Home SafetyQuestion: Ultimately I'd like to know what is the approximate amount of compensation when I needed surgery after my stove blew up?

Question Detail: The stove blew up and it burned my face. I then slipped and fell causing a break in my left shoulder. The shoulder required surgery, a cut was closed with 4 stitches and it all required 9 months of physical therapy. I'm still on pain meds but would like to settle up my case and so what should be the approx. compensation.

Answer: Wow, interesting damages, did they all happen in the same incident? Why did the stove blow up? What was in it? Like I told the guy asking a question just before you, no one can say how much when we aren't aware of all the relevant facts. All good lawyers will say this because there are two aspects of the case influencing the value of the case. The first is liability and the second damages. Read what I wrote to the other potential clients about how much their cases are worth.

Generally, the amount you will ask for is not known until all relevant facts are discovered; meaning until liability is determined, you’re finished with the medical treatment and the doctor states his or her opinions on the issues of future medical care, permanent impairment and restrictions. Only then will the lawyer able to determine how much to seek in damages.

Comparative Fault - The law will also want to know why the stove blew up. The reason is to determine if you were also at fault and if so, your damage award will be reduced by the percentage of your assigned fault. Clear?

Here allow me to give you an example. If a person were misusing the stove they would be at fault and depending on how they were misusing the stove it could result in some kind of a reduction to complete elimination of any damage claim. Cooking meth would be one such misuse. I'm not implying that was your situation, but we do need to know more about liability before valuing the end result. 

Your situation isn’t much different from the case I answered last week, because your case seems to be at the same stage as his. Tell me what the doctor’s opinions state about being off of work, restrictions on future activities, the need for future surgical procedures including plastic surgery for the burns, how long you’ll need to be in the hospital and out of work and then I can begin to figure out the amount. What do you earn for a living, how long have you had the job, what skills did you have to acquire and what did you have to learn in order to have your job? In other words, how special are your skills and have those skills been diminished. Burn cases are a unique form of personal injury work and require unique medical and work-related expert opinions. Burn cases normally settle for a great deal more money than say soft-tissue injury cases. 

There are no shortcuts to a reasonable and proper settlement. 

Resource: University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Burn Unit

Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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