Automatic door malfunctioned and injured my arm...
As I exited the a store, the automatic door opened and then sprang back as I walked through. The thumb lock of the door hit me in my right arm. I reported the injury to the manager and left my contact information. I had a bruise and painful knot the next day so I went to the doctor.
That day someone from the store's Risk Management office called to see how I was doing. My medical bill is fully covered by my primary and secondary insurance carriers. I also saw my primary care doctor 3 weeks later.
I had a painful hematoma and bruising for 5 weeks, so I called to let the Risk Management office know how I was. They offered me $300. I have not accepted it.
The door was malfunctioning on the day of my injury and for weeks afterward. I have videos of the doors not working correctly on different days and of my bruises on different days. Apparently they have no plans to repair the doors (the doors at the west end of the store are working smoothly).
Should I accept the $300 or go to small claims court? Is there any other action I can take? Thank you for any perspective you can give.
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ANSWER for "Automatic door malfunctioned and injured my arm...":
Patricia (Fairborn, OH):
Unless you contributed to the accident, and presuming the door was malfunctioning at the time it injured you, you have a right to be compensated for your damages. In personal injury claims, "damages" can include medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, etc.), lost wages, and an amount for your pain and suffering.
In your case, the amount of compensation to fairly represent your injury can be determined by adding up your medical bills and multiplying them by 1½x, 2x, or at the most 3x. That’s because your injuries are "soft tissue." Soft tissue injuries normally include abrasions, contusions (like yours) whiplash, sprained tendons, ligaments or muscles, etc.
More serious hard injuries can include fractures, head trauma, disfigurement, and the like.
The store’s insurance company knows what a claim like yours is worth. They deal with similar claims all the time. You can start negotiating your settlement with a demand for 3 times the amount of your medical bills. That multiple is meant to cover your damages, inclusive of pain and suffering.
While it is unlikely they will pay at a multiple of 3, staring at that multiple is certainly reasonable. You can negotiate down from there.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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