In most instances, slip and fall cases settle out of court. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), few lawsuits go through the entire trial process, as most end in a mutual agreement between the two parties. This typically benefits those involved, as it spares them the time, money, and stress of a trial, and it offers privacy protection as it takes place outside of a courtroom.
The Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles encourages those seeking financial awards in personal injury cases to do so using a privately conducted method, which allows the involved parties to attempt to settle their dispute before having to take it to trial.
Alternative Dispute Resolution in California
In legal settings, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to any manner of resolving a dispute without going to court. In some cases, the court may have the parties attend mandatory mediation before going to trial, as they may agree on terms without the hassle of formal litigation. California offers four types of ADR by which the parties can attempt to settle a slip and fall case out of court.
Negotiation occurs when the parties or their lawyers discuss the case in person to try to reach a settlement. They may also do this online or by phone or videoconference in an ADR process known as online dispute resolution (ODR).
In mediation, the parties involved handle their negotiations through a neutral third party known as a mediator. The mediator listens to both parties’ sides, assesses the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments, and attempts to help them compromise on a solution. They do not, however, decide the outcome of the case; if mediation fails, the parties may still go to trial. Mediation often works for parties who want to come to a resolution, especially if they have trouble communicating with one another or become emotional about the situation. In other instances, such as when the parties want a public trial or one party has suffered abuse at the hands of the other, mediation does not suit the parties’ needs.
If they cannot settle their case in mediation, the parties may choose arbitration as the next step. This process allows an arbitrator to hear both sides of the case and make a legally educated decision on an award. Parties can either agree to the results or reject the decision and move forward to trial.
Mandatory Settlement Conference
In these meetings, a judge or settlement officer works with each side to examine the arguments, including the pros and cons of each, to attempt once more to promote a rational agreement between the parties. Personal injury cases like slip and fall claims require at least one mandatory settlement conference before the parties can proceed with a trial.
Ideally, your slip and fall case will settle out of court before it reaches this point. If it resembles other cases of its type, you will achieve success using one or more methods of ADR. If you cannot come to a resolution, however, you may need to take your case to court.
A Lawyer Will Take Your Case to Trial if You Cannot Reach a Fair Settlement
Especially after exhausting all of your ADR options, you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of facing trial on your own. However, a lawyer can help you take your case to court to hold the property owner accountable for your slip and fall injuries. They will evaluate your damages, determine liability in your case, and pursue fair financial recovery on your behalf.
Financial Awards in Slip and Fall Accident Cases
The financial awards you may qualify for depend on the circumstances of your slip and fall cases, such as the extent of your injury, available insurance coverage, and whether or not comparative negligence applies to your case. The types of compensation you may receive for your injuries include:
- Emergency medical care, medical equipment, rehabilitation, and other related healthcare expenses
- Lost wages if you missed work due to your injuries
- Loss of earning capacity if you cannot return to work temporarily or permanently
- Pain and suffering for your emotional and physical distress
An attorney can assess your injuries and help you pursue adequate financial awards for your losses.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today to Get Started on Your Slip and Fall Accident Case
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we may be able to settle your case outside of a courtroom and will make every effort to achieve a fair settlement for you without going to trial. However, if we have to take your case to trial, we will fight for accountability and justice for you. Contact our legal team today at (800) 223-5115 to discuss your free case evaluation.