A recent Jury Verdict Research analysis of jury verdicts over the last 10 years found that the overall median award for the amputation of one toe is $119,008. The median award for foot nerve damage or tarsal tunnel syndrome accident cases was $143,265. Underscoring the difficulties of the healing process in the complex structures that are our feet, the median award for foot injuries generally is $98,583.
The median for foot injuries generally makes sense to me. I’m stunned that the average verdict for an amputated toe is as low as it is. You have to remember that unless this is a lawnmower case, it is likely that the plaintiff suffered other injuries as well. In any event, I certainly think I value my 10 toes more than American juries.
Big Toe Versus Little Toes
There is no question that the value of the big toe is much greater than the other four. The big toe provides strength, balance, and ability to propulse in gait. It bears approximately 40% of your body weight. You cannot, for example, join the military without a big toe.
That said, many people do perform fairly well without a big toe and, after an adjustment period, walk, run, and jump and otherwise live a normal life. Ultimately, the value of your case is going to depend on how the jury thinks the loss of the toe – big toe or otherwise – impacts you.
It is also fair to say that who you are matters. Losing a toe would have little impact on me cosmetically. No one at the beach is going to care if I’m missing a toe. But if you are a 17 year-old girl who takes pride in her appearance, the value of the case is going to be much higher.
Sample Verdicts and Settlements in Amputated Toe Cases
Below are some sample verdicts and settlements in amputated toe cases. Do not “over-learn” the lessons from these cases. It is very hard to mix and match your case with other cases because the facts, jurisdiction, lawyers, and parties are different. So you can read a case here that sounds exactly like your and it is not like yours at all in terms of value (one way or the other). That said, along with other evaluation tools, these results are instructive in learning more about the range of particular cases.
- 2014; North Carolina – $1,500,000: Verdict: A 9 year-old girl was at an amusement park with her grandfather driving go-carts. When she drove in a race by herself, her go-cart became tangled on a guardrail, and no attendants came to free her cart. She then exited her go-cart to push it back when she was struck by another cart, crushing her foot. This required amputation of all her left toes and the front portion of her left foot. She sued the amusement park, claiming that the track was not adequately supervised and had an attendant been there to push her out, she could have avoided the injuries. The plaintiff was ultimately awarded $1,500,000, with approximately $245,000 stemming from past medical expenses. This case highlights the pitfalls of comparing claims. In many of these toe amputation case, there is another injury involved, often a crush injury to the ankle or foot. If you have these kinds of facts, the value of the case is going to be higher, all things being equal.
- 2013: New Jersey – $750,000; Settlement: While the plaintiff was working as a subcontractor, he stepped on a drywall screw that was left behind by another contractor. The screw became imbedded in his foot, causing infection. He claimed that the wound caused immediate numbness and he did not realize it until nearly six hours after injury. The injuries became severely infected, resulting in the plaintiff having to undergo amputation of all of his toes on the affected foot. He alleged negligence on behalf of the other contractors for failing to clean up the screws from the workplace. The parties settled for $750,000.
- 2013; Massachusetts – $650,000; Settlement: The plaintiff had a lesion on her foot, prompting her to seek treatment from her pathologist. The pathologist told her that the lesion was benign, and that it did not need to be excised. However, a year later, the plaintiff sought the advice of a podiatrist, who determined that the lesion was actually melanoma and that amputation of her big toe was necessary. The plaintiff sued the pathologist, claiming that she should have recommended complete excision of the lesion, thus avoiding the need for amputation. The parties settled for $650,000.
- 2010: New Jersey – $826,500; Settlement: The plaintiff was working on a tree trimming crew when an outrigger from a cherry picker was accidentally lowered on his foot. He suffered a crushed foot, which required amputation of all of his toes. He claimed that the cherry picker was defective, in that there should have been audible warning systems that warned that the outriggers were being deployed. He also alleged that the county (his employer) should have developed better procedures to ensure such accidents would not occur. He settled with both the manufacturer and county for $826,500.
- 2009; Maryland – $223,713: Verdict: The plaintiff was an electrician working on a jobsite. He attempted to use a forklift that was leased by other contractors on the site. The forklift was missing several key components, and when the plaintiff attempted to use the lift, a component broke and crushed the plaintiff’s foot. As a result, the plaintiff had to get three toes amputated. The plaintiff alleged that the leasing company had a duty to inspect the forklift because it had been involved in a previous accident. The defendant claimed that the plaintiff was actually at fault for the accident. The jury awarded the plaintiff a $223,713 verdict.
- 2008; Pennsylvania – $450,000: Settlement: The plaintiff was walking outside of her house when she stepped on a nail. Contractors were putting a new roof on her house, and the nail fell as a result of the work. She developed an infection in her big toe, which ultimately required amputation. She settled with the contractor for $450,000.
Getting a Lawyer for Your Case
Our law firm has handles a number of serious amputation personal injury accident and medical malpractice cases in Maryland. If you need a lawyer, turn to one with the experience and resources to maximize the value of your claim. Call Ron Miller at 800-553-8082 or get a free on-line consultation and case evaluation.