Should I Accept a Settlement Offer in My Slip and Fall Claim?
Most slip and fall cases are resolved with a settlement offer and an acceptance. However, that does not mean you should accept the first offer. Instead, talk to a personal injury attorney about your case and its fair settlement value.
The NYC slip and fall lawyers at Douglas and London look at many factors when determining whether a settlement offer is fair. When an offer falls short, we advocate for full compensation and prepare for trial while still working to settle the case. With this approach, we have won over $4 billion in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients.
The first offer is not going to be the best
Insurance companies have one goal: to save money. Their adjusters want to close a file as quickly as possible while paying the minimum. As a result, insurance representatives often contact an injured claimant soon after an accident, before they have retained a lawyer, for a fast settlement.
Insurance companies act quickly because, in exchange for a settlement check, you must give them a signed release. It states that your claim is fully compensated and that you waive any right to sue for injuries related to the fall. This means that even if you later discover that your injuries were worse than first thought– for instance, your mild concussion is a debilitating brain injury– you cannot reopen the claim for additional compensation.
What is a fair settlement offer for an NYC slip and fall claim?
A comprehensive slip and fall settlement offer will include all of your economic and non-economic damages. It will consider how clear liability is, the severity of the injury, and how long it should impact your life.
Economic damages should include past medical bills and lost wages and those future losses that can be proven with reasonable certainty. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, which does not have an exact value. Calculating this is done in a few ways. For example, it can be based on the economic damages—by multiplying 3x the medical bills. Or it can be calculated in another way, like assigning a value to each day the pain is expected to last, or even using a specialized computer program to weigh the variables.
A common defense to fall claims is that the injured party was partly to blame. If this argument is raised in your case, do not be fooled into thinking that you cannot recover compensation. Instead, you can still be entitled to damages, but any compensation is reduced according to your fault.
Fighting for full compensation
Experienced New York City slip and fall lawyers determine what full compensation should include and advocate for it. This requires knowledge, tenacity, and responsiveness to client priorities.
If you reject an insurance company’s first settlement offer, that is likely not your last chance to settle the case. Usually, it is only an opening offer, below what the insurance company is willing to ultimately pay. Your attorney will have a sense of how to read the offers in light of the details of the case and help you decide when to accept or reject an offer.
If the parties cannot agree on a compensation amount, they need to prepare for a trial. At Douglas & London, we approach every case as if it will land before a jury– this means we mount a strong offense from day one, which leads to more favorable settlements for our clients.
Speak with a slip and fall lawyer
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer for your case as early as possible will take some of the pressure off of you. Once you are represented by an attorney, the insurance company and their lawyers will no longer be permitted to call you directly.
At Douglas and London, we work hard to secure the compensation that our clients deserve. There is no cost to speak with an experienced attorney, and we never charge a fee unless we win a settlement or verdict in your favor.
- JD Supra, NY High Court Overturns 25 Years of Precedent in Ruling on Contributory Negligence, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ny-high-court-overturns-25-years-of-20328/
- [email protected], What is the Settlement Rate and Why Should We Care?, https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1202&context=facpub