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Articles Posted in Personal Injury Verdicts

Our law firm has successfully handled scores of foot and ankle serious injury accident cases. If you want someone to fight for you, lawyers that know these cases, call 800-553-8082 or get a free Internet consultation.

I think I have a good handle on the settlement value of ankle fracture cases.  My law firm has  handled many foot and ankle injury cases over the years.  My first foot and ankle case was 17 years ago when I sued the New England Patriots and their team doctors that ultimately settled. I probably met with a half dozen of the best foot and ankle surgeons in the country in connection with that case.

Since then, Miller & Zois has handled scores of foot and ankle injury cases and procured millions of dollars for our clients in these cases. My last ankle injury verdict was in Prince George’s County was the 6th biggest verdict that year, according to Washingtonian Magazine.  (Here is a video providing the story of that case.)   

I’m not trying to brag. My point is we know the science of these cases. We know how to maximize the settlement and trial value of these claims.

What Is the Average Compensation for an Average Ankle Injury Settlement?

What kind of success are other lawyers having in fracture ankle cases? Apparently, they are having very little success. The median settlement values for ankle fracture injuries are:

District of Columbia $66,000
Virginia $21,700
Maryland $88,000

It is amazing how low these are.  These are from a few years ago. But I think the number has not changed in 2021.  Sure, some ankle fractures can be treated with conservative care if the fracture displacement is two millimeters or fewer or if there is no talar shift.  But I can’t imagine getting less than six figures in the vast majority of these cases.  I don’t know how much insurance policy limits came into play in these cases. 

Either way, these compensation payout numbers are just way too low. The loss of enjoyment of life and emotional distress from these injuries are often extreme even before we talk about how painful they are. One problem is not distinguishing between a good result and a good outcome for the patient.  

A good result for an orthopedic surgeon is a good-looking x-ray.  The fracture is healed, mobility is good and the ankle joint is where it’s supposed to be. But you can have a good x-ray and still have a permanent injury, particularly when there is hardware is keeping the broken ankle together. (Hopefully, that is the outcome for Tiger Woods who is coming out of surgery when this was written.)

Value of ankle injuries

Two Take-Homes from These Ankle Statistics

Two more points of interest in this data. First, don’t get a broken 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. ankle fracture valueThe Federal Tort Claims Act News wrote an article about how Jury Verdict Research Case Evaluation Software was predicting the value of claims 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).  

I just struggle to see how a case with a good fracture could be valued so low. As a point of comparison, it provided the following JVR nationwide analysis of ankle injuries:

Award Median $91,925
Probability Range $40,000 – $248,223
Award Range $1 – $5,250,804

  One more point: median settlement values are the midpoint of the data, not the average. So included in the math are many 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.

What Are the 20 Factors That Impact Your Ankle Injury Settlement?

These are 20 factors that drive the trial and settlement value of your ankle fracture case:

  1. Surgery
  2. Surgery with internal fixation (hardware)
  3. Open reduction surgery
  4. Complex fracture
  5. Displace bone
  6. Continued ankle swelling (synovitis)
  7. Synovitis with chondral changes
  8. Signs of arthritic changes
  9. Arthrofibrosis
  10. Chondral injuries
  11. Loose bodies
  12. Nerve Damage
  13. An ankle replacement
  14. Walking with a limp
  15. Non-weight bearing ankle
  16. High past and future medical bills
  17. Permanent ligament or tendon damage
  18. A crush injury
  19. Permanent instability
  20. Amputation

All these factors lead to the question of how is the ankle injury permanent and, if so, how severe is the permanency. The types of cases that do not do as well are preexisting ankle injury cases and soft tissue injury cases where there is no objective finding on a diagnostic test.

ankle fracture statistics

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Are There Sample Verdicts and Settlements in Ankle Injury Cases to Compare My Case?

Below is another path to look at the settlement value of ankle injury cases: sample verdicts and settlements. I think these are helpful.

But please remember that no two cases are alike and you cannot figure out the value of your case just by comparing your 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 sheds light on the settlement value of your case. No question. But you just cannot put too much into it.

