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How Serious Does Your Slip-and-Fall Injury Need to Be to Sue?

One of the biggest misconceptions about personal injury law is that people want to sue others at the drop of a hat.

In reality, many injury victims—including those who have suffered debilitating, disabling, and even life-threatening injuries—are hesitant to sue others or pursue compensation from insurers. That’s because they don’t want to get involved in the legal system without needing to, they don’t want to be accused of filing a “frivolous” lawsuit, or they don’t think their injuries are serious enough to get money.

Unfortunately, slip-and-fall injuries are among the most likely for victims to suffer silently and without asking for financial compensation. It’s common for victims to feel embarrassed about slipping and falling, and these types of accidents are also frequently associated with fraudulent claims in TV shows and movies, making victims even less likely to come forward.

If Your Slip-and-Fall Injury Resulted in Serious Injuries, You Can File a Claim

There’s no strict definition for determining when a slip-and-fall injury is “serious enough” to warrant filing a compensation claim or even filing a lawsuit against a negligent party. Although many people think of slips and falls as resulting in no more than bruised tailbones, they can be disabling and even deadly.

For example, victims have become paralyzed and have even died from falling in grocery stores, restaurants, apartment complexes, hotel pools, and other businesses. Others may suffer less traumatic injuries that are still debilitating, such as broken bones, torn ligaments, and nerve damage.

What Types of Economic Damages Do Slip-and-Fall Victims Face?

Almost all serious slip-and-fall injuries have one thing in common: they cost victims money. Slip-and-fall victims may need expensive medical treatments, including ambulance rides to the hospital; surgery; and weeks, months, or years of physical rehabilitation. The costs can quickly add up and overwhelm even the best health insurance policies.

To make matters worse, slip-and-fall injuries often lead to disability, extreme pain, or both. That can leave victims unable to work for long periods. If their injuries occurred at work, they might be eligible for workers’ compensation. But most of the time, these accidents happen outside of work. If the victims don’t have disability insurance, they’re left without income to pay for their medical bills and their families’ day-to-day living expenses.

How Do Victims Know If They Have Economic Damages?

When victims are taken to hospitals or miss several days of work, they know that their accidents will hurt their finances. But they may not know exactly how much money their injuries will cost them.

Insurance companies take advantage of this, especially when they know their policyholder is at fault and they’ll have to pay a claim. They’ll contact victims soon after their accidents and offer them settlements that sound good on paper, but aren’t enough to cover the victims’ full range of expenses. Then, when victims accept, the insurance companies are forever off the hook for future expenses or settlements.

Slips and Falls Can Result in Non-Economic Damages, Too

Non-economic damages are more commonly known as “pain and suffering,” and they’re an important part of almost all personal injury claims. That’s because injuries affect victims in ways that go beyond just medical bills and lost income—they can also affect quality of life.

Because slips and falls are so often disabling, the pain and suffering associated with them can be significant. Victims may be physically unable to enjoy their hobbies and favorite activities, such as spending time with their children, grandchildren, and spouses. They may even be unable to get out of bed or sleep without experiencing excruciating pain. Because of how much pain and suffering can affect victims’ lives, it’s important they get full compensation for it.

How Comparative Negligence Affects Slip-and-Fall Cases

Oklahoma uses a modified comparative negligence system to determine how much money victims can receive after accidents and injuries. Most states in the U.S. use a modified comparative negligence system, and it means that if claimants are partially responsible for their own injuries, the amount of money they can receive is reduced by their percentage of liability.

Here’s how it works:  

  • The Claimant’s Liability Must Be Less than 51%: To be eligible for compensation when they’re partially at fault, slip-and-fall injury claimants must be less than 51% at fault for their accidents.
  • The Claimant’s Compensation Is Reduced by Percentage of Fault: While compensation is available for slip-and-fall claimants who are less than 51% liable for their injuries, the amount of money they can receive is reduced by their percentage of fault. That means a slip-and-fall victim who is 20% at fault and owed $10,000 in damages could only receive $8,000.
  • The Majority At-Fault Party’s Liability Must Be Proven: It’s common for slip-and-fall victims to share some of the blame when they get injured. For example, someone who is running through a store may be partially at fault if they slip and fall on a wet floor. The store owner or manager may still be more at fault, but this must be proven with evidence, witness testimony, or expert opinions.

Fault isn’t always fairly or logically assigned after slip-and-fall injuries. Slip-and-fall victims are sometimes wrongly assigned more than 50% fault, making them ineligible for compensation. In other cases, victims may be eligible for compensation, but their percentage of fault unfairly reduces how much money they can receive.

At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we can review the facts of your claim to determine if your fault and the property owner’s fault were fairly decided. If not, we’ll work hard to get your level of fault reduced or potentially eliminated entirely depending on the facts of your case.

Our Lawyers Can Determine How Much You’re Owed—Then Fight to Get You Paid

When you file a slip-and-fall personal injury claim, there’s a good chance that both the party you’re naming as the defendant (the store owner, the property manager, etc.) will deny liability. There’s an even greater chance that their insurer will deny their liability or deny your claim. And even if you successfully convince them of liability, they’ll try to pay you as little as possible for your injuries.

That’s just how insurance companies do business. But our lawyers can level the playing field for you and your family. At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, our Oklahoma City slip-and-fall attorneys can collect evidence that proves the property owner’s or manager’s negligence resulted in your injury. Then, we’ll calculate exactly how much money you need to move forward with your life. And finally, we’ll demand fair and square compensation for you.

Don’t let a greedy insurance company make you a victim for a second time. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Originally published May 23, 2021.