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Personal injury settlement- ballpark/estimate or worst case scenario, how much, and how long? (some info provided 2 base answer)

Waldorf, MD |

I know..every case differs and depends on expenses, circumstances, etc. but just trying to get an "idea" of how much could be settled for (even worst case minimum scenario), also how long could it take for the case to settle. Example: trip/fall injury on parking lot and defendant is determined liable, lost wages around $3000 due to time lost from work, medical expenses around $5500 (ER and doctor visits, xrays, ct scan), takes about a month to heal (nothing broken but major sprains, and mild to moderate concussion). How much (estimate) pain and suffering and total settlement value? Also, how long before settlement reached & received? Trying to figure out if valuable enough for atty to take on, or am I better off trying to settle with owner on my own? Any number-specific ranges appreciated

Lost wages covered by the time by my own personal vacation leave taken from work Medical expenses covered by my own personal health insurance Both of above I was advised that they would still be claimed in the settlement, for I should not have to use my own valuable paid leave ("but for" the injuries would not have had to use it other than intended) and that despite health insurance coverage was advised defendant should not assume that I have health insurance and would still be liable for the costs incurred

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Attorney answers 8

Posted

Worst case scenario 0; best case scenario significantly more than that. In this business you get what you pay for - and that is almost always a good thing.

Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff www.nyelderinjurylaw.com

Posted

I would always recommend that you obtain the services of an attorney. The insurance company's are programmed to not offer you full value.

Posted

Based on the information provided, IF the defendant is 100% liable, and you can PROVE your out-of-pocket medical bills and lost wages, you are entitled to 100% reimbursement for each. As for "pain and suffering," you need to discuss the average or expected "value" of such injuries in the venue (County) where the lawsuit if filed with a local personal injury attorney.

The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney until we sign a retainer agreement.

Asker

Posted

So, it is only the out-of-pocket medical bills? I thought (according to some of the answers on another question I had on here) that even if the expenses were covered by personal health insurance coverage that those costs were also eligible for settlement?

Matthew C Simon

Matthew C Simon

Posted

If the insurance company pays for the medical bills, they may seek reimbursement (not you). If you file a personal injury lawsuit, they may put a lien on your case (meaning if you settle, you have to pay them back out of your settlement). In other words, you do not get to "make money" based on the amount of the bills. You may be entitled to pain and suffering. Based on the injuries you identify, it sounds worth it to hire an attorney. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis where you would not have to lay out any expenses.

James P Brady

James P Brady

Posted

A fall down almost never gats 100% liability on the defendant at a trial from a jury.

James P Brady

James P Brady

Posted

A fall down almost never gets 100% liability on the defendant at a trial from a jury.

Asker

Posted

How would a pothole (which can be proven to have been on the property [in which I was an invitee] since last year), in the path of my walking direction, at which point my attention was reasonably diverted to my right (to see if there was oncoming traffic in order to cross safely) be considered, insofar as percentage of liability to the defendant? Just wondering what your opinion (and others') would be on that aspect considering what I just provided. I appreciate your responses.

Asker

Posted

Also, the incident occurred during morning rush hour, in which the business is one that would be reasonably expected to be very busy (could be considered the business' "peak" customer timeframe, and was, with both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Matthew C Simon

Matthew C Simon

Posted

Regarding percentage of fault, my colleague is absolutely correct. Generally, a common defense is that you did not observe an open and obvious condition and/or you failed to pay attention as you proceeded. 10-30% comparative fault of the plaintiff is not unusual.

Asker

Posted

I can see how that could be used as a defense, however, in response to that I would expect that by the same token, consideration should be weighed that there were no warning signs or indications of the structural defect, further that it can be shown that the defect has existed for some time (owner should have been aware and corrected it, knowing their business is open to the public and could result in injury [and should take the utmost care in providing utmost care to prevent injuries of their customers/invitees]. If they claim to not have known about it, it could be demonstrated that they did not perform routine premises inspection to become aware of it [and it is still there to this day], although some employees ran out and property owner was notified. So if there is any judgment of comparative fault, I would hope/expect it to be a very minimal percentage. At least that is my opinion on that matter (or the way I would view it even if not my case, i.e., if I were a juror in such a trial).

Matthew C Simon

Matthew C Simon

Posted

You have good arguments. No doubt. And i suggest you use them to try to get the best settlement or trial verdict. With that being said 10-30% comparative negligence is not unusual. 10-15% even if "strong" cases often are found against even careful plaintiff. Also, if you're considering litigating this case yourself, please beware that there are endless Court Rules, Rules of Evidence, and other procedural issues which you may have difficulty with against an experienced attorney. Thats why I often recommend finding an attorney to help advocate for you.

