What is a reasonable settlement for a slip and fall resulting in reconstructive knee surgery? 17 Answers as of February 20, 2014

I was injured in a slip and fall accident in a commercial parking lot. The lot was covered in ice, and had not been plowed or salted by the property owner or renter. As a result of the fall, I suffered a ruptured patellar tendon and torn ACL. I had reconstructive surgery on my knee, and underwent 9 months of physical rehabilitation, 2-3 days per week. The injury resulted in my knee mobility being reduced to about 70%. During this time, I was completely unable to work, as I work as a delivery driver. I lost approximately $25,000 in income. My medical bills have totaled about $60,000. The insurance made an offer of $90,000 to settle, with no further liability for future medical expenses in relation to this injury. I have had to borrow money to survive over these months, and want to resolve this matter, so I can repay the loans. I am just not sure if that is a reasonable offer, or would I be foolish in accepting it?

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Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Almost every day we get a request for evaluation of a claim. We cannot respond to such a request, as there are simply too many elements to be considered. These include percentage of fault, age and health and background of the claimant, the nature of the injury, the treatment, the diagnosis, the prognosis, the cost of the treatment, and the outcome. Also to be taken into account in some cases are the amount and type of insurance coverage and the name of the company. Most attorneys offer a free conference. We suggest that you talk to a few lawyers. Also, you should know that an independent study showed that claimants did better, even after fees, with a lawyer than without.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/19/2014
The Law Offices of Russell Gregory, P.C.
The Law Offices of Russell Gregory, P.C. | Russell Gregory
I'm concerned about how you'll do in the future. The sooner you settle, the less information you'll have in this regard, to know how much you'll really need. I assume your matter is not in suit. Proceeding by lawsuit will give you time to see how you're doing. Also, if you are currently pre-suit, and particularly if you're not represented, it's very unlikely that the offer is really anywhere near what they'd pay if you sued.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/19/2014
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
Case values differ significantly from case to case and place to place. Experienced injury lawyers are familiar with such values. Consider consulting one. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 2/18/2014
Penglase & Benson, Inc.
Penglase & Benson, Inc. | John Benson
There are many things that go into a settlement amount. Given the information you provided it sounds like a small amount. A good rule of thumb is to take your medical bills and multiply them by 3 and then add your lost income. Most insurance companies will offer you money in the hopes that you won't go and see an attorney. If they are offering this much money they must think that it is worth a lot more.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 2/19/2014
Di Giacomo & Gruss | Christopher Di Giacomo
There is no real way to determine value seeing that juries are always unpredictable. A value for your case is whatever someone is willing to pay and whatever you are willing to accept. As an attorney I always try to maximize recovery and would push for more until a point where you can no longer push.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 2/19/2014
    David Hoines Law
    David Hoines Law | David Hoines
    This is a serious case requiring an experienced personal injury lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/20/2014
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S.
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S. | Wayne J. Wimer
    Your medical expenses are $60,000 and your wage loss is $25,000, so their offer is $5,000 more than your special damages which gives you nothing for your non-economic damages and gives you nothing for any future medical expenses, future pain and suffering/disability and/or loss of future earnings capacity. Settlement seems grossly inadequate if liability is not contested.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    Unfortunately you did not provide enough information as to how the accident occurred. In a ice and snow case, it cannot be snowing at the time of the fall, there must be given enough time after said cease of snow and the owner had to make an attempt to shovel and did not do an adequate job of removing same. Your description said that they did not remove snow or ice from area. This could be a problem in factoring in responsibility. You should contact your attorney and discuss your thoughts. There is no exact number of any settlement but always within a range.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    You have to pay back the people that paid for your surgery or the people that provided the services. Your actual out of pocket is $85000, so the insurance company is only offering $5,000 for pain and suffering. I would think that you are more likely entitled to $205,000. However, without an attorney taking a third, you could probably drop down to about $150,000 and still be ahead. However, you probably ought to talk with a local personal injury attorney because the amount you recover may very well be dependent on where you live.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    If you are not represented by an attorney, the insurance company knows this and is offering less than your injuries are worth. I would get a lawyer who can represent your interests and file suit if negotiations don't go anywhere. It is impossible to say what a case is worth without all facts, including those regarding liability, prognosis etc.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    The S.E. Farris Law Firm
    The S.E. Farris Law Firm | Spencer E. Farris
    It sounds like a lot of money, doesn't it? Impossible to give you any realistic number without looking at your medical, the liability (how you were injured) and so on. Also, does your insurance expect a repayment for the medical bills? Studies show that folks with an attorney get 4 to 5 times more money than those without. $90K looks low to me, but I don't have all the facts. If you want a real assessment, call an injury attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    You do not state whether or not you have a lawyer. If you do, that's whom you should ask. If you don't, then you should get one. I appreciate that you are giving us a substantial amount of information. However, it would be irresponsible for an attorney to advise specifically on a matter of this importance to someone who is not even a client. As you have very clearly shown, this is a serious matter: do you want advice from someone who doesn't know you, hasn't met you and has not worked on the case, or do you want advice from someone with whom you have built a trust relationship? The way this forum is set up, we don't even know what state you are in, and legal issues and prospective jury verdicts can vary widely from one jurisdiction to another. There could very easily be some factor not mentioned in your narrative that could seriously affect the nature of the claim, beneficially or adversely.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    LAW OFFICE OF DAVID A. KUBAT
    LAW OFFICE OF DAVID A. KUBAT | DAVID A. KUBAT
    The insurance company is only offering $5000 for the pain, suffering, and inconvenience you went through for nine months. Is that reasonable? In addition, their offer does not consider future medical treatment that you may need. Unless it's been close to three years from the accident date, you have time to pursue a better settlement. If its been close to three years, you will need an attorney to file a lawsuit (assuming you don't accept the insurance company's settlement offer) in order to protect your right to collect for your damages. Otherwise, you will lose your right to collect anything.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Kenneth L. LaBore, ESQ.
    Kenneth L. LaBore, ESQ. | Kenneth LaBore
    You want an attorney to assist you in that you have exposure for the medical bills (who paid them) and the resulting lien. It is great that they are offering you a sizable amount I would meet with someone to review the medical records and bills before settling.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 2/18/2014
    Candiano Law Office
    Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
    In Illinois, landlords really have no liability for injuries sustained as a result of the natural accumulation of ice and snow. So, if this is in Illinois AND there is no other defect that caused your injury, take the money and run. If this did NOT happen in Illinois OR there was some other defect, the injury is worth MUCH more. The offer only allows $5,000 pain and suffering on a permanent injury which will plague you daily. Remember you must pay back the medical insurance or Medicare/Medicaid in addition to your loans.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/18/2014
    Lewis B. Kaplan | Lewis B. Kaplan
    The implication I take from your inquiry is that this injury MAY be work related and thus give rise to a worker's compensation claim in ADDITION to a third party claim against owner of lot . In either event there is in my opinion simply not enough information provided for an accurate evaluation of case value to be made .
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/18/2014
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    You need to hire a lawyer who handles this sort of work. Anyone answering this question would be guessing at best.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 2/18/2014
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