What is an acceptable settlement for my 3 year old son’s injury due to a store employee leaving a box cutter on a stool in the toy isle?

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What is an acceptable settlement for my 3 year old son’s injury due to a store employee leaving a box cutter on a stool in the toy isle?

An employee was stocking shelves at a local drugstore (a very large nationwide chain) and left the blade to the box cutter she was using out on a step stool when her shift ended. My toddler picked it up slicing into his finger and thumb. While the cuts are not deep, I’m concerned that the employee may have been exposed to blood borne illness our that there may have been bacteria or pathogens on the blade. I contacted my son’s pediatrician and she advised me to look into what may have been on the blade but the store isn’t cooperating with my inquiries.

Asked on February 9, 2012 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Settlements are typically some amount less than what could be recovered at trial--since of the defendant didn't save something (e.g. get to pay less), he/she/it would have little incentive to settle.

For a personal injury caused by an employee's negligence, or carelessness, you can generally recover 1) unreimbursed or out-of-pocket medical costs; 2) pain and suffering for serious injuries with long-lasting effects; 3) lost wages, if any; 4) other direct out-of-pocket costs.

There is no recovery for the risk or threat of having been exposed to bacteria--only for actual injuries or costs. Therefore, what you might be entitled to if you had to go to trial to recover compensation would be the sum of items 1) - 4) above; an appropriate settlement would likely be some amount less than that. From what you write, there is not likely an pain and suffering (item 2) recovery.


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