I’m going to tell you which personal car Accident injuries lead to the highest settlements. We’re going to start off with injuries that typically result in high settlements, and then we’re gonna work our way all the way down to injuries that typically lead to much lower settlements.
We’re going to look at the pure exposure value of pain and suffering. That’s the value that insurance companies assign to the pain and suffering part of the claim without regard to who’s at fault or the credibility of the witnesses.
Brain injury Car Accident
As you may imagine, the injuries that lead to the largest settlements are typically paralysis, a severe brain injury, severe burns to the body, or blindness. These can often result in cases that reach way into the multiple millions, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 million or more.
The problem with these horrible injuries is that most of the time, there will not be enough insurance to pay for the value of your claim. This is true unless you’re going up against a huge company like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Walmart, Target, a Publix supermarket, or another company like that, or a very large hotel chain.
Wrong death settlement values
The next largest injury that results in the largest settlements are wrongful death claims. The full value of the survivor’s mental pain and suffering claims in wrongful death in a state like Florida, where I practice, can be in the multi-millions. In fact, one Florida Appeals Court approved a $12.5 million verdict, just for pain and suffering alone, to a mother who lost her 15-year-old when he was electrocuted by an FPL wire. As you can see, there’s a range to pain and suffering.
When the insurance company evaluates the value of your pain and suffering, they don’t just assign one number. They usually assign a range. There’s a low end, which is if you heal pretty well, typically, and a higher end, which is if you are left with a large disability and you have a long, extended period of treatment, and you have lots of pain. The next type of personal injuries that pays the highest settlement is if you have a moderate brain injury.
You may have had surgery to your skull, or perhaps you didn’t even have surgery. Maybe you had what’s called shearing of the brain. If you had shearing of the brain, that can be worth $1,000,000 or more. Now, one thing that can add major value to these cases or any personal injury cases is if you can get what’s called punitive damages.
You would typically get that if perhaps you could show that the other driver was working for a company at the time of the crash and he was on a cell phone and the company told them, you can use your cell phone if it’s a big client that we’re dealing with. It’s okay.
Femur fracture surgery settlement values
The next type of injury that often can result in the highest settlement is if you break your femur and have a plate and screws put into it. The femur’s the bone that goes from your hip to your knee. Femur bone fractures with a plate and screws can often result in pain and suffering of $200,000 or more.
Now, when I mention pain and suffering, we also need to add in the medical bills and the lost wages to that amount. And then discount, reduce that amount by any factors, such as your fault or difficulty proving the claim. For example, I represented a woman who tripped and fell on the curb that you can see in the photo here.
This was at an apartment complex and she fractured her femur and she had a rod put in it, and I had to adjust the value of the claim, the full value, even though her pain and suffering I felt was worth easily more than $200,000. I reduced it because there were photos that the other side had showing that the area was well lit up, and they argued, she should’ve seen this curb before tripping on it. Remember you’re only allowed to get paid for the percentage of the other side’s fault. So if they’re 50% at fault, you’d be entitled to 50% of the total value of your case.
Serious ankle fracture surgery settlement values
Now, very serious ankle fractures, where you break two or three bones, and have a plate and screws put in there, those can have a pain and suffering component of $250,000 up. In fact, if you have screws put in your ankle and you’ve broken two or three bones, and then you have to have those screws and plate removed, because you can have continued pain, those can result in pain and suffering settlements between 300 and $350,000. Again, just for the pain and suffering portion of the claim.
Car accident lawyer
As an example, my client, Sam, was riding through a crosswalk when a car hit him. Sam flew off the bike and you can see his foot here. In this image, you can see that he fractured his fibula, which is the thinner of the two lower leg bones. And you can see the hardware, the plate and screws, that the doctor put into his leg.
He was left with an incision, as you can see here. Now, for a middle-aged man, a scar typically doesn’t pay a tremendous amount of value if it’s on your lower leg. Always be sure to send the insurance company for the responsible party who’s at fault photos of your injuries.
We sent the insurance company a photo of this incision here and after the second surgery where Sam had the plate and screws taken out of his ankle, we sent the insurance company a photo of him wearing his cast here. And here’s a photo of the incision after the second surgery. Now, even if you break two or three bones in your ankle and the doctor puts in a plate and screws, and then later removes them, expect the insurance company still to make you a low offer.
For example, in Sam’s case, Geico, who insured the other driver, only offered $100,000 as their first offer. We ultimately settled with Geico for $350,000. And you can see when Geico evaluated the case, they pretty much paid around $344,000 for pain and suffering, and after attorney’s fees and costs, Sam got over $227,000 in his pocket. If you break the top of your tibia, which is the larger, lower leg bone, you fracture that and have a plate and screws, the pain and suffering component for that can be worth three to $400,000.
In fact, I represented a motorcycle rider who was injured in Hialeah, Miami-Dade County, Florida. When an 18-wheeler made a left in front of him, my client flew off the motorcycle and he broke his tibial plateau. That is the top of the tibia, right beneath your knee cap. He had a plate and screws put in. He also fractured his finger and had a plate and screws put in there, which was later removed. When the tractor trailer’s insurance company evaluated the value of pain and suffering, they likely assigned over $410,000 to the pain and suffering component of this case.
Now the problem again with these larger injury cases, such as your tibia plateau fracture, a fractured femur, a very serious ankle fracture, is, again, there often will not be enough insurance to pay for the value of your case. The exceptions here are, if you’re hit by an 18-wheeler, they normally have very large insurance policies, or if you’re injured by a huge corporation.
Neck and back fusion surgery settlement values
Next up, are neck and back fusion surgery cases. They can have a pain and suffering full value of between 250 and $350,000.
