In the past, I have written on the settlement amount for fractured legs. Now, in a relentless, unyielding effort to cover the settlement and trial value of every bone in the human anatomy, let’s thin-slice broken legs a little thinner.
So we will look at femur fractures generally but drill down on settlement amounts in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia.
The median verdict or settlement amount of a femur fracture case in the District of Columbia is $250,000.00; in Virginia, it has been $200,000.00. However, the median verdict or settlement in a femur fracture case in Maryland has been $75,000.00. The national average is $167,000.
Why are Maryland femur fracture cases valued at roughly 35% of the value of a femur fracture case in D.C. or Virginia? The Metro Verdicts Monthly graph has a disclaimer attached to the statistical analysis that any defense verdicts have been omitted from the formulation of these numbers, but this would not skew the data.
So besides the other reasons that I have suggested in the past that could distort this data (most namely, that many of these verdicts are self-reporting), maybe Virginia and D.C. insurance companies are more willing to let cases get filed in the first place, much less go to trial and get a trial report. I know I have settled many femur fracture cases without ever suing.
These statistics don’t pick that up. Also, if you include settlements, you realize that policy limits become a factor. Are we writing smaller policies in Maryland than our neighbors are?
I have mentioned other reasons this data could be distorted to the point of not being a meaningful comparison before to the point of my having no confidence in its accuracy.
So why do I keep writing about median and average verdicts and settlements? I find the data interesting and – informative in some ways. It means many attorneys have gotten settlements and verdicts for femur fractures in the ballpark of $75,000. Really, I think to myself? I think that is ridiculously low.
But does this data inform my settlement evaluation of cases? The way lawyers calculate settlement value is such a mosaic of different information. Still, I can’t deny that data like this, which I disagree with, does, in some part, enter my calculus.
Femur Fracture Verdicts and Settlements
- 2023, South Carolina: $175,000 Settlement. The plaintiff, a six-year-old boy, was riding his bike when the defendant hit him with her pickup truck. He suffered an open fibula fracture, a closed femur fracture, and lacerations to his face, liver, and kidney. This was a policy limits settlement involving 2 different insurance companies.
- 2023, New Jersey: $100,000 Settlement. The plaintiff, a minor, was riding an off-road dirt bike at an intersection and was involved in a motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff allegedly suffered femur and wrist fractures. The case settled for $100,000 as liability was fully admitted.
- 2022, Wisconsin: $75,000 Settlement. The plaintiff, a teenage boy, fell from the second-story window of an apartment building owned and managed by the defendant. The plaintiff claimed he fell because the screen in his bedroom window failed. He suffered a fracture of the distal end of his left femur.
- 2022, Pennsylvania: $200,000 Settlement. An 88-year-old woman claimed to have suffered a left femur fracture, requiring surgery, when, as she was entering the main lobby of defendant St. Mary Medical Center, she was struck and knocked down by a revolving door when her walker became caught on an entrance rug.
- 2022, Pennsylvania: $200,000 Settlement. An 88-year-old woman suffered a left femur fracture when she entered the lobby of the defendant hospital, and her walker became caught on an entrance rug. She claimed the hospital failed to have a safety sensor on the revolving door.
- 2022, New York: $100,000 Settlement. A 15-year-old female pedestrian allegedly suffered fractures to her left femur and left patella together with lacerations, bruises, and scarring when she was struck by a motor vehicle owned by the defendant.
- 2021, Wisconsin: $100,000 Settlement. A 12-year-old male was riding his bike near an intersection when he was struck by a vehicle operated by the defendant. The boy fractured his left femur, which required open reduction surgery.
- 2021, New York: $25,000 Settlement. A 10-year-old boy reportedly suffered a right femur fracture, requiring surgery, when he was struck by a vehicle driven by the defendant while the boy attempted to cross the street on his bicycle.
- 2020, Texas: $775,000 Settlement. A man entered a gas station side door. He walked across a wet mat, slipped, and fell onto the floor. He suffered a right femur fracture. An ambulance brought him to the hospital, where he underwent a total knee replacement. Within two years, he fell three more times. He underwent surgery and physical therapy after each fall. The man sued the gas station’s owner for failing to promptly inspect its premises and to provide adequate warning. He claimed that his first fall significantly weakened him and made him vulnerable to further falls. The case settled for $775,000.
- 2020, New York: $3,175,000 Settlement. A 39-year-old laborer was jackhammering in a building’s courtyard while standing on a 25-foot tall ladder. He fell onto the sidewalk and fractured his orbital, right femur, right arm, and right elbow. An ambulance brought him to the hospital, where the staff treated his right elbow with an external fixation device. He would later undergo open reduction internal fixation of his right elbow, right leg, and right wrist. The man was hospitalized for over a month. He then underwent six-day inpatient rehabilitative treatment and outpatient physical therapy for twelve days. The man claimed that he now suffered a limited range of motion in his elbow and leg. He now needed a cane and had not worked since the accident. The man sued the premises’ owner for failing to provide a safe work environment. This case settled for $3,175,000.
- 2020, Virginia: $250,000 Settlement. An SUV struck a 73-year-old pedestrian as she walked across the street. The woman suffered a crushed femur, a ruptured tendon in her thumb, multiple rib fractures, and multiple vertebrae fractures. She was hospitalized for almost a month and incurred about $176,000 in medical expenses. The driver was uninsured but used his sister’s $25,000 policy. The woman also had a $250,000 UIM policy from Liberty Mutual. Her counsel also obtained $105,000 in medical payments, PIP coverage, and no-fault coverage before they made a Medicare claim on her behalf. The total settlement amounted to the woman’s $250,000 UIM policy.
- 2019, California: $21,500,000 Verdict. A motorcyclist was sideswiped by a vehicle illegally veering through a double-yellow-line carpool lane. The impact sent his motorcycle across the freeway, striking a flatbed truck. The man was ejected from his motorcycle and fractured his hand, femur, and vertebrae. He sued the driver for negligence and sought compensation for past and future physical pain and suffering. The driver admitted liability, and the trial only concerned damages. A jury awarded the man $21,500,000.
- 2019, Georgia: $14,934,000 Verdict. A 15-year-old boy was motorcycling on a motocross track. He ran off course and struck an exposed steel culvert pipe. The boy was airlifted to a hospital, where staff treated his nearly severed right leg. Specifically, he suffered fractures to his tibia, fibula, and femur. The boy also suffered multiple torn ligaments in his right knee. He underwent external fixation to repair his tibia and received intramedullary rod and screw implants to repair his fibula. The boy underwent three additional surgeries and physical therapy for four years. Doctors saved his leg, but his injuries were permanent, and he now walked with a limp. He claimed that his employment opportunities were now limited. He sued the facility’s owners, managers, and operators for failing to maintain safe conditions. The jury awarded a $14,934,000 verdict.
- 2019, Florida: $197,152 Arbitration Award. An 85-year-old nursing home resident fell and suffered a femur fracture. She was brought to the hospital and underwent closed reduction surgery on her fracture. After two days, surgeons addressed her fracture via open reduction and internal fixation. She was hospitalized for six days. The woman sued the nursing home’s operator for failing to ensure her safety. An arbitrator determined that the facility was liable and awarded the woman $197,152 in damages.