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
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.
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
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!
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.
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."
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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