How Slip and Fall Settlements Are Calculated in Oklahoma
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Learn How Slip and Fall Settlements Are Calculated in Oklahoma
Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere, from a supermarket to a friend’s house, and often result in injuries ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures. When someone is injured in a slip and fall incident due to another party’s negligence, they may be entitled to compensation through a settlement. However, determining the amount of that settlement can be a complex process. In this blog, we will delve into the factors that contribute to how slip and fall settlements are calculated.
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The first step in calculating a slip and fall settlement is establishing liability. This means determining who is legally responsible for the accident. In most cases, liability falls on the property owner or occupier, but it must be proven that their negligence caused the accident. Factors considered in this assessment include:
Was the hazard that caused the slip and fall foreseeable and preventable?
Did the property owner or occupier know or should have known about the hazard?
Did they take reasonable steps to rectify the hazard or warn visitors about it?
If it can be demonstrated that the property owner or occupier was negligent in maintaining their premises, liability is more likely to be established.
Once liability is determined, the next step is assessing the damages suffered by the injured party. Damages in a slip and fall case can be divided into two categories:
- Economic Damages: These are quantifiable financial losses that the injured party has incurred as a result of the accident. They may include medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Calculating economic damages is usually straightforward, as these costs can be documented with bills and records.
- Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages are more subjective and include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are more challenging to calculate because they are not based on concrete financial losses. Courts often use multipliers, such as a certain factor multiplied by economic damages, to estimate non-economic damages.
In some cases, the injured party may also be partially responsible for the accident. This is known as contributory negligence. If it is determined that the injured person’s own actions or negligence played a role in the slip and fall incident, their settlement amount may be reduced proportionately. The exact percentage by which the settlement is reduced depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
The availability of insurance coverage can significantly impact the calculation of slip and fall settlements. Property owners often have liability insurance that covers accidents on their premises. This insurance can provide compensation to the injured party, but the amount is subject to policy limits. If the property owner’s insurance policy has a high limit, it may be easier to obtain a larger settlement. However, if the policy limit is low, it can limit the amount of compensation available to the injured party.
Having experienced legal representation can also influence the outcome of a slip and fall settlement. Personal injury attorneys understand the intricacies of slip and fall cases and can negotiate on behalf of the injured party to maximize their compensation. Legal fees are typically calculated as a percentage of the final settlement, so the attorney’s expertise can be a valuable asset in achieving a favorable outcome.
Every slip and fall case is unique, and various case-specific factors can impact the settlement amount. Some of these factors include:
The severity of the injuries: More severe injuries often result in higher settlements, as they lead to greater medical expenses and suffering.
Pre-existing conditions: If the injured person had pre-existing medical conditions that were exacerbated by the slip and fall, this may affect the settlement amount.
Evidence and witnesses: The strength of the evidence and the availability of credible witnesses can play a significant role in settlement negotiations.
Venue: The jurisdiction in which the case is filed can affect the outcome, as different states have varying laws and legal precedents.
Negotiations and Mediation
Slip and fall settlements are often reached through negotiations or mediation. Both parties, along with their attorneys, discuss the case and attempt to agree on a fair settlement amount. Negotiations can be a lengthy process, and the final settlement amount may be influenced by the skills of the attorneys involved and their ability to present compelling arguments.
Calculating slip and fall settlements is a multifaceted process that takes into account liability, damages, contributory negligence, insurance coverage, legal representation, and numerous case-specific factors. It is important for injured parties to consult with experienced personal injury attorneys who can navigate these complexities and advocate for their best interests. While there is no one-size-fits-all formula for calculating slip and fall settlements, a thorough assessment of the factors mentioned above can help injured individuals understand what to expect and work toward a fair and just resolution.