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The Average Workers' Comp Settlement After a Slip and Fall

Written by
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.
Victoria Muñoz
Lead Attorney
April 30, 2024  ·  4 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality workers' compensation advice to those injured at work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and help thousands of Americans get the benefits they deserve each year.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports 265,660 work injuries that resulted from slips, trips, and falls in 2022.1 If you fall at work and sustain injuries that leave you unable to work, you could qualify for workers’ compensation and a settlement worth almost $50,000 in some situations.

Average workers' comp settlements for a slip and fall

Workers' compensation cases that resulted from slips and falls settle for an average of $49,971 based on data from the National Safety Council. Included in that total payout is $27,688 to pay for a worker's medical bills and $22,283 as an indemnity payment (covering lost wages).2

Why your slip and fall settlement could be higher

While the national average gives a good idea of how much you could get from workers' comp, certain injuries also lead to higher or lower payouts. For example, wrist injuries settle for an average of $26,000 while neck injuries settle for almost $66,000 and head injuries can settle for almost $100,000.

The more medical care you need, the better your chances are for a large settlement. So a broken hip that requires surgery and physical therapy will come with a bigger payout than a strained muscle that requires a few weeks of rest.

Learn more about the average settlements for different types of injuries.

Settle your workers' comp claim today.

Does a fall always qualify for workers’ comp?

Injuries after a fall or slip can almost always qualify for workers' comp as long as they happened while doing your job and you reported them to your employer quickly. You have a limited amount of time to report injuries and missing that deadline will mean you can't get workers' comp benefits.

Otherwise, workers' comp is a no-fault system and any accident can get you benefits even if it was your fault. Common injuries include broken bones, fractures, cuts, sprains, strained muscles, and symptoms or conditions that result from other injuries.

The aggravation of pre-existing injuries also qualifies, like if you have back pain that's made worse after a fall. The workers' comp insurance company will ask you to prove that your condition was significantly worsened by a fall at work incident, but you can absolutely get benefits.

Learn more about the types of injuries that qualify for workers’ comp.

Who qualifies for workers’ comp?

Almost all employees can receive workers’ comp. Texas and South Dakota don't require all companies to provide workers' comp coverage, but businesses in all other states must have it as long as they have multiple employees.

Unfortunately, you won't qualify for benefits as an independent contractor, freelance worker, gig worker, or self-employed worker.

Read more about who does and doesn’t qualify for benefits.

When does workers’ comp offer a settlement?

Even if you have an eligible injury after a slip or fall, you won't necessarily get a settlement. At first, you'll receive temporary benefits, which include weekly payments to cover your lost income while out of work. These are worth up to two-thirds of your wages. Insurance will also pay for all necessary medical expenses.

The insurer will most likely look to settle around the time you reach maximum medical improvement. Known as MMI, this is the point when you’ve recovered as much as possible through medical treatment but haven’t returned to your pre-injury condition or capabilities.

Benefits change from temporary to to long-term (permanent disability) benefits after you hit MMI, and insurers usually prefer to close out your case with a lump-sum payment instead of continuing payments and medical care indefinitely.

If you're looking for a settlement, read more about situations when workers’ comp could offer a settlement.

What to do if you receive a settlement offer

There are three ways to respond to a settlement offer from the insurance company:

  1. Accept the offer.

  2. Reject the offer and continue benefits.

  3. Negotiate a better settlement.

Negotiating for a higher settlement is usually the best choice because the insurer is looking after its bottom line and probably won't offer more than the bare minimum to start. Since that minimum is rarely enough to cover the true cost of your recovery — especially if you expect months or years more of treatment — you’ll need to ask for more.

How much you should ask for requires difficult estimates of future lost wages and medical care. The last thing you want is to accept an offer that sounds like enough, only to realize in a year that the settlement money ran out faster than expected.

We recommend talking to a professional: a workers' compensation lawyer. A local lawyer will have experience calculating reasonable settlements for people with similar injuries and in similar jobs.

Related: What Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Do That I Can’t

All told,

from a settlement isn’t straightforward, though. Your goal is to get enough to pay for current and future medical care, cover future lost wages for missed work time, plus factor in the miscellaneous costs you may have.

The last thing you want is to sign a settlement agreement, only to find out in two years that it wasn’t enough to cover all your bills. That’s why we recommend getting professional help from a workers’ comp lawyer. An experienced local lawyer has negotiated similar deals, so they’ll be able to estimate how much you need and then push insurance to offer you a fairer deal.

Do you need a workers’ comp lawyer?

You can file a workers' comp claim and receive benefits even if you don't have a lawyer. Having one can greatly simplify the process, though. They can file paperwork, handle communication with insurance, secure medical treatment from doctors they trust, and they can help you negotiate a fair settlement.

As an example of the difference a workers' comp lawyer can make for you, the average settlement with an Atticus lawyer is double what people get when negotiating a settlement by themselves.

Cost isn't a concern either since Atticus lawyers offer a free consultation and don't charge anything upfront. You don't pay a cent until after your lawyer gets you a settlement, meaning unless you win, you don't have to pay the lawyer fee.

To get your workers' comp questions answered and connect with a trusted lawyer in your area, complete our 3-minute workers’ comp quiz or call us at the number below.

Get workers' comp help today.

Common questions about workers’ comp for slips and falls

Who qualifies for workers’ comp?

Most full-time and part-time workers can qualify for workers’ comp, but independent contractors, consultants, and freelancers don’t usually qualify.

Can I qualify for workers' comp after a slip, trip, or fall?

Yes! Regardless of whose fault the fall was, an injury can qualify for workers' comp benefits as long as it keeps you out of work for at least a few days and you report it to your employer. Here’s how long you have to report a work injury in your state.

How much will my settlement after a slip and fall?

The average workers’ comp settlement after a slip and fall is about $50,000, but how much you get really depends on the type of injury you have. As an example, hip injuries settle for twice as much as foot injuries on average, but claims for multiple injuries lead to an even higher payout. Learn more in our guide to average workers' comp settlements.

Should I accept a workers’ comp settlement?

It depends on your personal situation. Negotiating is best in many cases, but we recommend getting a lawyer’s opinion before you make any decision. They can help you negotiate enough to cover your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and other bills while you’re out of work.

Will surgery increase my workers’ comp settlement?

It depends. Surgery often leads to higher settlements but it could also lower your lump-sum payment if it leads to a quicker recovery. If you're every unsure what medical care you should receive or you want treatment from more independent doctors, contact a workers' comp attorney.

Will I pay tax on my workers’ comp settlement?

No. Workers’ compensation settlements aren’t taxable, with only very rare exceptions.

What if I can’t return to work after a slip and fall injury?

In addition to long-term workers' comp benefits, you may qualify for a federal program like SSDI. Learn more about your options if you can’t return to work after an on-the-job injury.

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Related resources:

How Much a Workers' Comp Lawyer Costs

A hand draw portrait of a smiling, helpful lawyer.
By Victoria Muñoz

5 Common Questions About Workers' Comp Lawyers

A hand draw portrait of a smiling, helpful lawyer.
By Victoria Muñoz

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  1. 1.
    Bureau of Labor Statistics, Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities,” U.S. Department of Labor, accessed January 26, 2024, https://www.bls.gov/iif/.
  2. 2.
    Workers’ Compensation Costs,” National Safety Council, accessed April 30, 2024, https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/costs/workers-compensation-costs/.
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.

Victoria Muñoz

Lead Attorney

Victoria Muñoz is an attorney on Atticus’s Workers' Compensation team. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of Stanford Law School, and has counseled hundreds of people seeking workers' compensation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her pup.
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