What you need to know about slip and fall lawsuits in Wisconsin
Gather the details of the case, get the basics on Wisconsin law and figure out if a lawsuit is a possibility.
There is no fixed amount to expect, but a few factors contribute most to your potential settlement amount.
Typical injuries from a slip and fall include knee, back, head & tailbone injuries.
Here's how to file a lawsuit - from reporting the accident all the way to contacting a personal injury lawyer.
The window of time you have to file a lawsuit - keep in mind the sooner you act, the better.
Most of the time you should lawyer up - you can only find out by talking to an attorney you can trust for transparent legal advice.
A slip and fall accident is any incident where a person is injured as a result of hazardous conditions. These accidents can happen on commercial, private or governmental property including restaurants, stores, hotels, parking lots, supermarkets, casinos, gas stations, or hospitals.
Even minor of injuries from a slip and fall must be compensated – whether it’s recompense from the party at fault, money out of your pocket, or in the form of YOUR quiet prolonged pain and suffering. You have a choice.
A slip and fall lawsuit can be filed against any property owner or manager if they are at fault for an injury sustained on their property.
Who can I sue?
- Large companies like Walmart, Target or Walgreens
Winning a lawsuit rests on proving that the property owner is not only liable for your injuries, but that your injury is a result of their negligence. If these two factors can be proven, there is a strong chance that you can receive just compensation for your injury.
A trip and fall case falls under what is known as Premises Liability. From a legal standpoint premises liability means a property owner has a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for the public to enter. If you experience a slip and fall, the liability for that injury rests on the property owner or their insurance company.
Every state has different laws about the degree to which negligence affects the potential settlement of a slip and fall victim. Wisconsin is known as a modified comparative negligence state. Under modified comparative negligence, a plaintiff may seek damages in proportion to the degree to which their negligence contributed to the accident.
For example, if the defendant is found to be 10% responsible for the accident, their settlement will be reduced accordingly.
There is no exact figure for exactly how much you could receive in a trip and fall injury lawsuit. The outcome depends on the degree to which the accident has affected your wellbeing and livelihood. There is no damage cap on personal injury lawsuits in the state of Wisconsin - you are compensated justly with no limit on how much you can get.
Average payouts in Wisconsin are in the six to seven figure range depending on the severity of your injuries. We try to settle out of court to make things move faster - but our interest is ultimately in getting every penny you deserve. If going to court is the best decision, we are well equipped to fight on your behalf.
There may be:
- General compensation. Repayment for subjective traumas.
- Special compensation. Restores a victim’s financial situation.
General compensation includes:
- Pain and suffering settlements can vary greatly and there are no concrete guidelines for calculating it. Typically when calculating pain and suffering damages such as medical bills, the severity of injuries and how permanent those injuries are factor into the judgment.
- Mental anxiety describes the mental trauma a plaintiff may experience as a result of their accident. This can include the emotional trauma of the accident itself, subsequent medical treatments and procedures, changes to the plaintiff’s lifestyle or personal life as a result of injuries.
- Lost wages are important to restoring your financial situation after your bank account is depleted from days or even weeks away from work. If a slip and fall injury kept you from going to work, or prevented you from being able to do your job, you can be compensated for that time.
- Medical bills for your accident shouldn’t be your responsibility if the accident wasn’t. If someone else is found to be liable for an accident caused by their negligence they can be made to pay for all of your medical expenses as a result.
- Incidental expenses are any expenses that are indirectly caused by your accident. This can be something like increased travel expenses or other inconveniences caused by the injury.
Here are some examples of six figure lawsuits attained by our firm:
Injuries that result from falls can have serious consequences such as loss of mobility, impaired motor skills or other permanent disabilities.
- Knee injury. The loss of mobility from a knee injury can be devastating both physically and financially. Twisting or landing on your kneecap can cause permanent ligament damage. Without the ability to move easily and freely your life can change drastically. A successful lawsuit will help you receive compensation for the direct and peripheral effects of a slip and fall knee injury.
- Back injury. The impact of a fall can cause a slipped disk in the spinal column. These injuries can be painful initially and long-term discomfort can persist for many years after the accident. Spinal damage often requires surgery to repair, and the resulting recovery period can keep you out of work for long periods of time.
- Head injury. One of the most serious injuries that a slip and fall can cause is a head injury. Severe head injuries can have a lifelong effect on how a person is able to function on a day-to-day basis. Even comparatively mild injuries like a concussion can have negative impact on long term cognitive functioning. More severe head injuries can affect mobility, balance and memory with no chance of recovery.
- Neck injury. Awkward falls put undue strain on the neck and can cause lingering pain, whiplash or even paralysis.
- Tailbone injury. A broken tailbone is one of the more painful injuries you can sustain in a slip and fall. Broken tailbones are typically slow to heal, even small fractures can take 8-12 weeks to heal. That’s three months of doctor’s appointments, missed work and painful recovery.
If you want to file a slip and fall lawsuit, the first step begins immediately after the accident. There are actions you can take right away to begin building evidence to support your case.
- Report your accident. Immediately following the accident you should report it to a manager or supervisor at the facility. Most businesses have a system in place for reporting and documenting accidents and injuries. Go through the accident reporting process, but choose your words carefully. If the accident wasn’t your fault, don’t say anything to make it sound like it might have been.
- Treat your injuries. If your injuries are severe, seek medical attention immediately. Prompt medical attention is important to minimize injury to yourself. Medical records will also help your case by establishing the full extent of your injuries and verify that they were caused by the accident.
- Get witnesses. If it is possible, contact witnesses who saw the accident. A third party’s verification will lend credibility to your claim.
- Take pictures of the accident site. It is important to document the circumstances and results of the accident immediately. Take good pictures of the accident site before the hazardous situation can be altered. Pictures of your injuries immediately following the accident are important evidence as well.
- Contact a qualified attorney. The most important thing you can do to get your case taken seriously is hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. An attorney who knows the ins and outs of personal injury law will ensure that you get every penny you deserve in compensation and help put your life back together.
You have 3 years to file a slip and fall lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires in the state of Wisconsin, according to Wisconsin Statutes section 893.54. This is in the case of personal injury.
If you are pursuing action against damage to loss of property – for instance if you damaged valuables when you fell – you have 6 years to seek repair/replacement of that property.
Keep in mind while you have three years’ time to file (6 for property), the cap on your potential compensation decreases as more time passes, evidence slips away and insurance companies amass their resources to build a case against you.
The sooner you act, the better.
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You might be tempted to go it alone and seek compensation without a lawyer.
Don’t do it yourself—too often individuals pursue legal action alone and get fleeced by insurance companies who fearlessly lowball you for lack of competent & aggressive pushback from an elite trip and fall personal injury attorney.
The cost of retaining legal compensation is more than offset by the huge boon to your settlement should you file a lawsuit with the right firm and get a big payoff.
Steve Caya has earned a reputation as Wisconsin's toughest motorcyle injury lawyer and fights tooth and nail for injured victims of slip and fall accidents, car crashes, nursing home neglect, bike accidents, construction site accidents and many other claims.
We are transparent in our legal advice – if your case doesn’t warrant hiring a lawyer we will tell you as much and advise you accordingly. There are many complex factors in play and you do yourself a disservice by skipping a free consultation with one of Wisconsin’s most trusted personal injury attorneys.