This month, Metro Verdicts Monthly graphs the median verdict and settlement value of back fracture cases over the last 23 years. The median settlement/verdict in Washington D.C. is $52,500. Maryland has a slightly lower median of $43,126. The median settlement/verdict in a back fracture lawsuit in Virginia is $125,000. These are back fracture cases where there is no paralysis.
Most back factures come from some trauma, usually from a motor vehicle crash or falling. The reason the numbers may sound lower than you are might expect is because many back fractures are not as serious as the ominous-sounding “back fracture” would suggest. When I was in high school, I hurt my back swinging a baseball bat at baseball camp in Florida. A chiropractor worked on me for a while but I made no progress. I went to an orthopedic doctor and, low and behold, I had a fractured back. It ruined my baseball season, and I had to wear a back brace for eight weeks but I suffered no ill effects after removing the back brace.Not surprisingly, seniors are more prone to back fractures. More surprising: men are 3 to 5 times more likely to suffer a back fracture.
There are some back fractures that are serious that cause spinal cord or nerve damage. For these injuries, usually, surgery is required. To be sure, the average car accident settlement or verdict for this back fracture is substantially higher.
The same holds true for other back injuries, most notably herniated discs. Some herniated disc injuries might look awful on an MRI but the patient has no symptomology. Another may have a slight herniation according to an MRI but suffer life-altering pain.
- 2020, Texas: $50,000 Verdict. A woman was driving a car owned by an electric company during the morning hours in heavy fog. A minor was a passenger in her vehicle. She failed to control the vehicle’s speed, drove over a bump on the road, struck a mailbox, crossed two driveways, and hit a tree. The boy suffered a back fracture, a nasal fracture, and undisclosed injuries to his abdomen, eye, and head. His mother sued the woman for the boy’s personal injuries, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, and physical impairments. The case settled for $50,000.
- 2020, Washington: $71,678 Arbitration Award. A 66-year-old defense analyst was traveling on Highway 101. An intoxicated driver, traveling in the opposite direction, crossed the center line and struck her. The driver was arrested for a DUI. She suffered a compression fracture at L2, a concussion, post-concussion syndrome, soft-tissue neck and back injuries, and hematomas around the pelvis and chest. She settled for with the tortfeasor for $100,000 and she sued her UIM carrier, State Farm. She received an arbitration award of $71,678.
- 2020, Massachusetts: $1,750,000 Settlement. A 43-year-old bricklayer was constructing an elevator at a site. He stood on a wooden plank that was over the elevator shaft. The plank eventually gave way, and he plummeted 46 feet down the elevator and landed on the basement floor. He suffered fractures to his back, pelvis, and right shoulder. His bladder and urethra also suffered traumatic injuries. Doctors performed multiple surgeries on him and kept him in a medically induced coma. He now suffered from a limp, limited use of his left shoulder, sexual function difficulties, and urination difficulties. The man sued the premise’s owner for failing to comply with safety policies by not staging planks and using proper scaffolding. The premise’s owner denied liability, claiming that the man’s own negligence caused his injuries. This case settled for $1,750,000.
- 2019, Washington: $250,000 Settlement. A 70-year-old woman’s vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle that just merged into her lane of travel. The impact’s force caused her vehicle to turn over. She suffered a lumbar fracture, a head contusion. Her injuries were permanent. The case settled for $250,000.
- 2018, New York: $75,000 Settlement. A 15-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross an intersection with his bike. He suffered small back and hip fractures. His father sued the defendant, alleging carelessness, recklessness, and negligence. The parties settled for $75,000.
- 2018, Washington: $3,516,402 Settlement. A 79-year-old man was driving his Toyota pickup truck on SR-203. His 56-year-old daughter was a passenger. As the man stopped to turn left onto a private driveway, a vehicle rear-ended his. The impact pushed the man’s vehicle into an oncoming vehicle, killing him and injuring his daughter. Specifically, the woman suffered fractures to her L1 and L2, ankle fractures, and neck fractures. The case settled for $3,516,402.
- 2018, Idaho: $80,000 Settlement. A man was traveling eastbound on a major road in Meridian. He suffered a compression fracture at T12, a sternum fracture, and chest trauma. The man wore a back brace for treatment. This case settled for $80,000.
- 2017, Washington: $150,000 Settlement. A man participated in an organized motorcycle ride with other riders. An uninsured driver in front of him hit an orange construction barrel. The barrel rolled over, and the man struck it. He was thrown off and was ran over by another driver. The man suffered a traumatic brain injury, a pulmonary contusion, L4-5 fractures, a right knee abrasion, a head laceration, and rib fractures. The case settled for $150,000.
- Information on the settlement and trial value of herniated disc claims (information on different types of motor vehicle collisions)