A slip and fall accident or a trip and fall accident can turn a person’s world upside down, both literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, these are some of the most common types of serious premises liability accidents. Our slip and fall clients are seriously injured, and some need one or more surgeries because of their injuries. These people are not only in pain, but they are quickly saddled with a tremendous amount of medical bills; they have to miss lots of days at work; and they can’t do the things they need to do on a daily basis. Thus, a slip and fall accident creates a huge number of financial problems, in addition to causing serious pain and inconvenience. Accordingly, our clients want to know when they will get financial relief. They will often ask us: How long does a slip and fall case take to settle in Orlando, Florida? That’s what this article is all about.
Time to Settle a Slip and Fall Case in Orlando
Once you’ve missed several days or weeks of work and begin to receive medical bills, you may be concerned about how long it will take to settle your slip and fall injury claim. Even though insurance companies and defense attorneys will often fight liability in a slip and fall case more than in a car accident case or a truck accident case, few slip and fall cases will go to court. Some slip and fall cases will settle during pre-suit negotiations. However, it’s often beneficial to file the lawsuit and attempt to settle the case at mediation. Litigation puts pressure on the insurance companies, and litigation can increase the value of a slip and fall case.
Overall, it can take anywhere from several months to several years to resolve a slip and fall case. This is calculated from the time you get an attorney involved to the time you get a check. The time it takes to settle will depend heavily upon whether a lawsuit must be filed and whether the case goes to trial. For example, a case that settles in pre-suit negotiations would result in the quickest settlement, whereas a case that goes to trial would take the most time to resolve. Ultimately, the sooner you get a slip and fall attorney involved, the sooner you can begin the injury claim process and get your case settled.
Factors That Can Affect How Long It Takes to Settle a Slip & Fall Case in Orlando
Each slip and fall case will have different facts that affect how long it will take the case to settle. In other words, every slip and fall case is unique. However, there are some factors that can heavily influence how long it takes to settle an Orlando slip and fall injury claim. We will discuss some of those key factors in more detail below.
Severity and Type of Slip and Fall Injuries
When a person suffers severe injuries in a slip and fall accident, it can take a while before that person reaches maximum medical improvement. In other words, it could take a long time before we fully understand that person’s injuries and the effect those injuries will have on that person’s life. Additionally, it may take a while before we know just how much those injuries will cost in terms of medical treatment and rehabilitation.
In every personal injury case, we want to know the full extent of your medical damages before we settle a slip and fall accident case. Once you sign a release and cash a settlement check, you can’t go back and ask for more money later. In other words, you don’t get two bites at the apple. Therefore, we need to have a full understanding of your injuries and the value of those injuries before we settle your slip and fall case.
Waiting for you to reach a sufficient level of medical recovery can take time. Some types of injuries and some serious injuries may require more medical treatment and a longer recovery than others. Therefore, the severity and nature of your injuries can greatly impact the amount of time it takes to settle your slip and fall case.
The Evidence in Your Slip and Fall Case
In cases where the liability is clear, a case may settle faster than where the liability is not so clear. In other words, when you have evidence that your injuries were clearly caused by the defendant’s negligence, your slip and fall case is more likely to settle quickly. In addition to helping a case to settle more quickly, strong evidence can increase the value of your slip and fall case. Therefore, it’s critical to gather valuable evidence as soon as possible after your slip and fall accident so that you can get your case settled for maximum value as quickly as possible.
Whether We File a Slip & Fall Lawsuit
Whereas a case that settles pre-suit could settle within 6 or 9 months of initiating the injury claim, a case that goes to trial could take several years to resolve. Additionally, after a case is filed, it typically takes several months to schedule a mediation. Therefore, even if the case settles before trial, it will typically take longer to settle a case if we have to file a lawsuit. However, as we mentioned, filing a lawsuit could increase the value of your case in some circumstances.
Once the lawsuit is filed, there are several stages we go through. The first step is to file the complaint with the proper Florida court. Then, the defense will file their answer. After that, we will begin the discovery phase. That’s where each side sends the other side things like interrogatories and requests for admissions. After that, parties will typically want to do depositions, which is where attorneys ask parties and witnesses questions under oath and in the presence of a court reporter. We wrote a book on depositions that you can download for free on our website.
Once discovery is completed or partially completed, parties may want to schedule a mediation and try to get the case resolved before proceeding to trial. However, if the parties can’t come to an agreement, the case will move toward trial. Then, a Florida jury will ultimately decide the outcome of your slip and fall case.
How Can I Improve the Strength of My Orlando Slip and Fall Case?
In every personal injury case, there are steps you can take to gather and preserve evidence that can help you later in your injury claim. In addition, there are things you can avoid doing that can help your case. Below are some simple steps you can take to improve the strength of your slip and fall accident claim in Orlando.
