If you slip and fall under circumstances that could have been avoided, you may be entitled to compensation. However, you may not like the idea of filing a lawsuit. Most of us have slipped, tripped, or fell by accident in our lives and have been perfectly fine; if you’re blaming yourself or if you’re downplaying your injuries, it’s easy to dismiss the possibility of initiating a lawsuit.
Before you make up your mind, think carefully about the variables in play and consider talking to a personal injury lawyer.
The Trouble With Lawsuits
A lawsuit could potentially help you win a significant sum of money, designed to compensate you for your injuries – including your medical expenses, lost wages, and even your subjective pain and suffering in the aftermath of the incident. In many cases, you’ll even end up with some money left over. Because of this, a lawsuit could be massively beneficial for you.
So why wouldn’t you sue?
Most people are deterred by one of a few factors:
- Assuming fault. Some people assume their slip and fall was entirely their fault, even if there were factors beyond their control. For example, they may not realize that businesses are required to post “wet floor” signs to caution their patrons about unsafe floor conditions.
- Fearing the time and stress of a lawsuit. Some people don’t want to spend time or have to worry about the outcome of a lawsuit. It’s true that lawsuits can be a lengthy and stressful endeavor. It could be weeks, or even months before you see progress – and it might be a difficult period to go through. But oftentimes, the payout is worth the extra stress.
- Fearing costs and failure. Many people are reluctant to pursue a lawsuit because they’re uncertain about the outcome or because they think they can’t afford a lawyer. But in many personal injury cases, lawyers won’t charge you a fee unless you win – meaning you have nothing to lose. They also offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose by asking about the possibilities for your case.
- Showing concern for the offending party. You may not want to sue if you know or care for the target of the lawsuit. For example, if you’re friends with the owner of the business where you slipped and fell and he’s been looking out for your wellbeing, you may have mixed feelings about bringing a lawsuit to him. This is something subjective you’ll have to evaluate for yourself.
Variables to Consider
If these reluctance factors are weighing on you, or if you’re just undecided about how to move forward, think about these variables in your slip and fall case:
- The egregiousness of the neglect. Was someone else’s negligence responsible for your injury? In a legal setting, neglect can be hard to demonstrate. The more egregious the neglect, the stronger your case will be – and the more motivated you’ll be to get justice. For example, knowingly violating the law and ethical codes could be interpreted as a more egregious display of neglect than a friend making a simple mistake.
- The seriousness of the injuries. You’ll also need to think about how serious your injuries are. If you walked away with nothing but a small bruise, there’s no real reason to file a lawsuit. If you went to the hospital for several days because of someone else’s neglect, you should definitely sue. Most cases are somewhere in the middle.
- The evidence you’ve collected. How much evidence were you able to collect and how much is available to you? Proving neglect in court can be tricky. Your lawyer can help you figure out how much evidence you’ll truly need and how much you currently have. Videos, photos, and eyewitness testimony backing your story can all help.
- Your medical costs and working status. How much have these injuries cost you? Were you out of work for a while or are you currently out of work? How much are you responsible for paying in medical bills? The more expensive the injuries, the more inclined you should be to sue.
- Your personal feelings. Don’t discount the power or importance of your personal feelings. If you’re feeling content and forgiving, you may not want to sue in a minor personal injury case. If you feel outraged at someone else’s neglect and you want to feel a sense of justice, suing may be your best option.
No matter what, you should take the time to talk to a lawyer. Most lawyers offer free initial consultations, where they’ll review your case, answer your questions, and suggest a possible path forward. There, you can learn all the information you need to decide whether it’s “worth it” to move forward with a case.