Metro Verdicts Monthly graph this month is the median verdict and settlement value of “vision loss” personal injury cases. Omitting defense verdicts, the average settlement/verdict in Washington D.C. is $500,000. What do you think the average is in Maryland? Somehow, I doubt you would guess anything in the neighborhood or even the zip code of $192,700. The difference between these two numbers is inexplicable. The average settlement/verdict in vision loss cases in Virginia is $450,000.
I suspect something is wrong with this analysis because I really don’t think Virginia juries value vision loss twice as much as Maryland juries. I’d pay extra if they would include in an appendix the data they used for these graphs.
Vision Loss Verdicts and Settlements
- 2020, Connecticut: $225,000 Settlement. A 52-year-old woman’s vehicle was T-boned by an intoxicated police officer. Before the collision, the officer was at a tavern for a retirement party. Her daughter was a passenger in the vehicle. The woman became unconscious at the scene of the accident. She suffered a traumatic macular hole to her left eye, a head injury, knee, hip, and chest injuries. Her macular hole caused vision loss. The woman’s daughter suffered a concussion and a fractured wrist. They sued the State of Connecticut, the officer, and the tavern’s owners. They claimed that the officer was negligent, and the tavern was liable under dram shop laws. The claim against the tavern owners settled for $225,000, but the rest of the litigation was still pending.
- 2019, Minnesota: $3,423,087 Verdict. A 36-year-old woman suffered permanent vision loss, including blindness to her right eye because of medical malpractice. She claimed that an excessive dosage of Plaquenil, used to treat her Lupus, caused her vision loss. The woman claimed that her treating health clinic failed to examine her Plaquenil dosages and inform her of its vision impairment risks. She also claimed that her eye care facility failed to detect Plaquenil toxicity signs. The jury awarded $3,423,087 in damages.
- 2019, Florida: $150,000 Settlement. This premise liability case involved a minor who was shot in the eye by a BB gun while taking out the trash with her father. She suffered a complete retinal detachment that caused her to lose most of her vision in her right eye. Both the motive and perpetrator were unknown. The minor and her mother alleged that this was foreseeable because of previous criminal activity that took place around the complex and surrounding neighborhood. She noted that she gave up cheerleading because of her vision loss. The case settled for $150,000.
- 2018, Michigan: $3,195,000 Verdict. A 25-year-old woman suffered permanent vision loss while under the care of a neurophysiologist. She received treatment for migraines, blurry vision, and light sensitivity. The woman claimed that the neurophysiologist failed to timely diagnose pseudotumor celebri. This delayed treatment for idiopathic intracranial hypertension. The neurophysiologist denied negligence, claiming that the woman failed to seek treatment sooner and refill her prescriptions on time. A jury awarded her a $3,195,000 verdict.
- 2018, New York: $7,100,000 Verdict. A 4-year-old boy became blind in both eyes while under the care of a pediatrician and otolaryngologist. He, through his parent, alleged that both physicians deviated from accepted medical practice. Specifically, they claimed that they failed to properly treat otitis media with IV antibiotics and the placement of an ear tube. Both physicians denied liability, claiming that third-party negligence and failure to follow the pediatrician’s orders caused vision loss. The jury found the pediatrician negligent, but not the otolaryngologist. They awarded a $7,100,000 verdict.
- 2018, Texas: $6,844,543 Verdict. A 50-something man suffered permanent vision loss in both eyes after undergoing open-heart surgery. The morning after surgery, he experienced visual field cuts to his right eye. He then experienced visual field cuts to his left eye the next day. The man became permanently blind in both eyes that evening. He claimed that his treating physicians were not notified by the treating nurse and physical therapist. The man also noted that there was no intervention until two days after his surgery. By that time, a consulting opthamologist concluded that he suffered anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. This was because of blood loss during surgery, low blood pressure, and anemia. He sued the hospital, who contended that the staff acted appropriately. The jury awarded the man a $6,844,543 verdict.
- 2017, New York: $700,000 Settlement. A 20-year-old carpenter was struck in the eye by a masonry nail that he was hammering into an elevator shaft. He suffered a globe rupture, a damaged cornea, and intraocular tissue loss. He underwent multiple surgeries. The man ultimately experienced vision loss in that eye. He alleged that his employer failed to supply protective goggles. His employer contended that they provided goggles, but that the man failed to wear them. The man denied this contention, claiming that there was no evidence that they provided goggles. He returned to construction work full-time two years after the accident. At mediation, the case settled for $700,000.
- A deeper dive into the value of loss of vision cases with verdicts and settlements