Also, remember these are not workers’ compensation cases but third-party ankle injury cases.  The average payout for a workers’ comp ankle injury claim will be less

    YEAR / STATE

    CASE / INJURY SUMMARY

    RESULT

    2020 – Missouri

    A woman broke her ankle after slipping and falling on an icy patch in a department store’s parking lot. A sub-contractor plowed around the parking lot but piled snow around the front of the store. The temperatures were chilly enough for icy patches to appear. Doctors performed open reduction and fixation surgery on the woman’s broken ankle. The case settled for $225,000.

    $225,000 – Settlement

    2020 – Washington

    A 29-year-old petroleum inspector was gauging a barge at a refinery. After doing so, he crossed a gangway and fell to the hard surface below. He suffered a herniated disc and ankle, foot, and neck injuries. The man sued the barge’s owner for negligence. He also claimed that he lost his job because of his injuries. The jury awarded him $266,500.

    $266,500 – Verdict

    2020 – Florida

    The 56-year-old bank manager fell as she exited a mixed-use building. She suffered an ankle fracture. The woman underwent multiple surgical procedures and months of physical therapy to treat her injuries. She sued the premise’s owner for negligently creating dangerous conditions. The jury assigned 90 percent liability to the premise’s owner and 10 percent liability to the woman. They determined that the damages totaled $720,000, but the woman could only recover $648,000 based on comparative negligence.

    $720,000 – Verdict

    2020 – Virginia

    A passenger was injured after the vehicle they were in went off-road and struck an illegally parked tractor-trailer. They suffered fractures to their sternum, ribs, and ankle. The passenger sued both their driver and the trucker.  They received a $1,980,000 settlement.

    $1,980,000 – Settlement

    2019 – Pennsylvania

    Our lawyers see a lot of ankle injuries in nursing homes.  Here, a woman’s foot became wedged under the bed, causing a fracture that required an ankle fusion.  She went through all of this while in the nursing home because she was recovering from a stroke.

    $475,000 – Verdict

    2018 – New York

    A 69-year-old woman contended that her landlord would not fix her shower, requiring her to leave a drain uncovered.  She fell on the drain and suffered a bimalleolar ankle fracture, which is a tough ankle injury that often causes the victim permanent problems.  An angry jury awarded $2.4 million.

    $2,400,000 – Verdict

    2014 – Maryland

    The plaintiff was driving on a two-lane road when another car hit him head-on. He suffered a comminuted ankle fracture because of the crash. The plaintiff had to have two screws permanently implanted in his leg and developed a permanent limp because of his injuries. The jury awarded him $96,789.  This is one of those cases I’m talking about, right?  A permanent limp is only worth $96,000?

    $96,789 – Verdict

    ankle fracture settlement

    2014 – Pennslyvania

    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. The 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 the implementation of screws in her ankle, leading to arthritis. She also alleged that her ability to stand was compromised.

    $847,362 – Verdict

    2014 – Pennslyvania

    The plaintiff was crossing a street at a crosswalk when she stepped in an uneven asphalt patch. This caused 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.

    $225,000 – Settlement

    2014 – Virginia

    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 iced 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.

    $2,000,000 – Verdict

    2013 – Maryland

    When the plaintiff was inside a Taco Bell restaurant, a fight ensued, and the plaintiff was struck in the face by an employee. He fell backward in 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 insurance company contended that he provoked the fight. The jury awarded him $260,506.

    $260,506 – Verdict

    2010 – North Carolina

    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. This case underscores the impact on the amount of the verdict a good lost wage claim can make.  This man was a urologist and most of the damage award accounted for his past and future earnings.

    $10,397,291 – Verdict

    2010 – North Carolina

    In this motor vehicle accident case, a woman was struck by the at-fault driver trying to enter the roadway from a cross-street. She suffered an ankle fracture from the car accident. The parties eventually settled for $80,000.

    $80,000 – Settlement

    Does the Lawyer Make a Difference in the Outcome?

