How to determine the amount for a child's pain and suffering?
Question Details: My 14 year old daughter was injured when the glass shower door in her bathroom spontaneously shattered while she was taking a shower. She sustained numerous cuts to her hands, legs, and feet that required a trip to the emergency room. Aside from the physical injuries, she is suffering emotionally as well. The door manufacturer has indicated they would like to offer a settlement. What is a fair amount for a child's pain and suffering?
There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering. It just depends on the facts of the case.
Prior to settling the case, since your daughter is suffering emotionally, she should see a child psychologist or psychiatrist, who can provide treatment. The medical bills and medical reports from that practitioner should be included in her claim against the door manufacturer along with her medical bills and medical reports from the physical injuries.
If the case is settled without the emotional issues addressed, you won't be able to go back to the door manufacturer's insurance carrier later and ask for additional compensation.
If your daughter completely recovers from her physical and emotional injuries, I would ask for quadruple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering, but NOT expecting to get that. That would be a starting point in negotiations. The door manufacturer's insurance carrier will respond with a much lower offer and you can continue negotiating to increase their offer.
If your daughter has residual complaints after completing her medical treatment and emotional suffering treatment, I would ask for quintuple the medical bills as a starting point in negotiations but NOT expecting to get that because the insurance company will respond with a much lower offer.
If the case is settled with the door manufacturer's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit against the door manufacturer for negligence and strict liability.
Negligence is the failure to exercise due care to produce a product that is not defective.
Strict liability is liability whether or not due care was exercised.
Negligence and strict liability are separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit. You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your daughter because she is a minor.
If the case is NOT settled, the lawsuit against the door manufacturer must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your daughter will lose her rights forever in the matter.