Your frustration/ansgst comes through. Not sure of your question.
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
Slip and fall cases are VERY difficult to win, and there's no way to analyze the strength of your case without seeing your file. The 1/3 legal fee is very normal, and paying an expert may well have been necessary (in other words, you may have gotten 0 without it). Unfortunately there's no way after the fact anyone who hasn't reviewed your entire case file can determine how well your lawyer did or why things ended up as they did. Hopefully the settlement paid your providers.
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Like many areas of law, slip and fall matters can cost a Plaintiff's firm a lot of money to prove their case. For this and other reasons, it is sometimes difficult to get the Plaintiff fairly compensated for the harm they have sufferred. It is a cost/benefit analysis when hiring experts and in many cases Plaintiff have no choice to hire the expert because they must prove their case.
Unfortunately, what has happened to you is not unusual in slip and fall matters. News only reports on the big wins, not what happens in most cases.
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Is there a question? Was the arb binding? if not, you can continue on to trial. If you settled then its over. The fees sound typical, and it isnt surprising there was an expert. Liability was apparently determined to be less than 100% on the deft, by the arbitrator, and that probably explains the smaller award.
Many clients are unhappy with the final result in their case. A few comments: Your narrative says you "settled", which if literally true means the arbitrator did not make a decision, it was an agree settlement. Before an attorney advises you to take a settlement, you and he should go over the dollars and how they will be allocated; you should know exactly what you will net before you say "Yes," to a certain deal. Sometimes the itemization of where the money goes helps with the settlement amount. For example, if all you netted after EVERYTHING was paid out was $1500, your attorney could have shown that math to the defendant(s) and said something like "my client needs to walk away with at least $X." I've used that many times and gotten a bit more in a lot of settlements.
Second comment: Even if the outcome was not satisfactory, remember that cases like this are not a guaranteed win and you and your lawyer went forward because it was POSSIBLE that you could get a better result. You can't really judge the fairness of the system based on only one case. If you ever have another case to bring, what you learned here can be valuable. Make sure that before you go to court/arbitration/mediation/settlement meeting that someone is running the numbers and telling you in advance what you will net. Take care.
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