Store employee caused falling object and injured my neck...

by A

I was shopping in a local discount retail store when an employee, working in an adjacent isle, knocked off an item from the top shelf and it hit me on the head. I told the employee what had happened. He apologized and filed an accident report.

Within ten minutes I was experiencing extreme pain in my neck and shoulder, so I immediately left the store and went to the hospital. A CAT scan and (later) MRI showed a minor bulge between my C4, C5 and C6 discs. After six weeks of therapy I had no relief.

My PCP provided pain meds, and after one year I had to have C4, C5 and C6 fusion and still I am experiencing pain. It's been three years since the original injury and I have to still take pain meds. Currently my medical expenses have totaled $125K.

What would be a fair settlement for my case? I have had to stop several recreational activities that I once enjoyed because of this injury, and I have a permanent scar on my neck, and numbness as a result of the surgery. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Store employee caused falling object and injured my neck...":

A (USA):

Today, most insurance companies employ a sophisticated software program to estimate the amounts offered to victims in personal injury settlement claims. While the software is proprietary and secretive, it's fair to say it takes into account many factors.

They include prior settlements for similar injuries, jury verdicts in similar injury lawsuits, a specific attorney's history of settling cases or going to trial, and more.

A traditional method employed by personal injury attorneys for many years is the multiplier effect. With the multiplier effect an attorney takes the total amount of the client's medical or chiropractic bills, and multiplies them by anywhere from 1.5 to 5x and higher.

The lower multiple is normally applied to minor "soft tissue" injuries. These include minor bruising, contusions and abrasions, whiplash, muscle strains and sprains, and the like. The higher multiplier is normally applied to more serious "hard injuries," such as fractures, serious burns, head trauma, and the like.

For example, let's say a victim sustained a whiplash injury. His treatment included a month of therapy at a chiropractor's office. The total chiropractic bills amounted to $3,000. Because whiplash is considered a soft tissue injury, the victim might make a settlement demand using a multiplier of 4, or $12,000.

While this amount is somewhat high for a soft tissue injury, it's a reasonable place to begin negotiations.

In your case, a multiple of at least 5 would be entirely reasonable. That would amount to $625,000 dollars. You can also use a multiple higher than 5. Doing so would not be unreasonable. However, we strongly suggest you meet with an attorney to discuss your case.

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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