We’ve all been there before. Maybe it’s a puddle of water that causes it, or perhaps it’s an improperly maintained walking surface or debris that catches your foot as you lift it. Whatever the case, you slip and fall. In such situations, the help of a Brooklyn slip and fall lawyer can be invaluable in navigating the legal complexities involved and seeking the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
You may sustain an injury severe enough to warrant hospitalization. But maybe your injury was more minor and did not require immediate medical attention. Does that mean it won’t affect your life and ability to earn a living?
No, even seemingly minor slip-and-fall accidents can have lasting impacts that affect your ability to work and even enjoy personal activities. Do you have any recourse if your slip-and-fall injury was not severe enough to warrant surgery?
Too many people fear that their situation is not severe enough to warrant a settlement in these cases. They may feel that they must “suck it up” or “push through” the pain and limited mobility.
The truth is that any slip-and-fall injury may be enough to warrant a settlement, even if you don’t require surgery as a result. With the help of a skilled New York slip and fall lawyer, you may be able to file a claim and negotiate for a settlement or seek other avenues of compensation for your expenses after your injury. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident caused by another person’s negligence, our attorneys at Kucher Law Group may be able to help. Schedule a consultation now at (929) 274 8000 or fill out our online form.
The Reality of Slip and Fall Accidents in the US
Slip-and-fall accidents account for 30% of all reported injuries in the US annually. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, over 540,000 slip and fall accidents each year require hospitalization, and 20,000 lead to death. They are also the second-most costly type of workers’ compensation claim.
However, tens of thousands of slip-and-fall accidents don’t cause loss of life or catastrophic injury. Yours may leave you with a limp that lasts the rest of your life, or maybe a limited range of mobility in one of your arms. Whatever the case, a slip-and-fall accident can have a lasting, measurable, negative effect on your ability to work and your quality of life and not be severe enough to require surgery.
Common Injury Types from Slip and Fall Accidents
Every year, over a million people in the United States go to the emergency room because of a slip-and-fall accident. Injuries can range greatly from mild to severe and can affect almost any part of the body. Some of the most common injuries seen from slip-and-fall accidents include the following:
- Shoulder and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Hip fractures
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Cuts and abrasions
While some of the injuries listed above will certainly require surgery, many will not. However, that does not diminish their impact on your ability to work or your quality of life. For instance, a broken wrist might not need surgery to repair, but it could leave you with lasting pain and limited mobility that force you to find different employment or mean that you cannot take part in meaningful hobbies and other activities in your personal life.
In short, a lack of surgery does not mean that a slip-and-fall accident does not affect your quality of life.
A Couple of Examples
To put these injuries in context, let’s look at a couple of examples.
Anna was out for a lunch date with her sister and a friend. They were trying a new restaurant that had just opened in town, and everyone was excited about it. On entering the restaurant, Anna’s sister excused herself to go to the restroom, while Anna and her friend located a booth.
On reaching the booth, Anna’s foot slid out from under her. In the dimly lit establishment, she did not see the piece of cucumber covered with oil and vinegar dressing just at the edge of the table. Her mouth collided with the table’s corner, breaking a tooth and cutting her lip, and her knee struck the concrete floor.
On arriving at the hospital afterward, Anna was found to have suffered a broken tooth, as well as a fractured kneecap. The tooth would require either a cap or a crown. The kneecap would require a splint for several weeks, which would limit Anna’s mobility, as well as physical therapy afterward to help restore the knee’s range of movement.
What the X-ray at the hospital did not show was the strain placed on the ligaments in Anna’s knee. Even after completing her physical therapy and taking several weeks off work, Anna cannot walk without physical discomfort.
Steve was on his way home from work but had to stop to pick up food for dinner at the grocery store. Carrying a loaded basket on his arm, he made his way to the freezer section to pick up some frozen vegetables for the casserole he was planning. He didn’t notice the puddle of water on the floor spreading out from the malfunctioning freezer unit. As soon as he stepped in it, his foot slid out from under him, sending Steve to the floor.
Steve landed on his back. In the process, he injured his hip and his spine, and his head hit the concrete floor very hard. Steve was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where a series of X-rays and physical examinations showed that he had bad bruising along his back, a concussion from hitting the floor, and a hairline fracture in his left hip.
None of these injuries required surgery, but it took weeks of bed rest to heal his fractured hip, and even after several months, he still suffered from back pain related to the fall. He also suffers from memory loss due to the concussion and has lost months of pay from his job. That forced time off work has also put his family behind on their bills and they are now facing foreclosure on their mortgage.
Drawing Conclusions from Our Examples
In both of our examples, people have suffered pain and injury. They have incurred medical bills and been forced to take time off work to recover and complete physical therapy. Both Anna and Steve will face ongoing repercussions of their slip-and-fall accidents that may be with them for the rest of their lives.
And yet, neither situation required surgery. Both Anna and Steve could qualify for a settlement, even though neither of them was injured badly enough to require surgical intervention.
How much is such a settlement worth? What factors go into determining the amount of a slip-and-fall settlement?
How Much Money Is Necessary for a Slip-and-Fall Settlement?
Every situation is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all settlement amount simply because many factors affect your quality of life, financial situation, and your ability to work. Three of the most important considerations in any slip-and-fall settlement are the amount you incur in medical bills, the amount of money lost because of time off from work, and the amount of pain and suffering you go through.
At a minimum, your slip-and-fall settlement should cover the medical bills you sustained because of the injury. Note that this includes bills due to initial treatment, like a visit to the ER, but also bills due to ongoing problems stemming from the original injury. That might include things like physical or occupational therapy, pain medications, and more.
In many cases, a slip-and-fall accident also comes with considerable recovery time. Depending on the type of injury and its severity, you could lose weeks, months, or even years on the job and the pay that time would have provided. Those lost wages represent a very real financial impact on your life, and you might find yourself struggling to pay your bills.
Finally, you must also consider pain and suffering. Because this is subjective, rather than objective, it’s difficult to measure. The court will base its decision on observable factors, such as how much your quality of life has changed, how you have had to change your behaviors, whether the injury has affected your employment or employability, and how long your injuries are expected to affect your life.
What Is the Process for Obtaining a Settlement for a Slip-and-Fall Injury?
While all cases are unique, they follow a similar path.
1. Report Your Injury to the Property Manager
The first thing you should do is report your injury to the property managers or owners. This will establish the case. If you’re able, ask to file a formal report. If you cannot speak because of your injuries or cannot fill out the report at this time, do so after seeking medical attention. If you don’t report your injury/accident, then there is no record of it ever happening. Make sure to request a copy of your report from the business, too. If the police and/or medical personnel were involved, get a copy of their report(s), too.
2. Get Medical Attention
Once the owner or manager has been alerted, you must seek medical attention for your injuries. Follow the advice of any first responders and go to the hospital if directed to do so. If the first responders do not request that you go to a hospital, make sure to visit one within 48 hours of the accident to document your injuries. Don’t assume that because you aren’t in serious pain at the time you have no injuries. It can take some time for symptoms to show up, particularly if a head injury is involved.
3. Obtain a Lawyer
Next, contact a slip-and-fall attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to offer advice and guidance, answer your questions, and help you set reasonable expectations about what comes next. They can also represent you with the insurance company and in a court of law if necessary.
4. Determine the Cause and Gather Witness Reports
What caused your slip-and-fall accident? It could have been almost anything, from standing water on the floor to unseen obstacles, but it’s important to identify and document the cause. Without a cause, it will be very hard to prove your case.
You also need to speak with witnesses and gather their statements. What did they see? Did they stop to offer aid? Was there anyone with you at the time of the accident? Get the name and contact information of any witnesses. Your attorney should be able to help here.
5. Document and Take Notes
You will need to document everything to support your claim. This includes your account of the accident, photos or videos that support your account, witness statements, and more. Hospital bills, photos of your injuries before and after treatment, and information about any related property damage should all be included. Your attorney will help you understand what to document and how to take notes to support your case.
6. Be Cautious When Dealing with Insurance Representatives
Chances are good that an insurance representative will approach you and possibly offer a settlement amount. Be cautious here. It’s usually wise to refer the representative to your attorney, who can help you determine if the settlement offer is fair.
In most instances, your attorney will advise you to reject an initial settlement offer. Depending on the situation, this settlement may be about a demand letter from your attorney, or it may be prompted by your accident report. In almost all cases, it will be a low offer intended to save the insurer money. Once you reject that initial offer and make a counteroffer, the negotiation process will move forward.
|Process for Obtaining a Settlement for a Slip-and-Fall Injury||Details|
|Report Your Injury to the Property Manager||Inform property managers/owners. File a formal report if possible; if not, report after seeking medical attention. Request copies of your report and any related police/medical reports.|
|Get Medical Attention||Seek medical help promptly. Follow first responders’ advice. Visit a hospital within 48 hours to document injuries, especially head injuries.|
|Obtain a Lawyer||Contact an experienced slip-and-fall attorney. Get advice, representation, and guidance throughout the process.|
|Determine the Cause and Gather Witness Reports||Identify and document the accident’s cause. Collect witness statements and their contact information.|
|Document and Take Notes||Record accident details, take photos/videos, preserve evidence. Keep records of bills, medical reports, treatment, and property damage.|
|Be Cautious When Dealing with Insurance Representatives||Refer insurance reps to your attorney. Assess settlement offers carefully.|
|Negotiations||Likely reject initial low offer. Negotiate for a fair settlement with your attorney’s assistance.|
Slip and Fall Settlements Without Surgery
Receiving slip and fall settlements without undergoing surgery is indeed possible. The need for surgery can influence the amount of reasonable compensation you can seek, as it may lead to higher medical expenses and a longer recovery period, impacting your ability to work. However, the basis for pursuing a case lies in establishing negligence, which is not determined by the severity of your injuries or whether surgery is required.
The settlement amount varies based on the extent of your injuries and how they have affected your life. Slip and fall accidents can cause a wide array of injuries, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to significant internal harm.
If you’ve experienced injuries from a slip and fall accident, you may qualify for different types of compensation for the costs you have incurred including but not limited to the following:
- Lost wages
- Current and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
If you’ve experienced a slip and fall accident in New York and are seeking fair compensation, Kucher Law Group can support you every step of the way. Our experienced Brooklyn slip-and-fall lawyers understand the intricacies of such cases and can provide advice tailored to your unique situation. Our team can assist you in filing a claim and engage in negotiations with insurance companies and accountable parties or engage in litigation, if necessary, to secure the most favorable outcome for your specific circumstances.
Ultimately, slip-and-fall injuries can cause immense pain and lasting physical damage. They can completely change your life, even if they do not require surgery. Any slip-and-fall injuries may be eligible for a settlement.
Even seemingly minor accidents can have lasting impacts on your life. A simple fall that you can walk away from may leave you dealing with chronic pain and limited mobility for months or years afterward. The need for surgical repair does not determine whether your injury warrants a settlement or not.
If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you must hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you. A skilled lawyer will help you understand the situation and what you can expect, as well as whether to move forward with a personal injury claim. Contact us today for a consultation and let us advocate for the slip and fall compensation you deserve.