Asker

Posted

Thank you, and your advice/suggestions are appreciated. Definitely working on signing on an attorney as representation for my case.

Posted

From what you have stated here, the major limiting factor in this case is that, fortunately, the injured person healed within a month. That is a relatively short period of time when considering how much to assess for pain and suffering. Based on the limited information provided, I would value pain and suffering at $5,000-$7,500, total case value $13,500-$16,000. That assumes 100% liability, but many trip and fall cases have a discount factor for comparative fault, i.e., "you should have been watching where you were walking."

Good luck.

Posted

No one can predict the outcome or the length of time involved. But you will be always better of working with an experienced personal injury attorney, because the insurance company will not likely offer you the same amount as you would get with a help of a good lawyer.

Most insurance companies even have different adjusters handling Pro Se cases (unrepresented by attorneys) and different adjusters for the cases where the claimant is represented by an attorney. You wonder why? Because the bottom line in every personal injury case is the question - what will happen if a lawsuit is filed? While the insurance company knows that you can retain an attorney and file a lawsuit, they are not under the pressure to compensate you fairly, until you actually do retain an attorney. So, they know that they can still adjust their offer to you, when such time comes.

A personal injury attorney usually will not charge you legal fees, unless we recover a compensation for you. This is called a "contingency fee." So, if the compensation is $0, then your lawyer gets paid $0 in legal fees. There are many twists and turns, and the insurance company will try to use every one of them to get you as low compensation as possible.

As a general rule, if the liability is undisputed, you are entitled to the amount of your current medical bills, your lost wages, your reasonable future medical expenses, your reasonable future lost wages, and a compensation for your past and future pain and suffering. A concussion, which is a traumatic brain injury, is an important factor in considering the amount of your compensation.

A good personal injury lawyer, will ensure that each of the above items is carefully evaluated, and ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve considering the circumstances.

Most of us offer absolutely free in-person or telephone consultation for personal injury cases. I strongly recommend to take advantage of the free consultation and make your fully informed decision accordingly.

Best wishes,

Ismail T. Shahtakhtinski, Esq.
Attorney & Counselor at Law
I.S. Law Firm, PLLC
1199 N Fairfax St., Ste 702
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: (703) 527-1779
Fax: (703) 778-0369
ismail@islawfirm.com

The information provided in this answer is designed to provide useful information and background materials about I.S. LAW FIRM, PLLC. The information provided is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and I.S. LAW FIRM, PLLC. Any communication, including electronic mail, through this website may not be confidential or privileged. For legal advice, you should consult with an attorney familiar with your circumstances and seek the advice of counsel in the appropriate jurisdiction. The hiring of an attorney is an important decision and should not be based upon written descriptions of I.S. LAW FIRM, PLLC’s experience. Every case is different and similar results may not be obtained in your case. I.S. LAW FIRM, PLLC does not endorse or sponsor any links from this website to other websites and has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for their contents.

Posted

Unless the slip and fall is clear-cut negligence, the majority of insurance companies fight these aggressively, and will only offer a tiny nuisance settlement if anything. Best best is to take it to trial.

Posted

You have the basic analysis correct in terms of what's called the "collateral source rule" meaning that the responsible party/insurance company can not take the fact that you used your medical insurance nor your sick leave. I think the major difficulty is the trip & fall nature of the case. These types of cases are very difficult to prove and win. If the defendant involves his insurance company, things get more difficult because the insurance company's attorney will surely explore all possibilities and insist on proof of liability and causation and reasonableness of the damages (as they should). so predicting how long it would take is difficult. Given your "specials" of $8,500 it is reasonable to think that should the matter go to court that it could be litigated in district court which is generally much faster and less expensive. But if the amount requested is too large then it would have to be done in circuit court and that is much longer and more expensive. My general opinion is that if you can negotiate with the owner for an amount that covers your costs of $8,500 and some modest amount for pain & suffering, then you would be wise to consider settling the matter yourself. But there is a downside in that an attorney may be able to assist you in obtaining a better result - then again, they may not. These cases are difficult. Good luck!

Asker

Posted

Just curious, what is the "breaking point" dollar amount of claim, that determines if it needs to go to circuit court (i.e., $15,000, $20,000 or more)?

Posted

Most of the answers you have gotten do not give you numbers. As you stated in your question, there are way too many factors that go into evaluating your claim which is why you should get an attorney. There are many personal injury attorneys who will take on soft tissue cases. Venue, strength of liability, credibility of plaintiff, defendant, witnesses, etc.. are all factors. Get an attorney and he/she will be able to give you a better idea, and increase chance of favorable resolution other than handling yourself.

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