Complete an Incident Report
After you slip and fall at a business, store, restaurant, Walmart, amusement park, or apartment complex, ask to speak with someone in management. If possible, fill out an incident report. That way, you have a record of your accident that you can use later in your slip and fall injury claim.
Get The Contact Information of Witnesses
Witnesses can be a fantastic source of unbiased evidence. If a witness observed your accident, that person could greatly help your case. However, if you can’t reach that person when you need them, you can’t get their testimony. Therefore, if possible, get the contact information of any witnesses after a slip and fall accident so that you can reach out to them later when you need them.
Take Pictures and Videos of The Scene of The Accident
Evidence tends to disappear with time, and accident scenes tend to change. Therefore, immediately after your accident, get pictures and video of the accident scene. That way, you will have visual evidence you can use later in your slip and fall injury claim.
It’s best to get several still shots that show the entire scene of the accident. Also, you should try to get up close pictures of the condition that caused you to fall. For example, if you slipped and fell in a parking lot because of a defect in the concrete, you should take some up-close photos of that defect. Finally, if possible, someone should walk around the scene and record a video for a few minutes. Overall, try and capture everything that could be relevant with photos and videos.
Be Careful What You Say
People can hurt their slip and fall case by trying to be nice or self-deprecating. For example, after an embarrassing slip and fall in public, a person may fall and then say something like, “Oh, I’m such a clumsy person.” This is the type of statement that insurance companies will stick to and try to use against you to make the accident seem like it was your fault. Anything you say could be used against you, and insurance companies won’t hesitate to use everything possible to minimize your claim. Remember, their goal is to blame the accident on you and pay you as little as possible.
Get Medical Treatment and Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions
People who get hurt and try to be tough about it not only hurt themselves, but they diminish the value of their case. When you’re injured, you should seek medical treatment because you don’t want your injuries to be any worse than they have to be. Often, early medical treatment can reduce long-term damage. Additionally, when you seek medical treatment, you have evidence that you suffered injuries, and this can be very helpful to your case.
Once you seek medical treatment, do what your doctor says. People often hurt their slip and fall claim because they don’t follow their doctor’s instructions. Defense attorneys will use this to try and blame the problems a person is having on their refusal to do what the doctor says. Therefore, it helps your slip and fall case if you precisely follow the instructions your doctor gives you.
Contact A Lawyer As Soon As Possible
Getting a slip and fall lawyer involved as early as possible can greatly help to maximize the value of your claim. If you have an attorney that begins investigating your case soon after your accident, you’re more likely to preserve evidence that may have otherwise disappeared or been destroyed. Additionally, your attorney can help you protect your rights when communicating with the insurance companies. Therefore, having an attorney by your side early in your case can help you protect the value of your claim.
DON’T Post Anything About Your Accident on Your Social Media Accounts
Anything you put on social media could potentially come out in the discovery phase of your case. Many cases are ruined when people say dumb things on their social media accounts or talk about their accident with other people on social media. Statements and photos can be taken out of context and used to destroy the value of your case. The defense may also use your social media posts to paint you in a bad light. Therefore, avoid posting anything on social media that is related to your case or could hurt your case if a defense attorney saw it.
DON’T Talk to Slip and Fall Insurance Adjusters Without Your Attorney Present
Insurance companies may call you soon after your accident to get you to talk about your accident and your injuries. Insurance companies may also ask you to provide a sworn statement. Additionally, insurance companies may try to get you to settle your case right after your accident. The smart move is to avoid doing anything until you speak with your attorney.
Insurance companies are not your friend. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible on injury claims. This is true whether we’re talking about your insurance company or the defendant’s. If the insurance company wants your statement, they’re likely trying to get you to say something they can use against you. If they offer you money to settle your case, they’re probably going to offer you a fraction of what your case is worth. For example, insurance companies may reach out after a slip and fall accident to offer a person $1,000, $2,000, or $5,000, when their case is actually worth $45,000, $50,000, or $100,000. Therefore, it’s important to have a lawyer with you when you’re dealing with the insurance companies to make sure the insurance company does not take advantage of you.
Contact an Orlando Slip and Fall Attorney for Your FREE Consultation
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident in Orlando or anywhere in Florida, we are here to help you. We offer free consultations to slip and fall victims in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Additionally, when you schedule a consultation with our law firm, you are going to have a consultation with an Orlando slip and fall lawyer at our office, not an intake person or customer service rep. We only take a fraction of the cases that come through our doors because that allows us to provide exclusive and personal service to our clients. Our clients get our cell phone and they get access to an attorney throughout their case.
You can schedule your free legal consultation with an Orlando slip and fall attorney by calling our law firm at (321) 352-7588, or you can contact us on our website. We’re here when you need us.