Shot in a Hunting Accident...
(Lehi, Utah, US)
I was shot by my father-in-law in a hunting accident on his property. I later tried to attend school and couldn't finish because I was having severe panic attacks due to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) according to my doctor. It has been a year now and I am still effected from being shot.
Now the property insurance wants to settle on just $10,000 for my pain and suffering. That will just about cover my hospital bills from going to the ER, and I have to admit I am feeling better, but the PTSD and anxiety comes up in stressful times and I never had this before being shot.
Is $10,000 enough for a settlement if this could affect me the rest of my life? Also, bullet was lead so I am going to have to be tested every year for lead poisoning and could need a blood transfusion if I do test positive. Any information you can give would be appreciated. Thanks.
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ANSWER for "Shot in a Hunting Accident...":
Scott (Lehi, Utah, US):
A good way to consider a fair amount for a personal injury settlement is to take your medical bills and multiply them by 3x, 4x or even more. It would depend upon the amount of your out of pocket expenses, such as prescription and over the counter medications, lost wages, and an additional amount for pain and suffering.
If your medical bills are less than about $3,000 dollars then the amount of $10,000 dollars might be fair.
You have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That, in and of itself, can cause the settlement to be even higher.
The problem you may have is one of leverage. If the insurance company offered $10,000 dollars and you don't want to accept it you don't have to. You might be able to argue your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other lasting effects from the injury are worth more. Maybe that will help to elevate the offer.
But... once the insurance company says the magic words, "That's as high as we are prepared to offer," or "That is our final offer," then you can be sure it will be, and you will have to consider the next step. Regrettably at that point you will have only one option. That is to file a lawsuit against your father-in-law.
To do so you will have to go to a higher court than Small Clams Court. That is because the maximum jurisdictional limit, or "Maximum amount" a person can sue for in Utah Small Claims Courts is $10,000 dollars.
You can either attempt to file the lawsuit yourself, or consider hiring a personal injury attorney. Once you file a lawsuit in a state court higher than Small Claims Court, you should know you will be in the "Big Leagues". That's where attorneys are experts, and will have a superior chance of overwhelming you.
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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