If someone’s negligence in Florida caused your fractured hip, you may want to know how much your case is worth. The first thing to look at is whether there is any liability insurance that may pay for your damages. If there is no liability insurance, you may be out of luck unless you are dealing with a large company that is self insured (such as Publix, Walgreens, Walmart, etc.).
When trying to estimate the value of your hip fracture, the piece of the puzzle that most people do not know is the value of the pain and suffering component of the claim.
In Florida, you may the right to get damages for pain and suffering and economic damages (e.g. medical bills, lost wages, etc.) if you are injured in an accident caused by someone else. Over 39 factors can affect the value of your Florida injury case.
One of which is your fault – if any – in the accident. So, if you are 50% at fault because you did not cross the street in the crosswalk, your total damages will be reduced by 50%.
Some of this article does not apply if you only have a Florida workers compensation claim. However, this article does apply to your personal injury case if you are hurt while working and you also have a personal injury claim.
There is no guarantee that you get any money for your case because many factors affect settlement value.
Hip Fracture Values
In Florida, I believe the starting point in terms of full value of pain and suffering component a hip fracture without surgery is between $50,000- $75,000. This is the amount that I use in my Florida injury and car accident settlement calculator, but please do not rely on a settlement calculator for a Florida injury case.
The lower end ($50,000) of the range represents a very good healing and little, if any, resultant disability. The higher end ($75,000) of the range represents a poorer recovery and longer treatment. If you have a really bad hip fracture, the value can easily exceed the $75,000 mentioned here.
Hip Surgery Values
If you have surgery (ORIF) on your hip, the starting point for the “full value” of pain and suffering component is higher than without surgery. For a typical hip fracture with internal fixation, the range for the pain and suffering component may be between $200,000 and $700,000 in Miami-Dade County.
The upper end of the pain and suffering component is $700,000 which may happen if you get an excellent insurance company when it comes to paying fair value for personal injury claims. In Broward County, Florida it likely that the low end of the settlement value for pain and suffering may be less than $250,000.
Please keep in mind that the $200,000 to $700,000 amount that I have referenced for the pain and suffering component of the claim does not apply if the injured person needs one or more future hip replacements.
ORIF is the insertion of metal plates and screws. As you can see the range for the value of a hip fracture with surgery is quite larger than a hip fracture without surgery. The lower end ($200,000) of the range represents a very good healing and little, if any, resultant disability.
The higher end ($700,000) of the range represents a poor recovery and longer treatment. If you have a really nasty hip fracture, or you are left with severe limitations, the value of pain and suffering can exceed the upper end ($700,000) of the range.
There is no guarantee that you will get these amounts, as there are many factors that affect each case.
I represented a lady who fractured her hip when she tripped and fell, in the courtyard of a friend’s apartment complex in Miami Beach. She had a rod inserted into her femur to repair her intertrochanteric hip fracture. The image of the CT scan at the top of this article shows the rod in her hip and leg after the surgery.
We sued the apartment complex. Due to confidentiality I cannot discuss the outcome of the case.
Hip Replacement Values
In a Florida injury claim, for a middle-aged person (fifty years old or so), if the need for a hip replacement was only caused by an “accident”, we use $300,000 to $400,000 as a starting point for the full value of the case (including medical bills).
If you are overweight and have had pre-existing degenerative joint problems in the hip for a long time before the incident, and there was no fracture or other major injury to your hip from this incident, then you will need to discount the full value of the case by difficulty with proving causation.
Keep in mind that the settlement ranges above are in addition to your damages for out-of-pocket medical bills and lost wages, but they do not take into account the many factors that affect the settlement value of a personal injury claim.
Hip Fracture Cases from Accidents in Florida and on Cruises
Let’s look at some past actual personal injury cases.
Trip and Fall on Change of Elevation on Royal Caribbean Cruise Causes Hip Fracture
See why a court let a passenger’s expert rely on standards/guidelines to show that a change of elevation on a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship was unreasonable and caused her fall and hip fracture with surgery.
Motorcyclist Gets Wins $4.3 Million for Hip Fractures
This isn’t my case. A 37-year-old male motorcyclist was awarded $4.3 million for comminuted pelvic fracture and fractures of the acetabulum (hip socket). He was in an accident.
He had surgery (open reduction internal fixation) with 3 screws inserted.
His treating orthopedic surgeon said that he will have increased traumatic arthritis of the injured hip.
The man’s treating orthopedic doctor said that because of his young age, he will need multiple hip replacement surgeries in the future. His physiatrist testified that he will need future medical treatment, therapy, pain medications and will have future medical expenses for multiple future surgeries.
The man’s complaints included chronic pain and disability, and a limp. His doctors said that he may need different types of pain control during his life, such as having a dorsal stimulator inserted into his body. Below is a picture of a spinal cord stimulator.
This case is CLIFFORD vs. DENIS. This verdict was in 2009 in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
My thoughts: This verdict shows that surgical hip fracture cases with multiple future surgeries can result in a large verdict such as this one.
Some doctors may believe that a relatively young person may need several future surgeries after they have screws put in their hip.
In this case, the man’s orthopedic doctor testified that he will have worsening arthritis of the injured hip. This isn’t always the case.