    Obviously, the quality of your lawyer makes a big difference at trial. But it also makes a huge difference at the settlement table, particularly in ankle injury cases.

    Why? Because the settlement value of the EXACT SAME ankle injury will vary wildly depending on who your lawyer is. Too many accident attorneys do not understand the real value of these lawsuits. The result is a settlement below the true value of the case that fully compensates the victim for all the harm that has been done.

    Ankle Injury Medical Literature

    • Cunningham, B, et al: 2021: Immediate Weightbearing After Operative Treatment of Bimalleolar and Trimalleolar Ankle Fractures: Faster Return to Work for Patients with Nonsedentary Occupations. J Foot Ankle Surg. Jan-Feb 2021;60(1):11-16.  Bimalleolar fractures are breaks of the lateral malleolus and the medial malleolus. This article suggests that putting weight on these fractures earlier helps the long-term recovery process and gets patients back to work more quickly.  Bimalleolar fractures are probably the most common open fractures in traumatic injury cases. Our attorneys’ experience with these cases is that even if surgery improves the patient’s outcome, a common result is permanent stiffness weakness that will likely get worse over time. 
    • Coles, C, et. al: (2019):  Orthopaedic Trauma Association Members and Evidence-Based Treatment Recommendations. Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma: September 2019 – Volume 33 – Issue 9 – p e318-e324.  This article underscores how the treatment of ankle surgery is sometimes more art than science which leads to a great deal of disagreement in the literature on how to treat these fractures (and the lack of consensus can drive patients to frustration). 
    • Xing, W., et al: 2018:  The application of intraoperative ankle dislocation approach in the treatment of the unstable trimalleolar fractures involving posterior ankle comminuted fracture: a retrospective cohort study. BMC Surg 18, 23 (2018). This study looks at the different treatment options for trimalleolar fractures.  Our lawyers have seen a good number of trimalleolar fracture cases.  These are tough injuries and you have to bake into the settlement payout calculus the likelihood of post-traumatic arthritis that may develop.  We have had clients who needed physical therapy, bracing,  intra-articular injections, or even further surgery long after the original injury.

    Getting a Lawyer for Your Ankle Injury Case

    If you have an ankle fracture case in Maryland or Washington, D.C., call me at 800-553-8082 or fill out this claim form online. We can help you bring your personal injury claim and get compensation.  If you are outside of the Baltimore-D.C. area and you have a serious ankle fracture, call me or find my bio and email me.  I can (probably) help you find the right personal injury lawyer to maximize the value of your ankle fracture claim.

    The original post was about an interesting verdict in New York in a “calling fore” golf course injury case.  The case is still interesting. But it is 11 years-old.  So I’m updating the post in 2020 by including sample settlements and verdicts in golf course injury lawsuits.

    Golf Course Injury Verdicts and Settlements

    • 2020, Texas: $125,000 Settlement. A minor girl suffered a traumatic brain injury after falling from a golf cart that was operated by a minor.  Look at the infographic we have on this page.  These injuries are unbelievably common.  The injury left her with permanent impairments. Her family sued the driver for recklessly operating the vehicle and failing to properly brake. They also sued the cart’s owner for negligently entrusting it to an incompetent operator. The case settled for $125,000. Obviously, there was a real problem for the victim’s lawyer in establishing fault because a case like this should be worth millions at trial if successful.

    wrist injury cases

    Click to enlarge

    Over the last 18 years, our car accident lawyers have handled a large number of wrist fracture cases.  We have seen wrist fracture cases with very high values, very low values, and everything in between. Our firm has a history of maximizing the value of wrist injury cases. 

    What Is the Settlement Value of the Average Wrist Fracture Claim?

    The settlement value of a wrist fracture claim will vary wildly with the severity of the fracture. Some time ago, Metro Verdicts Monthly provided the median verdict and settlement value of wrist fracture cases over the last 22 years. The average settlement/verdict in Washington D.C. is $105,000. Maryland is less than half that: $50,000. The average settlement/verdict in a wrist fracture case in Virginia is $52,583.

