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Slip & Fall: Will It Go to Trial? (2024 Statistic & Updates)

The percentage of slip and fall cases that go to trial can vary depending on various factors, including the jurisdiction, the strength of the evidence, and the willingness of the parties to settle. Generally, a relatively small percentage of slip and fall cases end up going to trial. Many cases are resolved through settlement negotiations before reaching the trial stage.
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What is a Slip and Fall Accident?

According to the F&C Group, a slip and fall incident happens when someone loses their footing or trips, resulting in a fall [1]. It typically involves a factor that contributed to the fall, like a slippery surface or poorly lit area. These accidents can occur on the same level, from one level to another, or even over multiple levels, such as on stairs.

Slip and fall accidents are a common source of injury in the United States. They can occur in public and private spaces, including driveways and sidewalks, parks, schools, places of business, offices, construction sites, nursing homes, and elsewhere – stated F&C.

The causes of slip and fall accidents are diverse and can vary depending on the location. Examples include:

  • Torn or worn-out carpeting.
  • Floor damage such as potholes or cracks.
  • Lack of safety features like handrails on stairs.
  • Spills of liquids.
  • Tracked-in rain, snow, or ice indoors.
  • Uneven or unstable flooring.
  • Changes in floor traction.
  • Improper footwear.
  • Inadequate signage for hazards.
  • Cluttered floors.
  • Poor lighting.
  • Lack of employee training.
  • Employers fail to meet safety standards.
  • Age-related or medical conditions affecting balance.

How Does a Slip and Fall Lawsuit Work?

According to Ben Crump, slip and fall case falls under premises liability, typically involving proving negligence, building a case, negotiating a settlement, and possibly going to trial [2].

Each slip and fall case is unique, but there are common steps in the legal process that a lawyer will follow to seek a settlement for their client. A lawyer can provide more specific details about the process.

Investigating the Case
Initially, a lawyer will investigate the case thoroughly to gather evidence. This may include witness statements, surveillance footage, photos of the hazard, medical records, and more to establish the case’s foundation.

It can be beneficial to take photos of the hazard that caused the fall. If you’re unable to do so, you can ask someone else to help.

Building the Case
After collecting evidence, a lawyer will build the case to pursue a fair settlement for your losses.

Assessing Your Losses
Part of building a strong case involves accurately assessing your losses. Tangible expenses, such as medical bills, prescription medication, lost wages, lost earning potential, and property damage, can be proven using receipts.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may also be entitled to noneconomic damages, which relate to the physical and emotional impacts of the accident.

Proving Negligence

The most important part of building a slip and fall case is proving the property owner’s negligence. To do this, you generally must prove the property owner caused the hazard, that they knew or should have known about the hazard and fixed it, and that the hazard hurt you because of their negligence.

Proving negligence can be challenging if you were on the property illegally, there were warning signs, or you were distracted and would have missed the hazard. However, once negligence is established, negotiations can begin.

Negotiating a Settlement
Your lawyer can negotiate a settlement with the negligent party or their insurance company. Negotiation is often a quicker and less expensive way to resolve a case compared to going to trial, as it reduces attorney’s fees, filing costs, and administrative expenses. According to the American Bar Association, the majority of civil cases are settled before trial.

Slip and Fall Quick Facts

  • Fall fatalities are distributed almost equally between men and women, but women are more likely to experience slip-and-fall accidents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that falls accounted for 5% of job-related fatalities for women and 11% for men.
  • Over 8 million hospital emergency room visits are due to falls, making it the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls alone account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls.
  • Fractures are the most serious consequence of falls, occurring in 5% of all fall incidents. While slips and falls are not the primary cause of fatal occupational injuries, they are the main cause of lost workdays.
  • Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and occupational injuries for people aged 55 and older. Seeking help from a workers’ compensation lawyer, such as those at the House of Workers Compensation Lawyers, can be beneficial for your claim.
  • According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, floors and flooring materials directly contribute to over 2 million fall injuries annually.
  • Half of all accidental deaths in homes are caused by falls, with most fall injuries occurring at ground level, not from an elevation.
  • Among falls resulting in fractures, hip fractures are the most serious, leading to significant health issues and deaths.
  • One in three individuals over 65 experiences a fall each year, with half being repeat fallers.
  • In 2005, over 15,000 people over 65 died from falls, up from 7,700 a decade earlier.
  • Approximately 1.8 million people over 65 were treated in emergency rooms for falls.
  • For those aged 65-84, falls are the second leading cause of injury-related death; for those 85 and older, falls are the leading cause.
  • Incidence of falls increases with each decade of life, with 60% of fall-related deaths involving people aged 75 and older.
  • Falls account for 87% of all fractures among people over 65 and are a leading cause of spinal cord and brain injuries.
  • Half of elderly adults hospitalized for hip fractures cannot return home or live independently afterward.
  • Falls represent 40% of nursing home admissions and are the sixth leading cause of death for those over 70.
  • Over 60% of nursing home residents experience a fall annually.
  • Every year, 30% of people over 65 sustain a fall, with 10% resulting in serious injury.
  • Two-thirds of fall fatalities are among people 75 and older, and those over 85 are 10-15 times more likely to experience a hip fracture than those aged 60-65.
  • In the workplace, slips on slick floors account for 85% of worker’s compensation claims, with 22% resulting in more than 31 days away from work.
  • The annual cost of compensation and medical expenses for slip/fall accidents is approximately $70 billion.
  • Falls are the leading cause of accidental injury, accounting for 20.8% of all emergency room visits in 1995.
  • Disabling occupational injuries from falls cost approximately $250,000-$300,000 per year.
  • Falls occur across all manufacturing and service sectors, with fatal falls primarily in construction, mining, and certain maintenance activities.
  • According to ITT-Hartford Insurance Company’s Workers’ Compensation statistics, falls account for 16% of all claims and 26% of all costs, compared to 33% of costs associated with sprains and strains.
  • The American Trucking Association reports that slips and falls are the leading cause of compensable injury in the trucking industry.

Source: National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) [3].

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