Vegas Casino/ hotel have admitted responsibility & their ins co. have contacted us all and asked us not to involve our lawyers or media. Their insurance company confirmed they are about to make us each an offer. Injuries were skin breaks and welts - doctor says 2nd degree burns- , soreness, blisters, rash turned itchy and cough hasn't stopped yet. Freckle like marks have appeared on one body. Happened 3 weeks ago (March 2014) cough still present and itching persistent. Lotion for skin & medication for cough prescribed by doctor.How much should we expect to be offered? We live in New Zealand & concerned we may be offered low compensation. Is there a rough guide on what we can expect to be offered please should we engage an American lawyer to act for us??
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Hirsch. It is impossible to provide an answer without more information. You case is complicated by the fact that you are thousands of miles away and the hotel/casino will likely use this information to its advantage. You should contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation, even if by email. I'm sure most would be particularly interested in the insurance company requesting that you not involve attorneys or the media.
Having worked with NZ clients in the past, I can appreciate your concerns, and you should ABSOLUTELY speak with a local, Las Vegas attorney regarding representation and how to proceed. The most important thing you need to do is to continue to pursue medical treatment for your injuries - including evaluation for any chronic, future or even permanent conditions/injuries that have resulted from your experience.
The primary measuring stick for the value of your case will be the medical treatment for your injuries, including any future care these injuries will necessitate. Until we know how much treatment you will need, both acutely and ongoing, there is no way to even estimate what the claim is worth.
The Hotel/Casino's insistence that you not involve lawyers or media means that you DEFINITELY should involve one (or both). This may NOT mean making a big, public mess out of the whole thing, but it DOES mean that you should retain the small bit of leverage that you DO have - until you have been fairly compensated.
The fact that you're dealing with these injuries 3 WEEKS later means that they're serious and, at some level, may be permanent, and that needs to be redressed accordingly. Most of the competent personal injury attorneys here will happily conduct your initial consultation by phone or videoconference (which my office prefers) at no cost to you.
I would encourage you to reach out to someone as soon as practicable, as waiting only hurts your claim(s).
Folks often post questions on this forum asking what a case is worth or what a fair settlement is for a personal injury matter. Unfortunately, no attorney is going to be able to give you a substantive answer as to "a rough guide" to what may be offered and whether it might be "low compensation" without reviewing all of the circumstances, medical records, etc. You need to consult with a personal injury attorney to assist you, although I recognize since you are from New Zealand there may be some logistical issues to work out. Personal injury attorneys typically handle cases on a contingency fee basis and give free consultations. Use the Find a Lawyer tab on Avvo to find one in the Las Vegas area to consult with. Best of luck to you...
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"With basic accident claims process knowledge, a bit of organization, and a little patience, you may be able to handle your own personal injury claim without a lawyer -- and without a company's unfairly denying or reducing your compensation. If so, you can wind up with considerably more compensation for your injury because you won't have to pay costly lawyers' fees.
Types of claims you can often handle on your own include those involving:
•automobile, cycle, or pedestrian accidents
•slip or trip and fall accidents
•home accidents, and
•accidents with defective products.
Of course, there are times when a lawyer's services can be helpful or even necessary, especially in situations involving severe or permanently disabling injuries and certain types of complicated accidents, such as those involving medical malpractice or toxic exposure." from nolo.com
Damages are compensatory in nature
Damages are compensatory in nature. Compensatory damages addresses a plaintiff/claimant's losses (in cases involving physical or mental injury the amount awarded also compensates for pain and suffering). The award should make the plaintiff whole, sufficient to put the plaintiff back in the position he or she was before Defendant's negligent act. Anything more would unlawfully permit a plaintiff to profit from the tort. Types of damage Special damages - quantifiable dollar losses suffered from the date of defendant's negligent act (the tort) up to a specified time (proven at trial). Special damage examples include lost wages, medical bills, and damage to property such as one's car. General damages - these are damages that are not quantified in monetary terms (e.g., there's no invoice or receipt as there would be to prove special damages). A general damage example is an amount for the pain and suffering one experiences from a car accident.
Non-economic damages are damages for intangible harms such as severe pain, physical and emotional distress
Non-economic damages are damages for intangible harms such as severe pain, physical and emotional distress, disfigurement, loss of the enjoyment of life that an injury has caused, including sterility, physical impairment and loss of a loved one, etc. These are, collectively, referred to as hedonic damages. Non-economic damages compensate injuries and losses that are not easily quantified by a dollar amount. Also known as quality-of-life damages, this compensation covers the family of victims who have died, or severely injured victims. Typically, a psychological injury may involve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), a concussion, chronic pain, or a disorder that involves mood or emotions (such as depression, anxiety, fear, or phobia, and adjustment disorder). These disorders may manifest separately or in combination (co-morbidity). If the symptoms and effects persist, the injured person may become a complainant or plaintiff who initiates legal action
Compensatory damages, called actual damages, are paid to compensate for injury, or harm suffered as a result of another's breach of duty
In law, damages are an award, typically of money, to be paid to a person as compensation for loss or injury; Compensatory damages, called actual damages, are paid to compensate the claimant for loss, injury, or harm suffered as a result of another's breach of duty. (e.g., in a negligence claim under tort law). Expectation damages are used in contract law.]. The rules for damages can and frequently do vary based on the type of claim which is presented (e.g., breach of contract versus a tort claim).Loss of use is the inability, due to a tort or other injury to use a body part, animal, equipment, premises, or other property. Law.com defines it as "the inability to use an automobile, premises or some equipment due to damage to the vehicle, premises or articles caused by the negligence or other wrongdoing of another
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