using their legal knowledge to make a solid argument for clients they can also advise on what the statute of limitations in Indiana for personal injury is.


Facing a legal battle alone and without legal representation is extremely difficult for anyone- especially someone recovering from an injury.


Summary


The most likely outcome in slip and fall cases is an out-of-court settlement. It is usually the best solution for everyone- and in their best interests to come to an agreement.


When things don't go to plan, and a trial is the only option, it is important to have a trusted and dedicated lawyer.


Shuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys go to war for slip and fall victims in and out of court to win the best possible compensation in their case.

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