    Metro Verdicts Monthly’s cover graph is failure to diagnose breast cancer settlements and verdicts in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. breast cancer misdiagnosis casesBy some estimates, between 8% and 12% of cancer cases are initially misdiagnosed. It is hard to call one type of cancer misdiagnosis case more tragic than another. Every misdiagnosis is going to decrease the chance of treating and defeating the cancer. But, many cancer misdiagnosis cases are not medical malpractice cases because the cancer is so aggressive, but breast cancer misdiagnosis cases are fueled by tragedy because breast cancer is often extremely manageable when caught early, and often fatal when missed. Continue reading

    I’m fortunate in that I don’t get many headaches, a blessing I attribute to good hydration and genetic good fortune.  I’ve never had a traumatic head injury and have had only two concussions.  On the rare occasion that I do get headaches, they are debilitating. It is hard to enjoy much of anything in life when you have anything north of a mild headache.

    Juries struggle with figuring out how to value personal injury cases when the primary injury is a closed head injury that caused —  and may continue to cause — headaches.

    Why? Because headaches are mostly subjective. So the credibility of the plaintiff – which is usually 90% of the game at trial – becomes the entire game because you can’t know the pain level inside someone’s head.  Similarly, how do you really prove short-term memory loss?  Instead, decide if you believe the victim’s report of pain or loss of function is what she says it is. 

    vertebrae fracture cases
    Our law firm has handled a lot of vertebrae fracture car, motorcycle, and truck accident cases over the last 18 years.

    What is the Settlement Value of a Vertebrae Fracture Case?

    One study found that the national median award at trial in personal injury cases for a vertebra fracture is $112,537.  The median award for multiple vertebrae fractures is almost double the single vertebra amount, $207,000.

    This is far lower than our law firm’s average settlement in vertebrae fracture cases. Why? There could be some jurisdictional differences because this is not Maryland data but national data. But they may also be including hairline fractures which are hardly the same thing.

    The average premises liability verdict is $643,099, according to Jury Verdict Research’s review of premises lawsuits around the country. premise liability casesThe median verdict in these cases is $98,160. Claims against recreational facilities were higher. The average verdict is $1,007,704 and the median verdict is $125,000. JVR defines these cases as a lawsuit that is brought against an individual, business, landlord, or organization responsible for the maintenance and safety of a property or structure.

    Average v. Median Verdicts

    When possible, I try to include the average and median data. Average verdict data includes large, often uncollectable verdicts that distort the reality. While both the silly case that never should have been filed and the $58,000,000 verdict don’t really apply to the valuation of your case, the former distorts the result more than the latter. Then again, all verdict data undifferentiated by specifics of the case ultimately should be filed away under “interesting but ultimately useless.” It is also worth noting that this is a study of successful premise liability verdicts where the plaintiff prevails. Factoring in the losses, the average award is much lower. Most lawyers who handle premises cases regularly handle only serious injury or death cases. The bar in terms of the severity of injury required for a good lawyer to accept the case is higher in these cases than in auto accident cases where the path to proving liability is more clear and certain.

    Arthritis is such a serious injury because it is permanent.  Our clients who suffer from arthritis do not get better over time.  They get worse.

    How much are arthritis cases worth?

    Jury Verdict Research reports that the median jury award over the past 10 years, in personal injury cases involving arthritis injuries, is $38,867.00. This study involved personal injury verdicts where the victim’s primary injury involved inflammation, pain, and/or weakness to their joints or muscles. The study underscored what personal injury lawyers around the country have long known about fibromyalgia cases: juries struggle with them. This is borne out by the numbers – the median jury award of what we would call “pure” arthritis cases is $121,538.00; the median fibromyalgia jury award is approximately $23,000.00.

    median arthritis verdicts
    Insurance adjusters love to ignore Maryland law that provides recovery for exacerbations of preexisting injuries.  When they are not ignoring that law, they are bundling all the injury victim’s problems and drop them on the doorstep of the original injury.

