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Slip and Fall Frequently Asked Questions: Settlements

SETTLEMENTS – HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE

  1. Does every case go to trial or will I get a settlement?

No, not every case goes to trial. In fact, almost 98% of all our premises liability cases receive a settlement offer for some amount.

Whether your case receives a settlement offer depends upon a thousand different things – how far along you are in your treatment, whether your injury is minor or severe, whether we can prove fault easily on your case or it will be more difficult. Even the COVID-19 virus stopped court rooms from seeing cases and setting trials, which has delayed things dramatically.

But, statistics used to show most cases settled within 1 year and almost all by 2 years. While that might sound like an eternity, it really isn’t. Especially when it comes to big money transactions like personal injury settlements.

  1. Why is it taking so long to get a settlement offer?

All cases have stages.

And good things can come to those who are patient.

Litigation has a discovery phase (investigation stage) in which both sides determine what happened.

There will be a stage for settlement discussions ordered by the Court, but it can take awhile to get there.

Remember, bigger settlements take longer because big money is involved and insurance companies will commit to an extensive litigation before they decided to pay bigger money for a settlement. All money transactions take time and litigation is no different.

Our personal statistics show that most cases settle within 1-2 years. While that might sound like an eternity, it really isn’t. That time will pass regardless – we might as well attempt to get you a significant settlement while we wait.

  1. When will you ask for a settlement?

We ask for a settlement at the right time to get you the most we can get.

If you are done treating medically and we have not filed a lawsuit, we will ask for settlement once your medical condition is stabilized and we have all of your medical records and bills.

We acquire those records, forward them onto the other side and make a demand for payment based upon our experience and the facts of your case.

If they respond, we share the response with you.

While we cannot guarantee our settlement demand will be met, we attempt to give the other side the best opportunity to avoid a trial.

We cannot force them to settle. But, we can do our best to convince the other side it is clearly in their best interest to avoid a trial.

If we must go to trial – that’s where we really shine.

SETTLEMENTS – HOW MUCH WILL I GET

  1. How much money do you ask for in a settlement?

The amount we Settlement demands are more like “art” than “science.” It depends upon many different factors. We are trying to guess what a jury would do if they heard your case in a court of law and had to calculate a verdict. As you know, predicting the future is very difficult. But, there are certain factors we see over and over that provide us a framework for the amount – including similar injury cases we have handled.

  1. Do the lawyers decide upon the settlement amount or do I get a say in the amount?

We always, always consult with you before making any settlement demand. While we might talk “round numbers” with opposing lawyers outside your presence, you are the “boss” of your settlement.

You decide and must sign paperwork showing you agreed to a settlement. It is done in writing each and every time. Emails can suffice; the important thing is your consent is necessary and must be in writing before we agree to ANY settlement.

  1. Will I get to know how much you will ask for before you ask for a settlement?

Yes, we keep you informed of each settlement demand each offer made in response.

  1. How much of the settlement will I get?

You will receive the total of the settlement amount with deductions for:

  • Attorney Fees;
  • Litigation expense (like expert witness fees; court costs; deposition transcriptions, etc.)
  • And any unpaid liens (entities that paid your medical bills or hospital liens).

The remaining money is all yours.

  1. Is the settlement amount based on medical bills and lost wages? Can I get more?

A settlement amount is based upon a prediction of what a jury would award if there was a jury verdict. This includes more than just medical bills, including lost prior wages and future wages, disfigurement, permanency of the injury, mental anguish (often called pain and suffering), and inability to function as a whole person.

While a jury does NOT calculate these according to a strict mathematical formula, there are ways to attempt to estimate what the value of each of the factors could be.

Our goal is to maximize your recovery.

  1. My friend told me the attorney gets most of the settlement money, is that true?

No, that is NEVER true. Even if your unpaid liens exist, we make certain that our fees and expenses do not EVER exceed your recovery. That’s our 100% guarantee to full justice.

  1. So what comes out of the settlement?

The deductions from a settlement include:

  • Attorney Fees (sliding scale based upon stage of case);
  • Litigation expense (like expert witness fees; filing fees in court; deposition transcriptions, etc.)
  • And any unpaid liens (entities that paid your medical bills or hospital liens).

The remaining money is all yours.

See our previous link (here) for what to do immediately after a fall to help get a settlement fairly and quickly.

A very general rule of thumb is you usually recover about 50% (or half) of the total settlement.

  1. Do medical bills or attorney fees get paid separately later in a different settlement?

No. A settlement is a one-time deal that includes all things to be deducted as explained above. Any outstanding medical bills must be paid from your portion of the settlement (or your choice to pay or not pay is yours to make).

  1. Does a Judge or Jury decide how much money I get at a trial?

If your case goes to a jury trial, the jury makes the determination of what amount would be fair under the circumstances. A Judge can add or subtract if she finds it to be unfair or unreasonable based upon the evidence heard, but that is a very rare occurrence.

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  • Wonderful, So Very Helpful and Thoughtful

    “Thank you so much for all your expertise concerning my fall. I really do not know how I could have settled matters without you. I really appreciate the check. You have been wonderful and so very helpful and thoughtful. Again, my sincerest thanks.”

    - Dominique P.
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  • $1,460,000 Verdict Near the Ozarks of Missouri

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  • $605,000 $605,000 Verdict in Valparaiso, IN

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  • $500,000 $500,000 Settlement in Bluffton, IN

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  • $500,000 $500,000 Verdict in Kokomo

    $500,000 Verdict for Woman Slip and Fall in Domino's Pizza Restaurant on Water (Reduced to $375,000)

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