Fell in a motel shower...
I fell in a shower at a motel. As I fell I hit a ceramic tile soap dish mounted on the wall. It shattered into many pieces and I received an 8" long, 2" deep laceration of my hip. I had to be taken to a trauma unit and admitted to the hospital for 2 nights. I am still receiving wound care but it is healing well.
I also fractured my right clavicle (unfortunately, since I am right handed). I will be off work for at least six weeks.
I received a letter from the motel asking for a list of all my health care providers so far, so they could take care of my medical bills. They also asked me to submit any receipts for out-of-pocket expenses I have had to pay, so they could reimburse me.
They said someone would be contacting me to discuss liability insurance. So far it seems like they are being very fair with me.
I have several questions. Am I justified in asking them for lost wages? Also, would it be unreasonable to request compensation for pain and suffering? I am not out to get rich or take advantage of anyone, but this has been a pretty big ordeal to go through.
Should I bring up these things with their insurance representative? I would really like to handle things without having to get a lawyer involved if possible. Thank you very much for your time and any information you can give me.
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ANSWER for "Fell in a motel shower...":
Barb (Ohio) :
There are some personal injury claims which can be handled by a victim without legal representation. Those types of injuries are referred to as "soft tissue" and normally include strains and sprains to muscles, tendons or ligaments, minor burns, abrasions, or contusions, whiplash, and the like.
Then there are the more serious "hard injury" claims like yours. These injuries typically include head trauma, fractures, scarring, deep gashes requiring many stitches, and similar serious injuries.
When it comes to hard injury claims, there is just too much at stake to "go it alone." Without an attorney, it will be difficult for you to get the insurance company to pay you what you deserve.
From the facts you present, it appears the hotel must have been negligent in some manner. If not, the insurance company might not have agreed to pay you any amount, or if they agreed to pay you something, it would only be your medical bills.
With a presumption of negligence you really need to seek legal representation. Once again, under the facts you present you should be entitled to all of your medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses for medications, and any other costs directly related to your injuries and their treatment.
Moreover, you are certainly entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, also referred to as mental anguish or emotional distress.
In serious injury cases, an attorney can normally recover enough compensation so that even after deducting attorney's fees, the victim ends up with much more than pursuing the claim herself.
This is because without an attorney you have no leverage. If you ask for an amount you believe is fair for your pain and suffering and the insurance company says no, then what can you do? If you ask for lost wags and they say no, what can your do?
The insurance company knows without an attorney you are literally at their mercy. With an attorney, the insurance company knows if they don't make a fair settlemet offer they will likely find themselves in court defending a lawsuit. That's the last thing an insurance company wants.
Their attorneys fees in defending your lawsuit can be much greater than if they had just agreed to pay a fair and just amount.
Gather all your medical bills and records along with your receipts for out-of-pocket expenses. Make several appointments with attorneys. The good news is that almost all personal injury attorneys will not charge you for an initial office consultation. Seek their advice and counsel.
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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