Severe cut to finger from sharp edge on a "pop-top" can...
(Santa Rosa, CA USA)
After opening a "pop-top" can of olives and reaching into it to get a few olives for dinner I cut my middle finger's knuckle nearly to the bone. There was a one inch area on the inside of the can that was jagged and sharp as a razor (barely noticeable).
I had my iPhone set to camera mode from taking other photos earlier and was pretty angry and thought I should take some shots of my finger's cut. I then tried for half an hour to stop the bleeding and put a bandage on and took some photos of the can's sharp edge.
At first I thought it was just a normal but deep cut and that the bandage would take care of it, but after a couple of days I could see it wasn't healing very fast. Since it was on the knuckle it would "flex" open when I bent it, so I started using a finger splint to keep it from flexing so it would heal.
I then called the food company to complain about the danger of this kind of can. They took my info and then I got a form letter and a coupon for a can of any of their canned food.
Next I got a call from their insurance company asking to interview me regarding my claim (never asked for a claim) and they asked me for details and to record my Q & A. I told them the above and that if I didn't see signs of the cut healing itself closed then I'd go to the doctor.
They asked for the can # and photos to be emailed, which I did. I checked the cut again and saw it wasn't healing together but still opening up and called for a doctor's appointment. It needed 3 stitches and I took photos of that process (emailed to insurance company).
It was extremely painful during the numbing of the finger, three injections at the base of the finger with the needle being moved around inside my finger for 20 seconds for each injection.
I haven't heard back from the insurance company since I spoke to them on May 18th and since I cut my finger it's been 11 days with a solid week of the splint affecting my dexterity (and it will be on until the stitches are removed on the 27th).
What should I expect to be a fair settlement from the insurance company, or, what is a typical fair settlement in cases like this? Thank you for your time.
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ANSWER for "Severe cut to finger from sharp edge on a "pop-top" can...":
When dealing with insurance companies you can be assured you will be lucky to have your medical costs reimbursed. It sounds unfair, but regrettably is true. They are not in the business of giving away their money, and will only do so when absolutely necessary, and certainly not as a result of empathy or righteousness.
We have said this before. If you don’t like the offer they make and they say that’s all you get, they know you may yell and scream a bit, but in the end will probably take their offer. Don’t forget the Claim’s Adjuster assigned to your case has a vested interest in the amount she offers and ultimately settles for.
Those Claims Adjusters who move cases quickly and who give away the least amount of their employer’s money are the Adjusters who rise quickly in the ranks.
These Adjusters are quite skilled at settling cases, especially with non-Attorneys, and settling them in a manner in which they make the injured party feel as if they put one over on the insurance company. In a strange way they can be compared to unscrupulous car salesmen who make you feel you have negotiated a great deal.
They’ll tell you things like, "Boy, I’m not going to make any profit on this sale” or “You really drive a hard bargain”. Yeah, right.
Leverage is the key in negotiations and you have very little. You have asked what a typical settlement might be. When representing yourself you will be lucky to have them pay for your medical bills alone. Remember the can of food they sent you. Well don’t think they are going to offer you much more than that can.
Once they receive your medical bills they will decide which ones they are going to pay and which ones they will not. If you had any out of pocket expenses, like hydrogen peroxide, bandages Neosporin and the like, they should include that in the settlement offer as well. Lost wages, if any, are something to also be sure are included.
A good starting point most skilled Personal Injury Attorneys traditionally rely on for negotiating would be to multiply your medical bills, also called “Hard Costs” by three. Do not include lost wages or out of pocket expenses in the equation.
Your settlement demand should 3X your medical bills + your out of pocket expenses and any lost wages. That is an amount a good Personal Injury Attorney would strive for.
Our best advice would be to use our equation. If they offer an amount close to that you will be well advised to settle. If not, go and see a good Personal Injury Attorney. Most of the really good ones will not charge any fee for you to come in and sit with them for an initial office consultation.
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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