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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.
Since this post was written six years ago, our firm has had the opportunity to handle scores of ankle injury case for our clients, earning millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts in these cases. Our last ankle injury verdict was for nearly $1 million in Prince George’s County in November, 2013. Like the case discussed above, we settle many more than we take to trial. But sometimes the insurance company will not listen and you have to hit them over the head with a figurative sledgehammer.
If you need a lawyer for your ankle injury case, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation here.
Sample Verdicts and Settlements in These Cases
This will give you another way to look at value: sample verdicts and settlements. But please remember that no two cases are alike and you cannot figure out the value of your case just by comparing you case with a similar case. No two cases are the same and someone’s verdict is just a poor predictor of what the outcome in your case will be. Certainly, along with other tools it can shed light on value. No question. But you just cannot put too much into it.
- 2014, Maryland: $96,789 Verdict – The plaintiff was driving on a two lane road when another car hit him head on. He suffered a comminuted ankle fracture as a result of the crash. The plaintiff had to have two screws permanently implanted in his leg, and developed a permanent limp as a result of his injuries. The jury awarded him $96,789.
- 2013, Maryland: $260,506 Verdict – When the plaintiff was inside of a Taco Bell restaurant, a fight ensued, and the plaintiff was struck in the face by an employee. He fell backwards as a result of the fight which caused his ankle to become fractured. He had to receive two surgeries to fix his ankle, and developed an infection. Additionally, he claimed that he had limited mobility in his ankle. The defendants contended that he provoked the fight. The jury awarded him $260,506.
- 2014, Pennsylvania: $847,362 Verdict – As the plaintiff was exiting her apartment when she slipped and fell on icy steps. She sued the property owner, claiming that they negligently maintained the steps by failing to remove snow and freezing rain. Plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to inspect the property over the previous night, which led to the hazardous condition. She suffered an ankle fracture, which required implementation of screws in her ankle, leading to arthritis. She also alleged that her ability to stand was compromised.
- 2014, Pennsylvania: $225,000 Settlement – The plaintiff was crossing a street when she stepped in an uneven asphalt patch. This cased her ankle to roll, leading to a fracture. She sued the city, alleging that they failed to maintain a dangerous condition. She had to receive surgery, where two screws were implanted in her ankle. The plaintiff had to undergo physical therapy and claimed that she suffers pain and swelling during prolonged periods of standing. The defense claimed that the alleged injuries were fully healed. Still, the parties reached a pretrial settlement.
- 2014, Virginia: $2,000,000 Verdict – The plaintiff was a 59 year-old shipyard worker who slipped and fell on a patch of black ice while taking his car in for service. He sued the dealership, alleging that they failed to maintain a lesser-used sidewalk, and that they knew that it commonly ices over. He suffered an ankle fracture and claimed that the injury aggravated a pre-existing back injury. He had to receive surgery to repair his ankle and additional surgery to alleviate back pain. The defendants claimed that he had previously inquired about the back surgery prior to the fall. The jury awarded him $2,000,000.
- 2010, North Carolina: $10,397,291 Verdict – The plaintiff was interested in purchasing a new boat. While on a demonstration with a boat salesman, the boat hit choppy waters causing the plaintiff to be thrown up and down in the boat. He fractured both ankles, one of which required surgery. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant was operating the boat at unsafe speeds given the choppiness of the water. He sued the boat operator and the marina, and received a $10,397,291 judgment. He was employed as an urologist and most of the damage award accounted for his past and future earnings.
- 2010, North Carolina: $80,000 Settlement – The plaintiff was operating her vehicle when she was struck by another motorist trying to enter the street from a cross street. She suffered an ankle fracture as a result of the accident. The parties eventually settled for $80,000.