A woman is suing Wal-Mart for injuries she alleges were sustained on store property following a June, 2012 slip-and-fall accident. The woman filed suit against Walmart Stores, Inc on April 1st, 2013 and is seeking over $50,000 for medical expenses, lost earnings, and court costs. According to the woman, she slipped and fell on an unknown liquid that was left on the floor adjacent to the jewelry department, and claims that the fall injured her back, leg, and hand.
Before Filing Suit
Sometimes, a slip-and-fall accident may appear plain and simple, which could lead some injury victims to try to recover damages on their own by initiating a slip and fall complaint without help of an attorney. While this right exists, it is not one that experts generally recommend is exercised, as non-attorneys usually have a much harder time recovering everything that they may be entitled to under the law. For this reason, allowing an attorney to review the facts of a case and the injuries / detriment sustained is a good idea because it will give the victim a more accurate idea of the value of his or her case.
As in the story mentioned above, it can take several months before a personal injury case makes it to court, if the case goes to court at all. The time between an accident and trial or slip and fall settlement is generally spent gathering facts and information that a victim’s attorney can use to craft a legal argument or compel the other side to settle the matter out of court. By working with an attorney, the victim can be sure that this time is spent productively, as most average citizens have no idea of where to even begin a fact finding investigation in furtherance of civil litigation. It is also important to note that once the injured collects slip and fall compensation settlement, no further action can be taken against any other potentially liable party.
How and Why Cases Settle
The law gives victims of accidents that are caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct of another the right to seek monetary compensation for their injuries, both physical and economic, from the responsible party. Generally, when the facts of a case seem clear, it can be less expensive for the offending person or entity to settle the case out of court. If the two parties can’t agree on an amount for damages, the victim or offending party is free to refuse to settle and force a case to court where a judge or jury can decide the outcome.
At the root of it all, the decision to settle is generally financial, although some big businesses will do it in order to avoid bad press which, in reality, is also a financial decision.
The legal doctrine of Respondeat Superior, which is Latin for “let the master answer”, allows employers to answer for, and be liable for, the negligent, reckless, and sometimes intentional conduct of employees. This means, in a case like a slip-and-fall accident, the victim need not pursue compensation for damages from the individual employee or employees responsible for creating or allowing the hazard, and instead need only bring charges against the rightful employer of those individuals in order to recover.