Fell 35 feet when overhang in parking garage gave way...
Sacramento has very limited street parking. On Dec. 24, 2015, I was investigating a parking garage near my midtown apartment with a friend. There was an overhang that we went out on to see what the street/sidewalk access was. My friend got off, but it gave way while I was still on it and I fell 35 feet.
I was rushed to UC Davis Medical Center for emergency surgeries and was in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit for 2 weeks and then spent additional time in a hospital ward. My face was crushed (broken nose, eye sockets, chin), jaw broken (part of it missing), lost/broken teeth, broken foot, ribs, etc.
I have not been able to return to the work I was doing (large donor fund-raising for a national non-profit). My employer will not let me come back to work part time. I still have multiple surgeries planned. I cannot talk properly or eat solid food. I have lost a lot of weight (I am 5'7" and only weigh 103 lbs).
My podiatrist says I may never be able to regain total movement of my right foot. I have a lot of soft tissue damage. I paid into Long Term Disability at work with the Hartford, but they keep denying payment. They keep asking for the same forms over and over...requiring complicated forms that my HMO (Kaiser) will not fill out because they have their own set forms.
What are my options here? What can I do about this? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Fell 35 feet when overhang in parking garage gave way...":
Katie (Sacramento, CA):
You have only one viable option. Immediately seek the advice and counsel of several personal injury attorneys in your area. Your injuries are far too serious, and your recovery too painful and prolonged for you to be negotiating your own injury claim.
In serious injury claims where the victim does not have legal representation, the word "negotiation" is a misnomer. In reality, when you are seriously injured and do not have legal representation, you are effectively negotiating in a vacuum.
While the insurance company's claims adjuster may make you feel as if you are in the midst of a serious negotiation, in reality, the adjuster is a consummate actor playing a role he or she has played hundreds of times before.
Be assured that without an attorney the claims adjuster has a settlement amount he or she will not go past. And in a serious injury claim like yours, you can be confident that amount is well below an amount which is fair.
Without legal representation the claims adjuster knows once he or she reaches the maximum settlement amount the insurance company will offer there is effectively nothing you can do about it.
You can complain and tell the adjuster how unfair the offer is, and the adjuster may even appear empathetic, but without an attorney, it will be "take it or leave it."
An experienced injury attorney has handled hundreds of cases similar to yours. After a thorough review of your medical records, the police report, witness statements, and much more, the attorney will have an idea of what it will take to secure the highest possible settlement amount or court award.
A serious injury claim like yours will likely require medical expert testimony, depositions of workers, witnesses, and even police officers who responded to the accident. Your attorney can also discover prior incidents involving the company, criminal records, and other important information in support of your claim.
That attorney knows what your case is generally worth, and will do everything within reason to obtain the highest settlement or court award possible. And you can be sure that amount will be substantially higher than what you could have negotiated on your own, and that's even after attorneys fees and costs are deducted.
Best of all, personal injury attorneys do not charge any legal fees for initial office consultations, and will not charge any legal fees until, and unless the attorney settles your claim or wins at trial.
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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