Personal injury claims tend to divide opinion these days, with the prevalence of ‘no win, no fee’ claims teams appealing through our television sets for people to come forward doing little to quash the caricatured image of lawyers chasing ambulances.
The truth is that while some people might lick their lips at the prospect of a ‘fall at work that was not their fault’ – or rather the potential payout that comes with it – for the vast majority, personal injury claims stem from serious damage caused by another person or company’s negligence. In such cases, forensic accounting experts can help reach a fair settlement for the harm caused.
The famous example of the Western suing culture is the case of Stella Liebeck, who was awarded $2.86 million from McDonald’s after she burnt herself with a hot coffee having gone to the takeaway’s drive thru. At the time, two decades ago now, people were outraged that she should be awarded anything at all for what many thought was her own carelessness – indeed it even triggered a move for legal reforms to cap damage payments in cases like this.
In reality, although a large amount of money, the media widely neglected to inform its audience of the true extent of the damage and the faults that lay behind it. Firstly, the incident happened while the elderly Ms Liebeck sat in the passenger seat in a car park; she was not driving the car and trying to drink the coffee at the same time, as most had assumed. Secondly, she was hospitalised for two weeks and forced to undergo a skin graft, all of which she had to pay for herself. And thirdly, the reason she was so badly burned was that the coffee was served at a far higher temperature than it should have been; far higher than the company’s manual says it should be.
These were the factors, commonly overlooked in many newspaper and TV reports that determined such a large payout. And in personal injury claims, establishing in detail the essential facts like this and presenting them to the court is key in getting a fair and deserved settlement.
Frenkels Forensics have years of experience in helping individuals and businesses in cases like this – ensuring justice is served and that people are compensated for their injuries and costs while also making sure businesses are not ripped off by inflated claims.
For expert help in making or defending against a personal injury claim contact Frenkels Forensics for an independent appraisal.
By Vitek Frenkel – find me via Google+.