How Much Compensation Can You Expect for a Slip and Fall Case in New York?

The legal process that follows a slip and fall accident can go in a few different directions and will depend on several factors. You’re likely wondering, “How much compensation can I possibly recover for my damages?” We tell our clients that there is no exact formula to calculate an amount, but there are ways to estimate how much you may be entitled to and, more importantly, ways to maximize that settlement offer. Based on the severity of your injury and its effect on your life now and in the future, how much the responsible party is to blame for the accident, the monetary damages you have already suffered, and the outcomes of prior cases, your attorney should be able to at least estimate what your case might be worth.

What Is a Slip and Fall Accident? 

Generally speaking, a slip and fall accident is when someone finds themselves in a hazardous condition, slips or trips, falls, and injures themselves. Such accidents may occur due to a landlord, company, or contractor negligence, or simply bad weather conditions. Although the words, “slip” and “trip” are often used interchangeably, they have their own distinctions. 

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) outlines these distinctions as follows: 

  1. you can slip when you lose your footing; 
  2. you can trip when you catch your foot on or in something; 
  3. and one or both of those can lead to a fall, which is when you come down to the floor suddenly and accidently.

For example, people normally slip when they lose their footing on a slippery wet surface. People normally trip over hard objects such as mislaid bricks on a sidewalk, a fallen tree branch, or incorrectly built stairs.

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in New York

The state of New York poses some very unique and serious hazards that can cause slip and fall accidents. Having one of the biggest cities in the United States, the possibilities of slip and fall accidents are endless. While your injury may or may not have been the result of one of these causes, here are some typical things that can lead to a slip and fall:

  • Damaged and/or defective walkways
  • Construction site negligence
  • Unsecured cords or cables
  • Insufficient lighting on a walkway or stairway
  • No signage warning people of hazards
  • Lack of weather maintenance on a walkway or stairway
  • Failure to fix leaks
  • Lack of stairway or platform maintenance
  • Failure to repair damaged walls/ceilings
  • Falling debris
  • Missing or damaged handrails
  • Loose floor tiles

Basically, the possibilities are seemingly never-ending. One can only be so careful in daily life, because sometimes a slip and fall injury may be unavoidable. If your injury is caused at least in part by another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. 

Premises Liability Law

Generally, if you or someone you love has sustained an injury from a slip and fall accident, you have the right to pursue compensation as long as the incident occurred due to the negligence of another party. In New York, slip and fall injury cases fall under premises liability law. 

Premises liability law essentially considers whether a slip and fall accident was reasonably foreseeable. An accident would be reasonably foreseeable if an average person would have anticipated that an accident could occur based on the condition of the property. This also includes whether an owner made a reasonable effort to keep the property repaired, safe, and/or provided some form of warning if a dangerous condition was present but not yet fixed.

Why the Status of an Injured Person Matters

Not everyone who is injured from a slip and fall accident will have the same rights to recover compensation. The duty of a landlord, management company or other responsible entity differs based on the status of the injured party. Your attorney will likely analyze this first to ensure that all of the evidence in your case is consistent with your claim against the party you are accusing. Once you and your attorney have clarified who you will be pursuing for compensation of your damages through the lens of New York liability law, your attorney will file a notice to the party at fault.

Let’s take a look at the main three statuses of people on a property other than their own:


Business Invitee

A business invitee is someone who is on the property because the owner is allowing the premises to be open to the public for business, ultimately benefiting the owner. This includes tenants of a residential property, customers for a retail store, or patients of a medical facility. Property owners and management companies have a great duty to ensure the safety of any person under this status. It is required that any hazards are repaired in a timely manner, and that business invitees are sufficiently warned of any defects that may cause injury. Examples of this are putting up warning signs or making announcements notifying people of hazards capable of causing injury.

Licensee

Another protected status is that of a licensee. This status includes anyone who has legal permission to be on someone else’s property, such as third-party contractors who are hired to make repairs to a property. Social guests also fall under this category as long as the property permits them to be there. An example of social guests not protected under this status would be if an apartment building does not allow more than 2 guests per tenant, and a tenant invites more than 2 guests, one of whom is injured on the property. Any such violation will usually constitute the next status, trespassers.

Trespasser

A trespasser has significantly less rights in comparison to business invitees and licensees. An owner of a property only owes a trespasser a minimal duty of care, due to the fact that a trespasser does not have permission to be on a property in the first place. The minimal duty of care that a property owner owes to a trespasser includes not intentionally, maliciously, and/or recklessly causing harm to them. 


What Does a New York Slip and Fall Settlement Cover?