Laminectomies surgery pain and suffering values
Laminectomies, which is a type of surgery in which a surgeon removes part or all of the vertebral bone, which is called the lamina, can have a pure exposure value of 150 to $250,000. I represented Keith who was involved in a rear end accident, and he ended up having a laminectomy to his lower back. We settled for the policy limits of $100,000 from State Farm.
Now, every so often, lower back or neck fusion surgery cases can result in $1,000,000 or larger settlement. An attorney friend of mine recently settled a lower back fusion case for $1,000,000. The other driver in that case had a very well-paying insurance company, and yes, some insurance companies pay a lot better than others.
I wanna give a shout out to New York personal injury attorney, Arkady Frekhtman, who recently did a fusion surgery video on settlements. And he mentioned that he had verdicts and/or settlements that were over $1,000,000 for a fusion. So way to go, Arkady, keep up that fantastic work.
A broken wrist settlement values
A broken wrist with a plate and screws in it, typically has a pain and suffering value of around 150,000 to $250,000. I settled a claim for a driver who T-boned another vehicle who ran a red light, and we settled her case where she had a plate and screws put in her wrist for $200,000. She also had a herniated disc.
Rotator cuff tear settlement values
Now let’s talk about rotator cuff tears and labrum tears in the shoulder. Those can have a pain and suffering full value of between 100,000 and $175,000 in the state of Florida. You can see the damage to the front of an 18-wheeler that rear-ended my client in this claim. We settled his labrum tear surgery case for $210,000.
And you can see, I estimated that these insurance companies in this tractor trailer case paid around $189,000 for pain and suffering, so that falls a little bit above my labrum tear surgery value range that I gave, but that’s because my client also had a herniated disc.
Broken ankle statement values
Now let’s look at how much a broken ankle was worth without surgery. The pure exposure value for the pain and suffering of a broken ankle is around 10 to $30,000. In this case here, you can see the cracks in the pavement where my client, Dawn, was walking. She was at a private nature park. Here, you can see the penny shows the depth.
You can see a picture of Dawn with her walking boot on. Again, take photos of your walking boot, of any cane, send them to the insurance company. They force the adjuster to look at your file when you send them to them. And they show them that you’re a human being, a real person, that deserves to get paid fair value for your pain and suffering.
You can see an email from K and K Insurance, in this case where, again, another insurance company low-balled us and only offered us $5,000 as their opening offer. If you don’t know the proper range for the full value pain and suffering, you have no idea whether to believe the adjuster or not.
Here you can see the comparison between K and K’s opening offer of $5,000, and the final settlement of $30,000. They paid around $28,000 for pain and suffering, which falls into the range, the 10 to $30,000 pain and suffering range I gave for an ankle injury. And after attorney’s fees and costs, and me paying the medical bills, Dawn got over $18,000 in her pocket.
Herniated disc settlement values
Now let’s look at the settlement value of herniated discs. Herniated discs can have a pure exposure value of between 25 to $50,000, but they could be much more and they can be much less. Generally if you’re younger, you’re going to have an easier time getting paid, because you can argue that a young person should not have a herniated disc.
Whereas if you’re older, the insurance company may argue herniated discs may occur through time even if you’re not in an accident. If you have a disk herniation, and you have pain running down your arms, your legs, that typically is worth more than if you do not have any pain running down your arms or legs. In fact, I know a personal injury attorney who took a herniated disc case to trial.
And in his case, the herniated disc was not pressing on the spine or the nerve. In that case, the jury did not find that his client had a permanent injury. So they awarded him zero for pain and suffering, and that can happen in Florida. In fact, in most Florida personal injury auto cases, you need a permanent injury to even get one cent or more for pain and suffering. After that trial, he said he would never take another herniated disc case to trial if the herniated disc was not pressing on the spinal cord or the nerve.
91k herniated disc pain and suffering settlement values
I settled a herniated disc car accident case where I estimate that the insurance company paid around $91,000 for the pain and suffering component of this case. I believe the reason why they paid so much money was because there were several people involved competing for a minimal policy limit, which put pressure on the insurance company to pay.
If you have epidural steroid injections or facet block injections, that typically increases the value of a herniated disc case. Now let’s look at the injuries that typically lead to the smallest settlements.
Which injury cases are worth the LEAST?
That is basically whiplash, where your neck goes forward and backwards, and you say that you have neck pain, or if you have lower back pain or any type of pain, knee pain, pain in your ankle, pain in your shoulder, with no broken bone and with no tear. The pain and suffering settlement value of whiplash in these other general pain cases is typically between zero and $18,000 or so.
These cases are much tougher because the jury and the insurance company is just taking your word for you saying that you’re injured. All things equal, the settlement value of your pain and suffering is higher if you took an ambulance to the hospital. This is the car from a $25,000 car accident settlement that I had, where my client had a CT scan of her neck at the hospital.
An ambulance did take her to the hospital. And she complained of pain in her nose, chest and hips, but she had no broken bones. She didn’t tear anything, and she didn’t have any other serious injuries. AAA Insurance Company insured the other driver, and I estimate that they paid $18,000 for the pain and suffering component of the claim. So my client got over $9,600 in her pocket.
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In another whiplash case, my client, Caesar, was driving his vehicle, about to enter his apartment complex when another vehicle rear ended him. Airbags deployed in his vehicle. An ambulance took him to the hospital. You can see a C-collar on his neck here while he was at the hospital. He had whiplash. He did not have any MRIs in this case.
Generally speaking, if you have MRIs, that can increase the full value of pain and suffering, ’cause they may discover something wrong in your spine or other part of your body. And I estimate that Geico paid about $13,900 for the pain and suffering component of the claim. To learn how to increase your chances of getting the highest settlement in the shortest amount of time.
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