What damages can be recovered for a personal injury?

UPDATED: May 29, 2011

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What damages can be recovered for a personal injury?

My 15 old daughter got an eye injury at a friend’s house. We went to the emergency room and she had surgery. I used her HMO insurance to cover all bills; I paid co-payment only. The total medical cost was less than $200 out-of-pocket. If I file a claim on her friend’s homeowner’s insurance, will the insurance only reimburses me the $200? Would I get anything else? How does insurance determine damages? My daughter’s eyeball got cut and she had to have stitches in it. According to the doctor her retina will be OK and her eye should be recovered in few months. Currently I am confused what I should to do.

Asked on May 29, 2011 under Personal Injury, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should recover more than the $200 from the insurance company.  You already have the medical bill, but you should also obtain the medical report.  The medical report will document the nature and extent of your daughter's injury and will be used to determine the amount of compensation she receives for pain and suffering.  Compensation for the medical bill is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bill.  There isn't any precise mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering. 

The claim you present to the insurance carrier on your daughter's behalf should include the medical bill and medical report.  The insurance company will respond with a settlement offer which you can either accept or reject and continue settlement negotiations.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, you can file a lawsuit for negligence against the friend (homeowner at whose house the accident occurred).  You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to sue on behalf of your daughter as a minor cannot file a lawsuit.  You will need to file the lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your daughter will lose her rights forever in the matter.

If the case is settled  with the insurance company, no lawsuit is filed.  If the case has not been settled, and the deadline for the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations is approaching, file the lawsuit to avoid missing the statute of limitations.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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