Slipped on Oil in a Parking Garage...
(St. Louis, MO)
I was at the airport in St. Louis, in a parking garage not owned by the airport. I went down their stairs and my wife slipped on some type of oil on the floor. The lighting was bad and the doors where stuck, and she fell while walking behind me.
She hit her arm on the door frame and got a nasty mark and arm pain for the entire last month. The doctor said it will last another month.
The garage just offered her $100 dollars and will pay the doctor bills. This doesn't sound fair. What can we do?
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ANSWER for "Slipped on Oil in a Parking Garage...":
Mike (St. Louis, MO):
Personal Injury settlements are based almost exclusively on one factor – Medical Bills.
Compensation for loss of wages, out of pocket expenses, and pain and suffering are all derivatives of medical bills, called “hard costs”.
It's virtually impossible to measure one’s pain and suffering. Insurance companies sometimes offer an amount of money in a settlement in excess of the medical bills, lost wages and out of pocket expenses. That money is for pain and suffering but there's no exact formula for the amount.
From the facts you present it doesn’t appear your wife missed any work, nor did you have to pay any out of pocket expenses. Still, your wife’s prolonged discomfort over the period of a month should be an important factor in the determination of the settlement offer.
In her doctor’s prognosis it's clear your wife will continue to be in some manner of pain and discomfort for a month. If so, then the amount of $100 dollars on top of her medical bills seems a little low.
To get to a point where the insurance company offers an amount for pain and suffering, much more than just the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and out of pocket expenses must be proven.
Although pain and suffering can’t be measured, it can be verified. That is normally done by showing the insurance company a doctor’s written diagnosis and prognosis.
If the doctor’s prognosis says your wife will have to continue therapy into the future to treat the pain and discomfort, that should constitute verification of pain and suffering.
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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