If I fell at a restaurant and had $8,000 in medical expenses, how much should I ask to settle for?

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If I fell at a restaurant and had $8,000 in medical expenses, how much should I ask to settle for?

I tripped and fell on a rug in a hotel restaurant when the toe of my shoe caught under a wrinkle in the rug. I fell through the restaurant entrance door on my left side; hitting my hip, leg and hands on the floor and the door swung back and hit my head and shoulder. I was taken by ambulance to the Monterey hospital emergency room where I was X-rayed and treated and had a follow-up visit a few days later. The restaurant management agreed the hotel should take responsibility for my medical expenses because the rug was worn and did not lay flat. Because of the pain and injuries, I had to cancel the last 2 weeks of a vacation with my husband and return home. After I returned, I had chiropractic treatment, care by my family physician, pain management doctor and psychologist. I have a preexisting complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in my right knee. The doctors agree this fall added to the CRPS. I have been in contact with the hotel insurance company and I am in the process of attempting to settle this issue.

Asked on April 20, 2012 under Personal Injury, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for any documented wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  It just depends on the facts of the case.  If the medical reports indicate that future treatment is needed, an estimate of the cost of the future treatment discounted to present value should be included.  Residual complaints of pain would result in additional compensation over an individual with no residual problems.  I would normally ask for quadruple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering, but NOT expecting to get that.  That would be a starting point in the negotiations.  The insurance company will respond with a much lower offer and you can continue negotiations.  If you can settle it for twenty thousand, that would be a good settlement.  If it is less than twenty, but near that figure, that would still be a good settlement.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the hotel's insurance company, you can reject the settlement offers and sue the hotel/restaurant for negligence.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance company, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the hotel/restaurant prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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