After you and your attorney establish who is liable for your slip and fall accident, and what your status on the property was, the next thing you will need to figure out is what kinds of damages could you recover. Oftentimes this would include most if not all of the losses you suffered due to the injury, depending on your status. This is a very tricky part of the legal process, because no two slip and fall accidents occur the exact same way, nor do they impact victims’ lives in the exact same ways. Your attorney will help you figure out potential settlement amounts based on how your injuries have affected you in the present, and how they will further affect you and your loved ones in the future.

Here are examples of typical factors that could affect your compensation amounts:

  • Medical treatment costs (current and/or future)
  • Lost wages (current and/or future)
  • Emotional trauma 
  • Expenses of dependants
  • Pain and suffering

Slip and fall accidents can result in very costly consequences. If your injury was not due to your own negligence, why should you be held responsible? You shouldn’t. 

Typically, when a person slips and falls, he or she sustains some sort of injury or pain that will require medical attention, which is not free. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Injuries might cause a victim to miss work days, especially if a job requires one to be physically healthy and active every day. 

Adults who are injured in a slip and fall accident may also have dependents who rely on them for food, transportation, housing, and other expenses. You may be able to recover the costs of all or most of these damages. Finally, you may also be entitled to compensation for any pain or suffering caused by your injuries. This is not limited to physical pain. A person can suffer from emotional anguish; the mental health toll of these accidents should not be overlooked. 

In the New York case of Klupchak v. First East Village Associates, a woman (Klupchak) suffered a devastating fall while trying to use a fire escape exit. She was paralyzed in the accident because the fire escape did not meet current legal standards. In fact, the type of fire escape in this Manhattan apartment was outlawed nearly 100 years ago! Klupchak ended up falling through a hole in the fire escape while attending a party in the building, fell 12 feet, and fractured her spine, leaving her confined to a wheelchair. But she should not have been venturing onto the fire escape landing because it was not intended for regular use, and she was intoxicated at the time of the accident. The jury decided on a final settlement for damages at over $38 million, but was awarded $29 million in the end, for her life-changing injury. The amount was reduced because the jury found that Klupchak was partly responsible for her accident.

In New York, if someone slips, falls, and gets injured, and they are found to have some fault for the accident, the award is adjusted downward to reflect this. For example, if a person is texting while walking and slips and falls over a hazard in a parking lot, a court may well find that that person is partially to blame for their own accident and resulting injuries. So if an injured person is awarded $100,000 but found 30% to blame, that person will only be awarded $70,000 of the $100,000.

New York applies a pure comparative negligence rule, which means that a party can pursue damages no matter how much of their own negligence contributed to the accident. This means that even if you were 99% responsible for your slip and fall injury, you would still be entitled to 1% of the settlement amount.

What Is a Settlement and How Is it Reached?

When two or more parties decide to find a solution outside of the courtroom, they can move into their own private negotiation stage. This negotiation for settlement is arguably the most important stage in the process of recovering damages, and you will want a highly skilled attorney by your side. That’s because you do not want an insurance company or attorney for the liable party to persuade you into accepting an offer that isn’t fair.

Typically, a settlement follows an insurance claim or lawsuit filing, but two parties may agree right from the beginning to resolve the issue privately through a settlement. Most of these cases we handle end with a settlement that leaves both parties satisfied, or at least content that the issue has been resolved. The liable party pays the victim, and the victim agrees to drop the insurance claim or lawsuit.  

Calculating Your Potential Settlement

Settling out of court may seem simple enough, but it can actually be a very complicated process. If you are settling with an insurance company, you may have a bit of a “negotiating war” on your hands, in which case, you will not want to be alone.

You should hire an expert attorney who is well versed in the areas of negotiation and personal injury to ensure you get the best possible settlement you deserve.

Usually insurance companies will already have a range of settlement amounts they will be willing to give you in exchange for you not to resolve the matter through court. Always keep in mind that an insurance company or any other liable entity will want to get you the least possible amount in a settlement. Your attorney will be fighting to get you the amount you deserve, and one you are satisfied with, before they finalize a settlement.

The calculations of a settlement usually depend on the severity of your injury, prior expenses that you have already incurred, and future damages that you will suffer. The calculation usually begins with medical costs, and then goes from there. Once your bills are added up, your settlement may be increased by a multiplier. This multiplication of your amount could range from 1.5 to 5. The maximum (5) is usually applied by insurance companies when an injury is life-changing and/or permanent. Most personal injury settlements are multiplied by between 1.5 and 3. 

