Visitor Question

How Much is Pain and Suffering Worth for Injury in a Department Store?

Submitted By: Kim (Albertville, AL)

I was shopping in a department store when one of their signs fell from the rack in hit me in the face. I made an accident report with the manager right afterwards. She said she would turn it in to the corporate office and they would contact me in a few days.

I went to the ER to get an x-ray done of my nose and I was told there were no broken bones, it was just bruised.

Well, after two days the corporate office called to see how I was doing and to apologize for the accident. They asked if I had gone to the ER or to my primary doctor. I told them I had gone to the ER for X-rays. They asked if I had the bill, I told them no, that I had not received it yet.

They told me when I received the medical bill to attached it to a letter stating I would like for them to compensate me for the bill. They also said if I wanted them to compensate me for my pain and suffering I had to write a letter stating the amount I’m asking for, because they cannot make the choice of how much my pain and suffering is worth.

My question is: How do I determine how much my pain and suffering is worth? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Kim,

What strikes us is how professional the store’s management acted in the face of your injury. It is rare to see a business entity respond so promptly and supportively to a customer’s injury.

In addition, it is also quite rare for a business entity to even suggest an injured customer choose an amount for pain and suffering they believe to be fair.

With that said, the normal and customary range most attorneys seek in personal injury cases where there were no broken bones, but instead only “soft

tissue” injuries such as bruising, contusions, lacerations and the like, is 1.5x to 3x the amount of the injured party’s medical bills.

So if your own medical bills were those of the emergency room, and let’s say the emergency room bill was $800 dollars, ask for $800 dollars to reimburse you for the emergency room, and an additional $2,400 dollars for your pain and suffering. That amount is obviously 3x the amount of your medical bills, and you will be quite lucky if the store offers to pay that amount.

Instead, they may make a counter-offer of $1,200 dollars or something similar.

If they make a lower counter offer then try and negotiate a settlement somewhere in between. Anywhere from $1,200 dollars to $2,400 dollars would be appropriate in our hypothetical circumstance.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 11, 2012

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