If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident, it is within your legal right to seek compensation with the help of a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer. The fear of going to trial or having to take the stand in one’s own defense is mostly unjustified. Though the circumstances surrounding the accident are often disputed, it is in the best interest of both parties to work toward a swift resolution at minimal expense.
What happens if a slip and fall case goes to trial?
If your case does go to trial, you can expect the following stages of litigation:
- The jury is selected, and the court date is set.
- Both sides give their opening statements to the court.
- Evidence is presented from both sides, which may include witness testimony and cross-examination.
- Both sides provide their closing arguments.
- The jurors deliberate.
- Judge and jury deliver their verdict.
- If the verdict is hotly contested, either side may go through an appeals process.
While court can seem like an intimidating process, a good attorney will instruct you on what to expect, what to bring to court, how to dress, and what you will say if you have to take the stand. Before the trial, you will meet with your attorney multiple times to answer interrogatories, prepare a deposition, and practice the examination and cross-examination to ensure there are no inconsistencies in your story.
Is a slip and fall case more likely to win in court?
Slip and fall cases are notoriously among the hardest lawsuits to win in court. Negative attribution is a significant factor, with jurors saying they would have done something differently, and the accident wouldn’t have happened to them. Commonly, jurors find plaintiffs 95 percent at fault, meaning the plaintiffs are only able to collect on 5 percent of the total damages allowed.
The cost of preparing the trial presentation leaves very little profit for the legal team while disappointing the client on top of it all. For instance, if a jury determines the claim is worth $200,000 but deems the plaintiff 95 percent liable, they can only collect $10,000– minus the legal fees, they walk away with $6,600. Some jury awards can exceed $1 million, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule.
Given the likelihood of a defendant’s victory in court, one would think the opposing side would rather take their chances in court than pay upfront, but there are many reasons why a settlement is achievable. For starters, a local business does not want to be featured in the newspapers and suffer the fallout of public opinion with the suggestion their premises is an unsafe place to visit.
Some companies have the “Amazon” policy of taking care of their customers, no questions asked. Secondly, the cost of preparing a trial and the work of securing all the necessary documentation may outweigh the $30,000 or $50,000 average cost of a settlement. Businesses have a lot on their plate; defending a lawsuit is an unwelcome distraction.
How are most slip and fall cases settled?
During the Discovery Phase, each party obtains all the necessary information to build a case. This may include requesting documents, gathering testimony through deposition, consulting with outside experts, and visiting the location. You have a legal obligation to cooperate during this fact-finding part of the process.
Next, both sides are allowed to file their motions with the court. Sometimes cases can be outright dismissed without further consideration, such as instances where too much time has elapsed since the incident. A judge will typically encourage mediation or settlement talks before setting a date for trial. Sometimes both sides can agree, and there is no need for a court date. Settlements can be negotiated in as little as a week.
Settlements can occur long before trial, days before trial, the morning of the trial, during the trial, or the appeals process. The timing of a slip and fall settlement may be related to the strength of the evidence and doctor’s testimony, the negotiation tactics, or the expense of retaining a defense attorney paid by the hour.
Experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyers make the difference.
It helps to work with an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer who knows your area judge, defendant, and defense counsel. While each case presents a unique set of facts, possessing familiarity and a solid reputation with the various actors reduces uncertainty and increases your chances of walking away with a favorable settlement.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident through little to no fault of your own, you have a right to seek compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. Contact our Los Angeles slip and fall lawyers today for a free consultation. Be prepared to tell us as many specific details as possible. We work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay us anything unless we win.