Should I sue for my son stepping on a nail on a playground?
by Shawn (Norwalk, CT)
Last week my son entered a playground at the Stamford Nature Center. There was a wooden deck board pulled up with the nails up in the air. My son stepped on the nail and it went into his foot. He got a nasty puncture wound and it was very painful.
It looks like he has avoided infection but walks with a limp at this point. The head of finance saw the board and injury so there is no question on how it happened. They want me to speak to their insurance.
How much are we entitled to for pain and suffering and negligence? Do you think we should go to court?
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ANSWER for "Should I sue for my son stepping on a nail on a playground?":
It sounds as though your son may have on-going pain given that he is still walking with a limp after the injury. The question of what this claim is worth is not a simple dollar figure but rather a combination of factors.
An attorney, or at this stage, the insurance adjuster would look at:
1) the medical bills for the treatment received;
2) out-of-pocket expenses;
3) future medical expenses and lost wages (as applicable).
Liability does not seem to be an issue, however the actual amount of the claim might be. If you did not seek immediate treatment to which you can attach a firm dollar figure, you are limited to speculative damages proven by establishing what was the value of the initial injury and the "limp."
Speculative damages are much more difficult to prove than an actual medical bill in hand from a doctor or hospital. You should definitely speak with their insurance company. Get a sense of what they think the case is worth by waiting until they submit an offer.
Do not be surprised if it is low or appears unreasonable (as most first offers are) but use this as a benchmark for further negotiations. You would not need to worry about going to court unless you are absolutely unable to settle with the insurance company.
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