• Average Slip and Fall Claim Settlement Amount

    So you wanna know what a Slip and Fall Case is normally Worth on average? Well, the Lanier decision seems to have raised the value if these types of claims by about 25%.

    In the year 2006 average jury awards for slip & fall cases were around $189,000, but you really have to keep in mind that the statistics are only taken from only two awards which jury's were involved in and these are the only two decisions that go into that average of $189K. Many industry experts believe that the adoption of the Lanier v. Wal-Mart precedent in '03 has pushed the majority of these types of cases to be settled instead of tried. This is because the settlements don't have to go to juries which apparently is not favorable to defendants as shown by those verdicts.

    Now, statistics lie as they always say, and these statistics are no exception to that. They don't tell us of the awards in the settled cases, and with most cases being settled out of court, that means the information from jury trials really hardly even matters when you try to arrive at an average dollar amount of slip and fall claims.

    It has been said that it's a fact of practicality that the excellent cases are settled, while weak cases are tried in front of juries. Another
    statistic which reveals an important trend is that the amount of jury-tried slip and fall claims recently went from around 59 cases per year down to two. Obviously the insurance adjusters are seeing that how Lanier v Wal-mart has placed plaintiffs in stronger positions than they were in previously. Accordingly, the supreme court has essentially changed the burden to the defendant to prove that they were not in the wrong.

    One study from the year 2001 which analyzed 53 different slip and fall claims showed verdicts from juries ordered awards of $31,132. A single verdict of these awarded $264,000, though, which means that the median award was significantly below the average.

    that number was up from what the data provided from 60 jury cases involving slip and fall awards which averaged $28,333 for that year.

    If you factor those decisions to include value based upon the current shifting of the proof burden over to the defense, it has become quite apparent that insurance adjusters recognize the shakiness of litigation in court and hence are settling over 95% of the cases before ever going to a jury.

    The added jury risk should correctly be estimated at nearly 25% over and above the pre-Lanier slip and fall cases. That said, the settlement award now has an average value which has gone up from just under $30K to more than $40K currently. This comes with the obvious (and even though it's obvious it's so important that it has to be mentioned) caveat:
    In order to correctly evaluate any specific case, naturally the specifics of that case simply must be considered in order for the true cost of medical expenses to be factored in, paired with loss of wages, and then with pain and suffering tacked on at the end which are generally awarded in proportion to the actual physical injuries of a slip and fall. Juries naturally consider additionally the scope of liability according to a comparative negligence doctrine, meaning that the more guilty the plaintiff was shown to be in process of the accident, the less liable the defendant. If the victim demonstrated significant inattention, and/or difficulty with vision, or other factors out of the control of the defendant, the value of compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering would go down.

    Currently, many experts concur with our assessment of approximately $40,000 to be the average slip and fall claim, but the case for any plaintiff will be up or down based on the actual costs, facts, and other details of surrounding the case. Naturally, a medical surgeon who had to miss work for 8 weeks would have lost much more in wages than a 65 year old semi-retired grandfather who works part time at a grocery store.

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