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Articles Posted in Personal Injury Verdicts

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

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Metro Verdicts Monthly provides 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. Maryland jury verdicts in series personal injury cases are generally higher in the District of Columbia. Again, I don’t know the methodology of how MVM gets its numbers. If they rely on personal injury lawyers reporting that data – which I do not think they do – then that could skew the data as could a lot of other things that only a statistician could find. Particularly since Metro Verdicts includes settlements in their statistics, it is hard not to suspect that data could be skewed. The only way auto accident settlements (as opposed to malpractice settlements that have to be reported) get on the radar screen is if you call Metro Verdicts and tell them you settled a case. But there are few sources of verdict and settlement statistics in personal injury cases, so it is hard not to find data like this interesting. I would love to see a jurisdiction comparison of Baltimore City and all the counties in Maryland. Most wrist injuries we see are fractures.  A fracture is a broken bone.  Many of these cases are comminuted wrist fracture cases, which means it is not one clean, bony fragment, but multiple fragments.  These cases will have a higher average settlement value.   Also, there is a greater injury settlement value is when there is a fracture that extends into the joint is called an intra-articular fracture.  Ultimately, the more serious and permanent the injury is, the greater the value of the case.

Wrist Injuries on the Rise

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

headache personal injury cases

What is the value of head injury cases?

I’m fortunate in that I don’t get many headaches, a blessing I attribute to good hydration and genetic good fortune. 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 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. Instead, decide if you believe that their report of pain is what they say it is.  Certainly, objective injuries surrounding the claim — like a diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome — bolster the settlement value of injury claims.  But, ultimately, it boils down to the credibility of the victim.

What Is the Settlement Value of Headaches?

The average verdict for headache injuries is $72,168. The median verdict is $13,359.

vertebrae fracture cases

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A Jury Verdict Research report found that over the last ten years, the national median award at trial in personal injury cases for a vertebra fracture is $112,537. Almost two-thirds of the cases in the study were motor vehicle accidents, which is the leading cause of spinal injuries in this country.  Our lawyers have seen a lot of these spinal cord injuries, particularly from motorcycle accidents.  Not surprisingly, the median award for multiple vertebrae fractures is almost double the single vertebra amount, $207,000.

When I first read this report, I assumed these vertebral fracture numbers were low because they excluded cases where there was a spinal cord or head injury. But apparently, 7.5% of the verdicts were in excess of $2,500,000, which means they have to include vertebrae fractures where the spinal cord was implicated or there was an accompanying head injury.

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.

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.

hawaii medical malpractice
There are not many malpractice settlements and verdicts in Hawaii.  Here are three that I found and the awards or settlements are significant:

  • 2019, Hawaii: $18,760,000 Settlement. A woman suffered an end-stage renal disease after experiencing a sepsis-related infection while giving birth at Tripler Medical Center. She experienced repeated and increased hypotension and tachycardia episodes after being transferred to the postpartum unit. Her lab results showed that she developed sepsis and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy. She eventually suffered permanent kidney damage. An infectious disease expert confirmed the group A streptococcus that resulted in toxic shock syndrome, sepsis, and bacteremia. Upon being discharged, she underwent hemodialysis three times a week. Within two years, she was hospitalized for gallstones and increased fluid in her abdomen. She and her husband sued Tripler for failing to timely diagnose or treat her kidney failure. They allege that she now needed a kidney transplant and other organ transplants throughout her life.  The magistrate judge initially awarded $24,743,668. However, the federal government appealed the case. It eventually settled for $18,760,000.
  • 2013, Hawaii: $4,250,000 Award. A 15-year-old became paralyzed from the neck down after receiving steroid treatment for lupus. She developed a facial rash and slurred speech while visiting Hawaii with her family. She saw a pediatric rheumatologist, who diagnosed her with lupus. An MRI revealed some white matter density in her brain. Upon hospital admission, the rheumatologist prescribed weekly methylprednisone and prednisone doses to be taken for four weeks. The teenager responded well to the medication; her speech resolved, and her blood tests showed no increases in lupus antibodies. The rheumatologist had her continue this regimen. Right before the fourth week, the teen complained of muscle weakness. Her mother had her stop taking the medications. She eventually showed myopathy signs and was subsequently admitted to the hospital. She eventually could not move her body from the neck down. The teen and her mother sued the treating medical center for prescribing a high steroid dose. She now needed lifetime medical care because of her injuries. The first trial, held in 2009, awarded $6,150,000. However, the Hawaiian Supreme Court ordered a new trial based on erroneous evidence. The second trial’s jury awarded $4,250,000, which the court reduced to $1,800,000.

emotional injuries compensationOur clients sometimes incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.  They should be compensated for those bills. But the bigger harm in personal injury cases is the physical and emotional pain and suffering that comes with the victims’ injuries.

Today, we will look at compensation for emotional injuries in accident and medical malpractice cases to get a better idea of how much money victims can expect to receive as compensation for this type on intangible but often the most important injury.
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