Visitor Question

What is fair compensation for face injury requiring 21 stitches?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Bensalem, Pennsylvania)

My daughter was walking in a pedestrian only courtyard on a state university campus. A construction vehicle with a wood beam sticking out the back turned as she was walking past and accelerated quickly, causing the beam sticking out the back of the truck to strike her across the face, cutting through the bridge of her nose and just below eye. She was knocked out by the force.

Her nose required 8 stitches and cheek required 13 stitches by a plastic surgeon. The truck did not stop and was identified by fellow students in the courtyard. Ambulance and police were called to scene. The initial settlement offer was $8,000. I have no idea what an injury like this should be settled for, but feel as if it should be well above the initial offer. What do you think?

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 Anonymous,

There are some injury claims which can be handled without legal representation.  These injuries fall under the category of “soft tissue.”  A soft tissue injury is a colloquial term rather than a specific medical term, and is used to describe various injuries to the skin and soft tissue of the human body.

 Some examples of soft tissue injuries are: 

 – Sprains and strains to muscles, tendons or ligaments 
 – Minor abrasions and contusions 
 – Minor burns
 – Lacerations to the skin
 – Whiplash 

There are other injury claims which almost always require experienced legal representation. These injuries fall under the category of “hard injures.” A hard injury is also a colloquial reference to describe more serious injuries to the human body.

Some examples of hard injuries are:

 – Bone fractures
 – Deep lacerations normally requiring stitches
 – third degree burns 
 – Head trauma
 – Permanent scarring

Your daughter’s injuries fall into the category of hard injuries. There is also the potential for permanent scarring to her face. Settling her injury claim now, and for such a small amount would be ill-advised. Under Pennsylvania law, a person has up to two (2) years from the date of injury to settle an injury claim, or if the claim can’t be settled, to file a lawsuit.

A reasonable settlement amount in a personal injury claim is often a derivation of medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, before considering a settlement offer it is important for your daughter to be evaluated to see if there is a possibility of permanent scarring.

Even if there will not be permanent scarring, the trauma of the event, the deepness of the laceration, requiring multiple stitches, and your daughter’s pain and suffering are likely worth much more than the settlement amount presently offered by the insurance company.

The only realistic way for your daughter to receive a fair settlement is with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. Most personal injury attorneys do not charge fees for initial office consultations.

Additionally, when you ultimately choose an attorney to represent your daughter, you will not have to pay any fees or costs in advance. Only when your attorney settles your daughter’s claim, or wins it in a trial, will you be required to pay any legal fees. An experienced personal injury attorney is likely to obtain a much higher settlement amount, so that even after attorney’s fees are deducted, your daughter will receive a much higher net settlement.

Gather up copies of your daughter’s medical bills and records, and make several appointments with personal injury attorneys in your area. After visiting with several you will have a much better idea of the viability of your daughter’s claim, the likelihood of success, and an approximate amount of a settlement or court award.

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: October 19, 2017

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