Visitor Question

Permanent wrist pain after tripping and falling in a store…

Submitted By: Baxter (Nebo, NC)

I was tripped by “pallet banding” around a/c units stacked in a main isleway of a store. On May 6, 2012 it was my first time in the store in Hickory, NC. I was browsing and looking forward and slightly upward at shelves to view the merchandise, and suddenly I fell so hard. I broke my glasses, watch and band. I already had a bad back for which I recently had steroid shots for pain. Both my wrists began swelling from sprains, and I learned later I had broken the top of my hand.

There were no witnesses. I hoped the store camera caught the incident but store employees said it did not. I reported the incident to the store supervisor on duty, and showed my swelling wrists. I also took crude cell phone camera photos. I called the store manager the next morning who sent a report to their risk management department.

I lost 3 months work, had a cast on my hand, and went through occupational and physical therapy. The store offered my money almost 1 year later. I rejected their offer and their insurance company took over. They are waiting on a report from my orthopedist who says I most likely will have to live with recurring pain and inflammation for a lifetime due to the pulled tendons, and that surgery will limit motion in the wrist and is not recommended.

What amount should I be asking for? I have lost about 1/3 of the strength in my hand, and I’m constantly in discomfort. Steroid shots help for couple weeks at a time but it’s not a permanent solution.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Baxter,

If you are represented by an attorney you should listen to her advice. If not, you might want to rely on the traditional method for determining a fair settlement amount. Calculate the total amount of your medical bills then multiply them by 5 – 6x.

Your injuries are serious. Unlike soft tissue injuries, cases with broken bones, internal injuries, head trauma and the like are considered “hard injuries.” While the traditional method of calculating a settlement amount for a soft tissue injury is anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3x times the total amount of medical bills, the seriousness of hard injuries raises the bar.

In your case, the multiple of 5 or 6x will represent a settlement for your lost wages, out of pocket expenses and pain and suffering. You may want to raise the multiple higher if you believe your injuries justify it. From the facts your present it is likely the insurance company won’t offer you more than 4 or 5 times the amount of your medical bills.

If you don’t think the insurance company is being fair you can always consult with a personal injury attorney. We highly recommend you meet with an attorney in a case like this. Most won’t charge you for an initial office consultation. At least that way you’ll know where you stand.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 19, 2013

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