Slipped on ice at gas station while filling up my work van...

by Ryan
(Manitowoc, WI)

I'm not sure where to start... I fell at a gas station on an uncared for area covered with ice while gassing my work van during work hours. I damaged my elbow in the fall. I'll be undergoing surgery to release pressure and/or relocate my ulnar nerve to try and undue the damage done to it, which causes constant pain.

Workers comp will be covering the medical bills since this happened at work, however I want to pursue compensation for pain and suffering as this has majorly impacted both my family and work lives. What relation will workers comp have to my claim for pain and suffering? Do I go through them, or go directly to the gas station's insurance?

I'm unsure of what to ask for, as monetarily quantifying the excruciating constant pain, drastic strain on my family life, mental anxiety and stress over being more or less one armed is taking a big toll on me. How can I quantify that? I'd prefer to settle this myself, but will gladly contact an attorney and file a lawsuit if the adjuster won't work with me.

What are the effects of this happening during work hours on my pain and suffering claim? Of all the research I've done, I can't find an instance such as mine. Everybody says to use the "multiplier method," but how does that work with workers comp? Do I still ask for the multiplier against the bills for pain and suffering? Thanks for your response.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Slipped on ice at gas station while filling up my work van...":

Ryan (Manitowoc, WI):

Your injuries are too serious for you to attempt to negotiate your own claim. While victims who represent themselves believe they can negotiate high settlements with insurance companies, in serious injury cases the victims are normally deluding themselves.

Without an attorney the claims adjuster will only offer a settlement amount the insurance company believes is appropriate, and not a penny more. When there is no attorney representing a victim, the adjuster can act, and often does act, like an unscrupulous used car salesperson.

The adjuster knows how to make you feel you've pushed the adjuster past the limits, and in so doing will say such things as, "My authority won't allow me to go that high" or "I have to go to my supervisor for for authorization for that amount," and other like statements.

In the end, after making a victim feel he or she negotiated the highest settlement in the history of personal injury claims, the adjuster has not offered much more than the insurance company believes is the minimum amount they can get away with paying.

It is a completely different story with an experienced personal injury attorney. Attorneys know how to cut through all the red tape and get the insurance adjuster to offer a much higher settlement than they'd offer to a victim.

An attorney not only has experience in these matters, but can also hold over the adjuster's head the threat of a lawsuit if the settlement amount isn't raised appropriately. Insurance adjusters don't want lawsuits. When that occurs the adjuster has effectively failed in his or her job duties.

Adjusters are supposed to settle injury claims. When they can't, the claim is taken away from the adjuster and handed over to the insurance company's attorneys, which costs the company much more.

Meet with several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most won’t charge for an initial office consultation. They will explain what they can do, and whether or not they believe representing you will result in a higher net settlement amount to you, even after attorneys fees are deducted.

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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