What is a fair settlement for an injury that has left me with permanent damage in my arm?

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What is a fair settlement for an injury that has left me with permanent damage in my arm?

It’s been a year since my fall from a large raised crack in the sidewalk on a friends property that she rents.I broke my arm and crushed the ball of my shoulder. Had to put prosthesis into arm. I was out of work for 3 months. My arm and shoulder will never have full range again. I live with the fear of falling all the time now. I am limited on what I can do with my right arm the rest of my life. Medical bills and collections keep hounding me at work and home. What’s a reasonable settlement, andI what should the determinating factor to suggest a trial?

Asked on October 7, 2012 under Personal Injury, Missouri

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It sounds like you were very seriously injured in this fall.  Very serious injuries plus solid liability add up to significant damages.

I do not know your state or the status of your claim.  I assume you have a lawyer who is representing you against the property owner.  If you don't have a lawyer, you need one.

The difficult question in your case is the liability of the property owner.  I would have to know much more to be specific about the amount of a fair settlement.  In general, 100% clear liability would lead to a very significant settlement in your case.  Even then, there is no mathematical formula for determining the amount. 

However, in my experience, "premises liability" claims (your type of claim) are usually far from 100% liability.  Several defenses usually exist (such as the danger was open and obvious so it's your fault, the owner did not know about it, someone else was responsible for the sidewalk, you were careless, etc.) and juries are unpredictable.  Thus, settlements are always a compromise - you never recover everything you would be entitled to if there were clear 100% liability.

Here is what I tell my clients about trials.  Trials are like the date a loan is due.  Almost no one pays their loan off early.  So, insurance companies will usually pay more the closer you get to trial.  However, you and your lawyer also pay more in order to prepare for trial, and those expenses are very significant. 

Given your serious injuries, if you were my client, I would set your case for trial unless your financial circumstances were an emergency and you have no alternative but to accept even a small amount in settlement.  Once a trial date is set, the decision to proceed to trial or accept a settlement is your decision and depends on how much is offered in settlement versus how much you will have to spend to prepare or go to trial and what your chances are of winning at trial.

Good luck.


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