Suffered second degree burns to fingertips after waitress handed me a hot plate, do I have a case?

Asked over 2 years ago - Westerville, OH

I suffered second degree burns to three of my fingertips 1 year and seven months ago after a waitress handed me a hot plate. Since then I have suffered nerve damage to all three fingertips. Daily I suffer with pain, burning sensation, pins and needles sensation, sensitivity to hot and cold. My physician states that generally nerves will heal within the first year and half but she has seen cases where it has taken years to heal if they do at all. I have suffered with fibromyalgia for the last 7 years and this is just something to add on to my already chronic pain. Insurance wants to settle for $3000.00. I think it's a ridiculous amount of money for the changes of lifestyle, pain and suffering and depression I have had due to this. Am I wrong for believing this?

Attorney answers (8)

  1. Marc P. Weingarten

    Contributor Level 11

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . That does sound low. Your email does not say whether or not you are represented by a lawyer. If you do not have one, you should retain one immediately and not try to negotiate this on your own, or the insurance company will take advantage of your inexperience. There also may be a statute of limitations about to run.

    Retain Ohio counsel as soon as you can.

  2. Joseph T Ostrowski

    Contributor Level 13

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . My information indicates you have 2 years from the date of incident in which to file a claim (law suit). It appears you have a legitimate personal injury especially if it interferes with the use of your hand permanently. Nerve damage can be permanent. Find a personal injury attorney and get a Complaint filed ASAP.

    Legal disclaimer: I am not your attorney and we have no attorney/client relationship. This response is submitted... more
  3. Marc Sean Hurd

    Contributor Level 16

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I would address this matter with an experienced PI attorney in your area. He/she can deal with the issues related to the pre-existing fibromyalgia, and the impact of that condition on your particular injuries. IN cases such as this, the ins. co. is not your firend, and you probably need an advocate dedicated to assisting injured people like you.

    Good luck!

    Disclaimer- The information you obtain at our web-site or through postings on such sites as this is not, nor is it... more
  4. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The worst mistake a person can make is to try to settle a personal injury case without a lawyer. You are only being offered a nuisance settlement, which is to be expected without a lawyer.

    Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer. www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  5. Walter William Messenger Jr.

    Contributor Level 6

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Sorry about your loss. No, you are not wrong in believing that your case is worth more. There are things to consider in deciding whether to accept the offer. Amount of bills, future medical expenses and permanency are a few of the issues to worry about. There is not enough information regarding economic loss. Is this an initial offer? Adjusters routinely leave room to move up from an initial offer. See for yourself whether the adjustor is hoaxing by demanding a much higher amount to settle. Further, you need to consider whether obtaining a money recovery is something you want to truly pursue under the circumstances. Call an attorney to discuss the case in further detail.

  6. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . P.S. Search Avvo for a personal injury lawyer. Pick one you feel comfortable with and one with a low contingency fee.

    Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer. www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  7. John Robert Sauter

    Contributor Level 11

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the restaurant was careless in handing you a hot plate without offering you and adequate warning, then you have a valid personal injury claim. You deserve to be compensated for your current and future pain and suffering, as well as your medical expenses such as doctor's visits and medication.

    Only you can determine if the $3,000 offer from the insurance company is too low as to adequately compensate you for your injuries.

    As the injury happened almost two years ago, it is important you retain counsel as soon as possible so that your 2 year statute of limitations does not lapse.

  8. Peter Stephen Kirner

    Contributor Level 16

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am going to go slightly the other way on this answer. While I am sorry for your injury and I hope you feel better, I certainly do not mean to attack the victim or be harsh in my answer. I also would recommend hiring an attorney, however there may be some liability issues here. For example was the plate steaming hot, was the server wearing some type of gloves or pot holder or pick it up with a towel, did the server issue a warning to you, etc. IF none of that happened, I ask how did you receive 2nd degree burns yet the server is just fine ?? Meaning that the server picked up a scalding hot plate with bare hands and sustained no injury however you were injured so severely. I am sorry, but it seems unlikely. If they handed it to you with pot holders or a towel and you then touched it, the blame may fall on you. Again, I am sorry to point fingers at you, but this is what the other side will be doing. I do not want you to see dollar signs in your future if none are there. That settlement offer may be low, but it may also be a "just go away figure." IF you hire an attorney, you will likely be giving him a 1/3 of the settlement or possibly 40%.

    I do not have all of the facts here, of course but this does not look like a strong case to me. You may be better hiring an attorney and negotiating an agreement with the attorney that gives him maybe 0% of the first $3000 and 70% of everything over that. Or something creative like that. IF you hire an attorney at 1/3 contingency and he gets your offer up to $5,000 you would only see $3,350. IF a lawsuit needs to be filed YOU may have to pay filing fees and costs. IF a deposition goes forward YOU may need to pay the court reporter costs.

    I agree hiring an attorney is wise. I agree you injuries are substantial. However you do have some liability issues and I do not think your case is strong. You will need to work out a creative agreement with counsel to define how much you gets and how much he gets. If you hire an attorney and they have to get the over up to $4,500 before you will see more then $3,000. That is $1,500 increase to there offer and with a standard contingency agreement you make nothing more, and that is settling without trial. I would imagine the % goes up if a lawsuit is filed or if the case has to be tried. Also if you go to trial you would likely need an expert to testify to your injury and that said injury was a result of this plate, that will cost you $1,500 at least.

    Maybe I am looking at this the wrong way. Maybe there are some Consumer Sales Practice Acts I am unaware of. If you recall the lady who spilled the McDonalds coffee in her lap, while that was her fault, there is a law that requires a product such as coffee must be able to be consumed when it is purchased. The crux of that case was that the coffee was too hot to have been drunk and that is at least in part why she prevailed. You may have such a case here, but I doubt it. The plate was hot, not necessarily the food.

    I would hire an experienced Personal injury attorney but as I see it with your liability issues I do not know if I see your dollar amount going substantially higher. You have to imagine if you take this to trial there will likely be a jury demand. Can you convince 8 persons that YOU were given no warning and no indication that the plate was hot ? Again, I do not think it is a strong case. Just make sure you get more then $3,000.00 end of the day or else you made a bad decision.

    I wish you luck, and I hope you are on the mend quickly.

    The above information is not, nor intend to be, legal advice. You SHOULD consult an attorney for specific advice... more

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