Let’s look at an example. Suppose you are a victim of a slip and fall accident on corporate property that is open to the public for business. The floor was wet from a spill by one of their own employees and management was warned about it multiple times, however they failed to address the hazard. You suffered a broken hip as a result of the slip and fall accident, and now your lifestyle has changed in a single instant. You’re unable to work your job as a construction worker, your medical costs amounted to about $100,000, and you will have to pay for future physical therapy and modifications to your home to accomodate for mobility while you recover from your injury. In addition to all of that, you have a child who depends on you to provide food, school supplies, rides to and from school, and other basic dependencies expected from a parent.

In this hypothetical, you may be entitled to compensation for the loss of wages, medical bills, and needs associated with providing for yourself and dependents while you are recovering (e.g., meal and transportation costs). You may be entitled to even more due to the uncertainty of what the future might hold. An experienced personal injury attorney will work with you to make sure all possible expenses are covered in the final settlement amount, whether it’s paid by an insurance company or whoever is responsible.  

Average Slip and Fall Cost and Other Statistics

In 2020, 13,741 personal injury claims against New York City were settled for $1.03 billion.  According to the CDC, the number of unintentional fall deaths nationally was 39,433 in 2019 and the average hospital cost of a slip and fall accident in the U.S. can range from approximately $10,000 to $40,000. These expenses can be devastating for most families who don’t have insurance or emergency funds. On average, slip and fall accidents are more dangerous and costly for adults over the age of 65, as CDC statistics from 2014 show us that about $50 billion each year is spent on non-fatal fall injuries, and $754 million is spent on fatal falls, that injure these older Americans.


Frequently Asked Questions 

Could I pursue more compensation in case of unforeseen damages that arise after my initial settlement?

Generally speaking, no. The reason for this is because when you settle a case with an insurance company or an accused entity directly, you usually have to agree not to pursue any further action against them once the settlement is complete and you have received compensation for your damages. 

There are some exceptions in relation to bringing up a case in the future against the same entity. In the case Abdulla v. Gross, the claimant had previously slipped and fell in the same residence, and he slipped and fell again. When he brought up the case for the second slip and fall, the property owner attempted to argue to the court that the second claim was barred from court due to the previous settlement for an injury on the same premises. The court found that due to the facts, the second slip and fall was completely separate and had no connection to the first fall, therefore it was not barred from being brought up again in court. 

Can I still get a settlement even though I wasn’t allowed on a property I was injured on?

This depends. If the owner of the property did not give you their duty of minimal care even as a trespasser, then you still may be entitled to compensation depending on the circumstances. One example of this is the “attractive nuisance doctrine” in New York, which essentially states that owners have a duty to eliminate dangers or provide certain basic safety measures if there is some sort of artificial condition(s) on the property that would attract any children. Note that in New York, the attractive nuisance doctrine only applies to children, in which case, the owner may be liable for a trespassing child’s injuries. Examples of this are features such as a swimming pool, playground equipment, or other attractions, such as a mound of sand. The reason this only applies to children is that they are curious in nature, and do not know any better, unlike adults.

How can I most accurately calculate a slip and fall settlement? 

If you want to estimate your potential slip and fall settlement, and then pursue that compensation, give yourself the best chance of maximizing both by contacting a highly skilled attorney. They will be able to most accurately figure out the amount you deserve, and then help you navigate the legal process to recover it. 

Could I receive a settlement if I lost a loved one due to a slip and fall accident? 

If someone you love has lost their life due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages to cover all expenses that stem from the incident, and to compensate those who have been affected by the death. You will have to prove that the slip and fall accident occurred because the owner was careless. Additionally, you will have to prove that the deceased person would have been able to recover damages if they had survived their injuries. You will want to contact an attorney to file a wrongful death suit to handle this while you’re in the grieving process. This lawsuit can recover costs associated with things like the funeral and burial, pain and suffering of the deceased prior to death, value of the income or services that the deceased would have provided, loss of companionship, and medical costs before death.

I’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, but I don’t have money to get legal consultation, what do I do?

Don’t worry, here at Rosenblum Law, we offer free, no-obligation consultations. This will allow you to speak to one of our expert attorneys in personal injury, and they can help you figure out what is best in your case. You will find our contact information below.

Who Should You Contact?

People can reasonably expect all property to be maintained up to a safe standard. This is especially true if the property is publicly accessible for business, recreational use, or licensed for you to access. When the maintenance and repair of at property is neglected, serious (even fatal) consequences may arise. If you are to secure the settlement you deserve, you will need the support of the highly competent and determined legal team here at Rosenblum Law. We offer decades of experience and unrivaled attention to our clients’ cases to ensure the best possible outcomes. If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip and fall accident and are seeking the settlement you deserve, don’t hesitate to take the crucial first step on the road to recovery. E-mail or call 888-815-3649 for a free consultation.


Other Resources  

caution wet floor sign man walking nearby
Call Us
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap