Some time ago Metro Verdicts had a graph comparing settlement amounts in different regions or distinct types of injuries. This month, they had a fascinating graph comparing fractured shoulder injury verdicts and settlements in Maryland and Virginia since 1987, omitting defense verdicts. The average fractured shoulder verdict or settlement in Maryland was $154,800, whereas, in Virginia, it was only $52,500.
This is a remarkable disparity. If you have a choice over the venue – not common, but it happens – it would seem that a smart lawyer with a client with a shoulder injury would choose Maryland. In reality, it is probably more complicated than that and would depend on the injury, the client, and what county in Maryland would have an appropriate venue for the lawsuit. While I love verdict data, all of it is suspect and should be just a weapon in a lawyer’s arsenal trying to figure out the value of a tort case.
Shoulder Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents
The most common of these injuries we see in motor vehicle accident cases is a fractured humerus, which is your upper arm bone that sits between your shoulder and elbow.
Treatment for a fractured humerus typically involves immobilizing the arm with a cast or brace, physical therapy, and, in severe cases, surgery. The recovery process can be long and painful, often involving significant rehabilitation and ongoing medical care, which impacts settlement amounts.
Compensation for a fractured humerus personal injury claim can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the injury. It is essential to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney to determine the strength of your case and to help you navigate the legal process to recover compensation for your damages.
Fractured Collarbone and Shoulder Blades
We also see fractured collarbones and shoulder blades. I’m not sure precisely why, but you see many shoulder blade fractures in motorcycle accidents.
Many of our clients can get some relief from these injuries by wearing a sling or brace. But in our more severe accident cases, fixation surgery is necessary to correct the break. In terms of injury severity, this is a whole new ballgame. This is just a brutal injury from which to recover. Rarely does anyone suffering from those fractures — whether in a car accident or a football game — recover easily and quickly.
Victims often struggle after shoulder fracture, separation, or dislocation for months and even years after the injury. If the injury is not severe, rapid improvement and function return after the first 4 to 6 weeks. Shoulder exercises, usually as part of a supervised physical therapy program, are usually necessary. Exercises decrease stiffness, improve range of motion, and help the patient regain muscle strength.
A shoulder dislocation is a common injury in high-velocity car accidents. Our lawyers see shoulder dislocations in all types of car accidents. But we see these injuries mostly in T-bone or broadside collisions: These accidents can cause the occupant’s body to be thrown sideways, putting significant pressure on the shoulder and leading to a dislocation.
The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint, and when a significant force is applied to the joint, such as in a car accident, the ball can be forced out of the socket. Symptoms of a shoulder dislocation include severe pain, swelling, and immobility of the arm. In some cases, the shoulder may appear visibly deformed.
Treatment for a shoulder dislocation usually involves repositioning the joint back into its socket, which is a reduction. This can be done through manual manipulation or surgery in severe cases. Following the reduction, the shoulder may be immobilized with a sling or brace to allow for healing. Physical therapy and rehabilitation may also be necessary to restore the shoulder’s strength and range of motion.
Rotator Cuff Tears Are a Different Animal
Rotator cuff injuries are distinct. We see a lot of full-thickness tears that are severe injuries. From a value of the case standpoint, they should be viewed differently. You can find information on rotator cuff settlements and verdicts here.
Shoulder Fracture Settlements and Verdicts
There are not a lot of recent settlements and verdicts available. We need to go back and pull some of our cases to add in some local cases. But I have listed below a list of sample settlement amounts and jury payouts outside of Maryland.
Do these guarantee that your similar-sounding case — or even better — will get the same result? No. There is no predictive value to comparable cases because there are too many other factors to consider, most notably the venue and the client themselves. Still, this gives you some flavor in your quest to narrow down at least a reasonable range of settlements or jury verdicts for your own case.
- 2022 (New York) $30,000 Verdict: Plaintiff reportedly sustained a right shoulder fracture and left elbow and right knee sprains when, while attempting to cross an intersection as a pedestrian, he was struck by a vehicle driven by the defendant.
- 2022 (Alabama) $19,000 Settlement: Plaintiff was rear-ended by another driver, causing a four-car collision.
As a result, the plaintiff suffered a fractured left shoulder resulting in a 3% impairment rating to the shoulder. Case settled before trial.
- 2021 (Georgia) $1,421,894 Verdict: Plaintiff suffered a right shoulder fracture with rotator cuff tear and acromioclavicular joint sprain, requiring three surgeries, and neck and back injuries when she stepped on a mat with a liquid spill underneath it near the checkout area of a Walmart store.
- 2020 (Florida) $25,456 Verdict: Plaintiff suffered a comminuted fracture of his right shoulder requiring surgery when the bus driver for the City of Gainesville negligently retracted a wheelchair lift on the bus, causing the plaintiff to trip and fall into the bus.
- 2019 (Georgia) $90,700 Verdict: Plaintiff’s vehicle was struck at an intersection after the defendant ran a stop sign, causing the plaintiff to suffer a right shoulder fracture which required surgery to correct. A jury in Gwinnett County awarded $90,000.
- 2014 (New York) $1,150,256 Settlement: A 52-year-old clerk was driving on the westbound side of Salisbury Park Drive in Westbury when involved in a head-on collision with a State Farm-insured driver. An ambulance took her to a local hospital where she underwent treatment for head injuries and fractures of her neck, hip, leg, four ribs, and left shoulder. She developed trauma-induced bradycardia–an abnormally slow heart rate- which required the implantation of a pacemaker. She sued the driver for negligence, claiming that evidence showed Defendant crossed the double center line, resulting in the collision. The defendant did not deny liability, and the parties settled before trial for $1,150,256.
- 2013 (New York) $825,000 Settlement: A 77-year-old woman slipped on a puddle of water and fell down an entire flight of the exterior stairs of her multi-family home in the Ridgewood section of Queens. An ambulance took her to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, where staff treated her for fractures of her vertebra, shoulders, and tibia. Her neck fractures required open reduction fusion, which resulted in permanent immobilization of her neck. They hospitalized her for two weeks and then into inpatient rehabilitation and physical therapy. She now requires constant in-home care. The woman sued the premises’ manager and owner for improper maintenance of the condition of the premises. Plaintiff claimed water that had leaked off the building’s roof formed the puddle, a condition she and multiple family members had consistently reported to the premises’ manager for four months before the incident. Defendants claimed they were unaware of the leak, and Plaintiff should have noticed and avoided the puddle. The parties negotiated and agreed on an $825,000 settlement.
- 2012 (Texas) $96,670 Verdict: A 53-year-old salesman was driving northbound on Loop 463 in Victoria. While proceeding through the intersection of Salem Road, a State Farm-insured driver collided with his vehicle. An ambulance took him to a local hospital where the staff treated his left shoulder fractures. Hospital staff treated the fractures with open reduction and internal fixation of plates and screws, followed by physical therapy. He sued the driver for negligence, claiming the Defendant attempted to turn left onto the eastbound side and entered his lane. Defendant argued that she had stopped in a lane designated for left-turning vehicles and had not started a turn when the collision occurred. A Victoria County jury found in favor of the Plaintiff and rendered a $96,670 verdict.
- 2012 (Florida) $264,115 Verdict: A 74-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s was a front-seat passenger in an SUV driven by her husband when the vehicle was struck on the left rear side, resulting in multiple shoulder fractures. Acting on her behalf, her husband sued the driver for negligence, claiming his wife could no longer raise her dominant right arm and would frequently cry because of her pain and limitations. Defendants did not dispute the shoulder fracture resulting from the accident but argued the injuries were resolved with surgery and physical therapy. Defendants claimed any remaining pain and limitations were because of the Plaintiff’s preexisting rotator cuff tear. A Volusia jury found in favor of the Plaintiff with a $264,115 verdict.
Hiring a Lawyer for Your Shoulder Injury Case
Our lawyers have gotten millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements in shoulder injury Maryland tort cases. If you have a potential claim, call us and see if we can help you maximize the value of your case. You can reach my law firm and me at 410-779-4600, or fill out this contact form.
- Rotator Cuff Settlements and Verdicts (Maryland data)