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Back in March I reported data I found in Metro Verdicts Monthly of interest to personal injury accident lawyers in Maryland on the value of fractured shoulder injuries. Earlier this month, I reported on a Metro Verdicts Monthly chart that provided the median settlement value for rotator cuff injuries. In the new issue that I was handed just 10 minutes ago, the subject is ankle fractures. I have spent a lot of time dealing with foot and ankle surgeries from a medical malpractice case I had where we sued the New England Patriots and their team doctors that settled last year. Over the course of that lawsuit, I probably met with a half dozen of the best foot and ankle surgeons in the country.
One of these elite foot and ankle surgeons is Mark Myerson, who is the treating doctor in a Baltimore City case I have set for mediation tomorrow. Dr. Myerson was at Union Memorial Hospital, but left a few years ago and is now associated with Mercy Hospital. Both hospitals are among the best in the world for foot and ankle surgery.
The median settlement values for ankle fracture injuries are:
|District of Columbia||$66,000|
Two points of interest in this data: first, don’t get an ankle fracture in Virginia. It is amazing to me how low these Virginia verdicts are. I have to think this data is screwed up in some way. Second, it is interesting that Maryland ankle fracture verdicts are 33% higher than Washington, D.C. verdicts, given that the Maryland median was much less than Washington, D.C. for both fractured shoulder and rotator cuff verdicts.
In 2002, Federal Tort Claims Act News (who knew there was such a publication?) wrote an article about how Jury Verdict Research Case Evaluation Software was predicting the values of verdicts in a particular slip and fall case with an ankle fracture. In this case, the jury predicted a probable verdict of $117,600 with only a 33% chance of success on liability (maybe a tough slip and fall case on liability).
As a point of comparison, it provided the following JVR nationwide analysis of ankle injuries:
|Probability Range||$40,000 – $248,223|
|Award Range||$1 – $5,250,804|
All of this is of interest for my mediation tomorrow. But I think my case is worth four or five times more than this median for the following reasons:
1. Venue in Baltimore City;
2. Attractive, intelligent, personable, young woman;
3. Accident occurs as Plaintiff is driving back from re-enlisting in the U.S. Army;
4. Head-on collision with a commercial truck;
5. Permanent injury;
6. Plaintiff’s expert is one of the top foot surgeons in the U.S.; and
7. Defendant has no expert.
I would have a hard time drawing up a better set of facts. Accordingly, I think my client is entitled to a recovery that far exceeds these median settlement values. Unfortunately, I think that when you have great intangible facts like some of these are, it is difficult to settle the case. If the case does settle, usually intangibles do not crystallize in the defendant’s personal injury lawyer’s mind (or more importantly, the insurance adjuster’s mind) until just before or during trial.
One more point: median settlement values is the midpoint of the data, not the average. So included in the math are a lot of awful cases that probably never should have been filed in the first place. So why not just quote the average? Well the high range of these ankle verdicts is $5,250,804. That also distorts the statistics. The take home message: settlement and verdict statistics are invariably misleading.
P.S.: This case confidentially settled. I’ll give you a hint: it was a lot of money.