What to do if we were out to eat and a coffee pot was placed at our table near my 10 month old who grabbed it and was severely burned?

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What to do if we were out to eat and a coffee pot was placed at our table near my 10 month old who grabbed it and was severely burned?

Before we could get to he had gotten to it. He suffered bad burns on his chest, armpit and arm. The owner was very rude to me telling me I should have been watching my child. We took him to urgent care only because the closest ER would have been a 20 minute drive. Our son is going to have scarring since he had mostly second degree (and also some first degree). The insurance agent contacted me to get my info and she said the adjuster would contact me within 48 hours. How do you know if what they offer is a good amount to accept?

Asked on July 4, 2013 under Personal Injury, South Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It would be premature to settle the case at this point and accept any offers from the adjuster.  When your son completes his medical treatment (he may need to see a specialist for the burns and scars) and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point in his medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain his medical bills and medical reports.  Your son's personal injury claim filed with the restaurant's insurance carrier should include these items.

Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of the injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  There should be considerable compensation for pain and suffering in the case of scars.  Another reason it is premature to settle the case now is that the medical reports may indicate the need for future treatment and the estimated cost of future treatment discounted to present value should be included in the settlement offer.  Once the case is settled, you can't go back to the insurance company in the future and ask for more money.

If the case is settled with the restaurant's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the restaurant's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the restaurant.  You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your son because he is a minor.  If the case is NOT settled with the restaurant's insurance carrier, the lawsuit on behalf of your son must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your son will lose his rights forever in the matter.

 

 


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