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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Legal > Slip and Fall Lawsuit

Slip and Fall Lawsuit Cost


How Much Does a Slip and Fall Lawsuit Cost?

 
low costLow: Small Claims Court Fees Usually $20-$320average costMedium: Simple Cases Cost $1,000-$4,000 to Go To Trialhigh costHigh: Average Cost To Defend $50,000

If you fall and injure yourself because of hazardous conditions (such as uneven flooring or an open pothole) on someone else's property, the owner may be liable for your medical expenses, missed paychecks and other costs that are a direct result of the accident. However, it is usually necessary to prove that the property owner was at fault in some way.

Typical costs:

  • A slip-and-fall case with only minor injuries and other expenses could be handled in Small Claims Court, usually without involving lawyers. The maximum amount that can be awarded in Small Claims Court varies from $2,500-$15,000, depending on state law. Small Claims Court filing fees and other costs can run $20-$320 or more, but can be repaid by the defendant if you win the case.
  • For a case involving serious injury, most lawyers work on a contingency basis; they don't get paid until you do, and then they take anywhere from 25-40 percent of the money received. The percentage varies depending on the prevailing rate in your area and whether the case goes to trail or is appealed. If you don't get any money in a settlement or court judgment, you don't owe any legal fees. Some lawyers charge a percentage of all money received; others take their percentage after the medical bills are paid.
  • Expert witnesses are often key in slip-and-fall cases, and there are also court costs, investigation charges, clerical labor and other expenses. In most states your attorney will pay these as they occur and be reimbursed out of the final settlement/judgment (that's in addition to the percentage for legal fees). These costs start around $1,000-$4,000 for a simple case but can go much higher, depending on what's involved. In some states your lawyer is allowed to advance you the cost of your medical care and be reimbursed out of the settlement/judgment. If your medical costs are paid by your health insurance, they would be reimbursed out of the settlement/judgment.
  • If someone sues you for a slip-and-fall injury, these claims are usually covered by homeowners or business liability insurance, and the insurance company will provide defense attorneys, negotiate with the claimant, and pay any settlement or court judgment (within the terms of your insurance policy). The National Floor Safety Institute[1] estimates that the average cost to defend against a slip-and-fall lawsuit is $50,000 and the average judgment awarded in cases that go to trial is $100,000.
Related articles: Small Claims Court, Property Damage Lawsuit, Car Accident Lawsuit, Liability Insurance

What should be included:
  • Each slip-and-fall lawsuit is different, and is evaluated on an individual basis. These cases can be difficult to win and are usually governed by state laws; Lawyers.com provides an overview of personal injury laws for each state[2] .
  • If you slip and fall, inspect the area where you fell to see what caused the accident; and write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses, even if they did not directly see you fall. Lawyers.com provides an overview of the legal process[3] , including dealing with insurance companies[4] and preparing for deposition[5] .
Shopping for a slip and fall lawsuit:
  • Ask about the attorney's training and experience in personal injury law, especially with slip and fall cases. When you meet with an attorney, bring copies of: any police or accident reports, all medical reports and bills, information about your health insurance coverage; plus all notes and correspondence. Lawyers.com explains what to do before your first meeting with a personal injury attorney[6] and how to select a personal injury lawyer[7] .
  • Search for personal injury lawyers at Lawyers.com[8] and FindLaw.com[9] .
  • Your attorney should provide you with a written fee agreement. Be sure you understand exactly how and when the fees will be deducted from any settlement/judgment you receive, and what other costs might be paid out of your settlement/judgment.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.nfsi.org/research.php
  2.  personal-injury.lawyers.com/Personal-Injury-Basics/Personal-Injury-Law-in-Your-Sta...
  3.  personal-injury.lawyers.com/slip-and-fall/
  4.  insurance.lawyers.com/Dealing-With-Insurance-Companies.html
  5.  personal-injury.lawyers.com/Personal-Injury-Basics/Preparing-For-A-Personal-Injury...
  6.  personal-injury.lawyers.com/Personal-Injury-Basics/Personal-Injury-Preparing-to-Me...
  7.  personal-injury.lawyers.com/Personal-Injury-Basics/Personal-Injury-Selecting-a-Goo...
  8.  www.lawyers.com/slip-and-fall/find-law-firms-by-location/
  9.  lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practice/Personal-Injury-Plaintiff
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