How much a slip and fall settlement is worth depends on several factors, such as how and why you fell as well as the extent of your slip and fall injuries. Your slip and fall lawyer and the insurance company will use a formula to arrive at a value for your case. This figure works as the basis for settlement discussions with the insurance company.
The formula consists of several components to which your attorney will assign a value:
Medical Expenses: This is the total sum of all your medical bills, even those that were not paid out of pocket.
Lost Earnings: A total of all the income you lost due to work you missed because of any injuries you sustained in the slip and fall. Paid time off (PTO) benefits have a dollar value, too if you used these days to recover from your injuries. They are calculated as unpaid workdays.
Future Lost Income: If you are going to miss additional time at work while you recover or for ongoing treatment, you would add that to your case value.
Estimated Future Medical Expenses: Any costs for future treatments are also part of the value.
The Calculation of the Initial Proposed Settlement
You can estimate your settlement estimate by calculating the sum of your economic losses—those that can be quantified, like medical treatment, lost wages, property damage, etc.—and your non-economic (pain and suffering) losses.
Although it is hard to assign a value to non-economic damages, like mental anguish, emotional distress, and pain and suffering, you can typically generate this value by multiplying your total special damages by a certain number.
Your attorney will determine this multiplier based on the severity of your injuries, how long they will last, and the amount of pain they are putting you through. The multiplier is part of the calculation for your pain and suffering, or “general damages.”
How to Determine a Reasonable Multiplier
Multiplier values range between 1.5 and 5. The higher the multiplier, the higher your settlement. For this reason, the multiplier plays a significant role in attorney-insurance company talks. Your attorney will need to do a good job of representing your situation fairly and in your favor as the adjuster deliberates the following issues:
- Severity of your injuries
- Extent of medical treatment you have already received
- Extent of medical treatment you will require in the future
- Expectations for a full recovery
- Any long-lasting or permanent effect
- Impact of your injuries and the accident on your daily existence
To give you a better idea of how this calculation works, we will use numbers on each end of the spectrum. For example, your slip and fall cost you $15,000 in special damages. Your injuries were not very severe and will not continue to affect you in the future. You receive a 1.5.
15,000 x 1.5 = $22,500 in general damages
We will use the same amount of special damages as the case above; however, your injuries will continue to cause you pain for the rest of your life. You receive a multiplier of 5.
15,000 x 5 = $75,000 in general damages
Per Diem Method for Calculating “Pain and Suffering”
Sometimes the per diem method—coming up with a dollar value for every day the accident caused you to endure pain—is applied. Like the multiplier, determining the per diem amount can be tricky. A common solution to arriving at this number is to use your daily work earnings.
If you make $200 a day, this becomes your per diem rate, which you multiply by the number of days you experienced pain—we shall say 200 days for this example. Your total pain and suffering portion of your settlement would be $40,000 in this scenario.
When the Insurance Company Does Not Agree to a Fair Settlement
Insurance companies are not in the business of nodding to whatever demands a claimant makes and signing a check over in that amount. No business would last with that model. Sometimes, in fact, the insurance company will review the demand letter your attorney sends them and reject the claim completely.
On other occasions, the insurance carrier will respond to your demand with a low-ball offer to test the waters. Here is where the negotiation process begins. Your attorney will do their best to fight for a higher settlement. At the end of negotiations, either the two parties will agree to a fair settlement, or your lawyer will take the claim to court in the form of a personal injury lawsuit.
The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato Will Champion Your Right to a Fair Settlement
When a South Florida man tripped and fell over exposed wires in his backyard, two law firms refused to take the case. At the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato, we do not run from cases. So, when this trip and fall victim came to our door, we accepted the case, and we filed a lawsuit against the company who had installed the wires.
The company refused to accept any blame for the trip and fall, but we did some serious digging during our investigation of the accident, and, in so doing, we discovered that the wire installers had violated company procedure and safety protocols. In the end, we won $300,000 for our client.
The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato will fight to recover the settlement you deserve. We will champion your case with fervor, and if the insurers do not agree to a value that is fair and reasonable, we will not hesitate to take your case to court. Call 954-633-8270 for a free, no-obligation case review.