It’s no secret that slip and fall cases can take a long time to settle.
Generally, slip and fall settlements can take a year or longer.
There’s a variety of reasons for that, but the most important one to understand is that you are likely filing a claim against an insurance company.
Why Slip and Fall Settlements Can Take So Long
When insurance company customers pay an insurance company, the company does not simply deposit the money into a general account. It invests the money in the market. In other words, that money is accruing returns in the form of investment interest.
The long the insurance company takes to settle your lawsuit, the more time that money has to see returns. Most important, it’s less of a net loss to the insurance company.
If a slip and fall case settles fast, that’s large because the insurance company thinks it more profitable to pay you less money now than it would be to pay you more money later. In other words, you’re not getting the full value of your injury lawsuit.
This is also why hiring a skilled slip and fall accident attorney to litigate your claim can make a major difference in your lawsuit’s ultimate value.
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Slip and Fall Lawsuit Process
Complaint, Summons, and Response
In the first stage in a slip and fall lawsuit is the plaintiff’s attorney will draft a complaint against the defendant. The complaint will identify who the parties are in the lawsuit.
In addition, there will be a description of the slip and fall injury outlining how it occurred and why the defendant is responsible. Finally, it will state what you want the at-fault party to pay for. This can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, missed time from work, and other injuries.
The complaint will be filed in the court in which you intend to try the lawsuit. You must also serve a summons to the party you are suing. The summons orders the defendant to respond within 20 days.
The defendant then responds. The response will either affirm or deny the plaintiff’s allegations. In addition, they may claim that the plaintiff was partially or fully liable for the injury.
Discovery in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
During discovery, the defendant, or very likely their insurance company’s lawyers, will interview you under oath. They may also ask you and your attorneys to produce evidence related to your claims. The discovery phase can take years or only months to complete.
Trial or Settlement
After this period, the defense or the attorneys for the insurance company will determine their next course of action. If this means they settle, then they’ll settle.
If not, the case will go to trial. Typically, insurance companies do not want to see a case go to trial due to the expense. Often, insurance companies may threaten trial, but settle before the lawsuit sees a jury. When they don’t, the case is tried before a jury.
Slip and fall lawsuits are not overly complicated. They are typically done in 3 to 5 days. If you win your lawsuit, the defendant has 30 to 60 days to pay your claim.