    Obviously, there are a lot of vexing injuries that occur in car and truck accidents. Foot and ankle injuries rank high on this list of hard to solve accident injuries. There are so many bones in the foot — one-fourth of all of your bones — and the bones are so small. Just too many things can go wrong.foot injury lawsuits

    What Is the Average Settlement Value of a Foot Injury Accident Claim?

    According to a Jury Verdict Research study, the overall median jury award for foot injuries is approximately $100,000 (maybe slightly less in Maryland).  More serious foot injuries see a corresponding rise in value. Multiple fractures to a foot increase the median verdict to $144,000. In foot injury cases where both feet are fractured, the median rises to $296,940. For plaintiffs’ lawyers repeating the “scope property damage does not matter” credo, it is hard to ignore the conclusion that if you have suffered fractures to both of your feet, you were most likely in a serious accident. Another Jury Verdict Research study found that 39% of the foot injury cases that went to verdict were suffered in motor vehicle collisions. A remarkable 11% of serious foot injury cases were in motorcycle accident cases. This stat underscores how dangerous motorcycles are compared to cars or trucks.

    Continue reading

    What is the settlement value of a personal injury claim where you have lost your vision in either one eye or both? Metro Verdicts Monthly has a graph that reflects the median verdicts and settlements when the injury victim loses vision in one eye in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

    What Is the Average Settlement in a Vision Loss Case?

    The median for losing vision in one eye in Maryland is $231,000. You could drive a truck through the gap between Washington, D.C., and Virginia’s median settlements in verdicts with loss of vision in one eye cases: Washington, D.C.’s median is $162,500; Virginia’s is $320,000.

    These numbers are a bit misleading.   I think because most loss of vision cases are product liability cases. Many product liability cases have questionable liability which decreases the average and median recoveries. If liability is not an issue, the values of these cases are much higher. eye loss verdicts

    What Kind of Money Can I Expect for an Eye Injury at Work?

    Workers’ compensation laws work differently than claims against other third parties. So if the claim is against your employer, a different set of laws apply. You can typically expect less money in a workers’ comp case against your employer than you would for the same injury when there was a third party responsible. But in some cases, the victim has two claims: a workers’ comp claim and a claim against the party that caused the harm.

    What Types of Eye Injuries Do You See in Your Law Practice?

    Our law firm has handled product liability, medical malpractice, and workplace injuries was damage to the eye that caused a partial or complete vision disturbance.

    Is It Contributory Negligence Not to Wear Eye Protection?

    Lawyers debate this issue. Our attorneys believe it is not contributory negligence under Maryland to not wear eye protection even if it is found that such protection would limit your injuries. (But, boy, wearing eye protection a good idea. The American Academy of Ophthalmology tells us the 90% of the 2,000 U.S. workers suffer EVERY DAY, 90 percent of these accidents can be avoided by wearing eye protection.)

    Is There a Cap on Non-Economic Damages for an Eye Injury in Maryland?

    In Maryland, any vision loss should be a “cap” case, which means you would get Maryland’s statutory cap of $875,000 for an accident occurring in July 2020, plus whatever your economic losses might be. If it is a malpractice case, the cap is $830,000.

    Is There a Cap on Economic Damages in an Eye Injury Case?

    There is not a cap on damages in an eye injury case in Maryland. Economic damages in these cases can be significant. Because of the potential loss of wages, employee benefits, and lost household services on top of future medical care, the economic losses in these cases can reach the millions very quickly.

    vision loss cases

    Value of Vision Loss Cases

    Damages are broadly defined both as direct costs to the victim and as any loss of income or economically valuable activities that resulted from the incident. The subject’s pecuniary damages are divided into four categories: loss of earnings, medical expenses, household services, and the cost of any care that is required. My law firm has always been interested in the loss of vision cases.  Our interest has increased even more with the Elmiron lawsuits that have begun in earnest in 2020.

    What Is the Average Workers Comp Settlement for Eye Injury?

    It is important to understand the average payout in eye injury cases data that we have presented applies only in personal injury cases. In a Maryland workers’ compensation claim, the payouts will generally be much lower than they would be in a civil lawsuit.

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