Slip and fall accidents are a leading global cause of accident-related mortality and send millions of unsuspecting victims of such incidents to the emergency department annually. These accidents can occur at any place without warning, resulting in a wide range of physical injuries, including bone fractures, concussions, bruises, lacerations, spinal cord damage, internal bleeding, organ damage, paralysis, and more. These injuries can have lasting undesirable consequences for their victims, including physical and emotional damage and a severe drain on personal finances.
Most slip and fall accidents occur due to easily preventable violations of public safety standards. Unattended safety hazards are the most common cause of slip and fall incidents throughout the United States. When such an incident occurs on someone else’s property, it is natural to wonder if the property owner or management can be held liable for the safety violations that led to your accident and injury. Pursuing legal action can become necessary in the face of growing medical and incidental expenses.
If you or your loved one got injured in a slip and fall accident at a public or privately owned property, you can pursue compensation for your damages through a personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits can have variable outcomes depending on the facts relevant to your accident and injuries. While some lawsuits proceed to a courtroom trial, most culminate in slip and fall settlements outside the court. The information below will take a closer look at a typical slip and fall lawsuit timeline.
Slip and Fall Settlement Timeline
Post-Accident Period & Legal Representation
In the time immediately following the accident, you should file an official complaint with the owner of the property where the accident occurred. Besides obtaining medical treatment for your injuries, obtaining, and compiling physical evidence for your lawsuit should be your top priority. The process can take up to a few weeks, depending on the circumstances of your accident and the severity of your injuries. It is also when you should hire a competent attorney to represent you in the upcoming lawsuit.
The pre-trial investigation comprises weeks to months of compiling physical evidence related to the accident. To support your case, your legal team will gather all the photographic and written evidence, besides eyewitness testimonies, official complaints, and more. All evidence is collected to support your legal case and ensure that you will receive adequate compensation for your damages.
Official Complaint & Answer
The lawsuit is formally initiated with an official complaint filed in a court of law. This document describes your accident and damages in detail and sets the stage for future legal proceedings. A copy of this complaint is delivered to the defendant, and the legal back-and-forth regarding an answer to this complaint can take up to a month.
After the complaint has been filed, your lawyer will send a demand letter to the defendant’s legal team. This demand letter clearly describes what you expect as an outcome of the lawsuit. This letter is usually followed by legal correspondence between the parties involved in the lawsuit. This step can take up to a month or more, depending on the complexity of your legal case.
Pre-trial discovery is the phase where both parties are allowed to collect and compile all forms of evidence necessary to prove their case in a court of law. This phase involves depositions under oath, from both parties, eyewitnesses, medical experts, forensic experts, and more.
Settlement & Trial
After any pre-trial motions have been filed, both parties are given a chance for mediation and settlement. If both parties reach a common consensus, a settlement can take place and the case would not move to trial. Settlement negotiations can take a few weeks to resolve. However, if a settlement is not reached, the case proceeds to a court trial which can take up to a year or more.
Slip and fall lawsuits have variable timelines that depend on the specifics of each accident. A typical lawsuit can take up to a year or more to reach a desirable settlement or court decision through a trial. Hiring a competent attorney is essential to safeguard your rights and ensure that you receive fair financial compensation for your damages.