Ultimately, only you can decide whether or not to settle your trip and fall case, or if resolving the issue in court is the best option. However, if you are uncertain as to which decision to make, your personal injury attorney can help you. There are a few aspects of the law to keep in mind as well as you make your decision. If you live in south Florida, you may be working with Delray Beach personal injury attorneys Zimmerman & Frachtman. Otherwise, it is a good idea to consider your options carefully, even before you retain the services of an attorney.
State personal injury laws allow accident and injury victims to collect damages from the person or party responsible for their injuries. Some compensable damages include past present and future medical bills for treatment related to your accident, the repair or replacement of any property (for example clothing, glasses, jewelry) that was damaged or destroyed in the accident, and lost wages for time off work. Lost wages considerations include time spent going to doctor’s appointments and physical therapy. In addition, you may be able to recover compensation for the cost of hiring someone to do household chores that you are unable to perform due to your injury, along with other costs you’ve incurred because of the accident. If you are permanently disabled or disfigured as a result of the trip and fall accident, that is another consideration in your damages—along with emotional distress and pain and suffering.
Because there are so many factors to consider in a case of this nature, it is an excellent idea to contact a personal injury attorney before you even approach the property owner or their insurance company; a lawyer can help you understand the issues of liability, and if you have retained their services, you can avoid costly errors in contact with the insurance or the property owner that could result in a reduction of your compensation.
Your attorney is also qualified to assist in negotiating a reasonable settlement with the property owner or their insurance company or lawyer. Once you’ve received the offer, you and your attorney can evaluate whether or not it is adequate to your needs. There are of course certain pros and cons of either course of action—accepting the settlement or going to court.
If you accept the settlement, your claim is resolved more quickly than with trial; in addition, some of your money is immediately available, as opposed to being held up in proceedings. There is also more certainty that you will receive the funds. However, there is a large chance that you will be receiving a smaller award in a settlement than you would win in a trial, which may be a deciding factor for you and your attorney.
If you decide to go to trial for your claim, you may receive the emotional satisfaction of having won the case, and even of having your grievance heard and validated by a trial process. You may also receive a much larger award than you would have gotten in a settlement. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that you will win your case or receive a larger settlement. In addition, attorney’s fees and expenses will likely be higher in a trial process than in a settlement, and a trial can take a year or more. If you are not interested in the details of the verdict and judgment being publicly available, this is also probably a scenario you would rather avoid.
An experienced lawyer, such as the lawyers of Delray Beach personal injury firm Zimmerman & Frachtman, will be able to help you through the process of deciding which option best fits your case.