Restaurant Accident...

by Joe

In December of last year my two year old daughter and her grandparents (my in-laws) were having dinner at a local restaurant. While in the restaurant, a waitress from the table across the aisle dropped a full tray of dirty dishes and glasses on my daughter’s head.

Her grandparents took her to the local emergency room where she was checked out by a doctor. It was found that the only injury she had was a small bump on her head. She was released from the emergency room that night. The next day, my daughter seemed fine, but complained of a sore neck. I followed up with her pediatrician and no additional injuries were found.

In the days that followed, the manager of the restaurant called to apologize and the Senior Claims Specialist of the restaurant’s insurance company called to discuss a settlement. We have kept in contact with the claims specialist via email since the accident. He requested some information about our daughter and wanted copies of her medical bills.

There was a period of time when communications stopped from the claims specialist, but we contacted him via email in August of this year to ask him the status of the claim. The claims specialist is now offering us a certain dollar amount to resolve it with a signed release.

I am not sure what to do at this point. It has been almost a year since the accident and my daughter is in good health with no issues. Our health insurance covered all costs related to the accident, so I did not incur any out of pocket expenses.

do not intend to seek further legal action, but I know once I sign the release that the responsible party will no longer be liable. Your perspective would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Restaurant Accident...":

Joe (Florida)

It's nice to hear the restaurant and its insurance company responded so quickly to your daughter's injury. If your daughter suffered only a bump on her head, and suffered no residual health issues, asking the insurance company for the cost of the medical bills is a good place to start.

Even though your health insurance covered your daughter's injuries and subsequent medical attention, you and others who have health insurance should not be penalized for doing so. In other words if you didn't have health insurance and had to pay the medical bills out of your own pocket, the insurance company would settle for at least an amount to cover your medical bills.

Having health insurance is not an obstacle to recovering at least the medical costs. Public policy mandates insurance companies not penalize people who have health insurance.

In addition to asking for the medical bills to be reimbursed, a reasonable amount for emotion distress, sometimes called pain and suffering, would be about 3 times the amount of your medical bills. So if your daughter's medical bills were $500 dollars, you can start by asking to settle in the amount of $500 plus $1500, for a total of two thousand dollars.

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,

Judge Calisi

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