I have represented clients, in a hip fracture case or other surgical case, where the orthopedic doctor does not state that the patient will develop worsening traumatic arthritis of the injured hip.
It is my understanding that past and future medical bills were part of this verdict, but no claim for loss of future earnings was made.
Actual Case (Not my case): $550,000 for pain and suffering for an intertrochanteric femoral fracture where surgery was performed. An 89-year-old man fell when visiting a condominium in Hialeah, Florida.
He fell on water that had pooled in a tiled walkway that was outside of the condo unit. The condominium association argued that he had a 10 year history of issues with his knee before the accident.
The condo association argued that the problems that he was left with were caused by the injury that he had before this accident.
He said that there were streaks of water that looked like someone mopped the area before he fell. An employee of the condominium complex said that she had mopped and dried the hallway and no one complained of any falls.
They also argued that he stepped off the walkway onto the grass and tripped and fell when he was trying to get back onto the walkway.
He was also awarded $120,000 for medical expenses. The verdict was in 2000 in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The case is Sanchez v. Ady’s Condominium Association, Inc.
The condo association appealed. It did not win the appeal.
My thoughts: Above I said that he suffered an intertrochanteric femoral fracture. This is the same as an intertrochanteric “hip” fracture. In a slip and fall case against a condominium complex, you have to prove that the condo complex knew or should have known that water was on the floor before you fell and they failed to dry it before you fell.
In this case it seems that the man was able to do this because he testified that they were streaks of water that looked like someone had mopped the area shortly before the fall.
The jury apparently believed him and felt that the condo complex failed to put up a warning cone or make sure that the area was dry before he fell.
I am not sure whether the jury found that the man who fell was partially at fault for not looking where he was walking. If they did find him at fault, the total award would be reduced by his percentage of fault.
Actual Case (Not my Case): $525,000 for pain and suffering for a 77-year-old man with a four-part intertrochanteric and subtrochanteric hip fracture requiring open reduction with internal fixation of an intramedullary rod into the femur.
He was in the hospital for 2 weeks after the surgery. He then spent 3 weeks in a rehab facility.
The injured man’s doctor said that he injured his hip and worsened his pre-existing knee injury. There is now a 1/2 an inch difference in the length of his leg which causes him to walk with a Trendelenburg gait because of this incident.
The doctor testified that because of the change in his walking and the other stress on his knee it the knee became unsecure.
The condominium complex argued that he was told 2 years before this accident that he needed a total right knee replacement and the subject fall did not worsen his knee problems.
The accident happened when he tried to grab the handrail and it came loose in a common area of the condominium complex where he lived. He fell when he stepped on the first step.
Witnesses said that they had complained to the property management company for the condo association but they never fixed this issue.
The condo hired a metal expert who said that the condo had no way of knowing before the accident that this handrail was a problem. $250,000 of the award was for past pain and suffering and $275,000 was for future pain and suffering.
The verdict was in 2009 in Miami. The case is Schniadoski v. 5660 Collins Ave Condominium.
My thoughts: Since he was 77 years old at the time of the accident, he was probably expected to live another 5 years or so after the accident. That means that the jury awarded him $55,000 per year for the rest of her life. She was awarded $100,000 per year for past pain and suffering.
He sustained a very bad hip fracture and he received the higher end of the range that I mentioned above. The fact that he spent 2 weeks in the hospital and then 3 weeks in rehab shows that the hip fracture was bad.
Also, hip injuries generally take longer to heal if you are older. Thus, there is more pain and suffering associated with the hip fracture.
The jury may also have been bothered with the condo association for not admitting that they received complaints of the handrail being loose before the accident.
Learn more about Florida condominium accident cases.
Actual Case (Not my Case): $140,000 in Pain and Suffering for a lady who had a hip fracture which required internal fixation (surgery) after she slipped and fell on a substance on the floor in a department store where she was shopping.
She argued that the substance was on the floor for a long time before her fall; therefore the store did not properly maintain its premises. She recovered $32,000 in past medical bills and past lost wages of $32,000.
Actual Case (Not my Case): $96,000 Verdict for Pain and Suffering alone for a female shopper who fractured her hip when she tripped over an object (a stocking cart) in a Publix Supermarket in Miami, Florida.
She had walked into the produce section at Publix Supermarket to remove an item from one of the refrigerators. She tripped and fell over a stock float.
Now I want to give some examples so that you can see how much a broken hip case may be worth.
Example 1 – Hip fracture with surgery (you are not at fault)
You are a pedestrian crossing the street in a crosswalk in Hialeah, Florida – or any city in Florida. A car hits you. You fracture your hip and need surgery. You treat with a doctor for over 1 year and still have pain. Let’s say the value of your pain and suffering is $250,000.
Let’s assume that your out-of-pocket medical bills are $50,000 and your lost wages are $20,000. The total value of your case would be:
Settlement= Out-of-pocket medical bills + Lost Wages + Pain and Suffering
Settlement = $50,000 + $20,000 + 250,000
Example 2 – Hip fracture (no surgery and you are 50% at fault)
Same facts as example 1 except that you were not in a crosswalk. Let’s assume that you are 50% at fault.
Settlement= (Out-of-pocket medical bills + Lost Wages + Pain and Suffering)/2
Settlement = ($50,000 + $20,000 + 200,000)/2
So you can see that one factor, such as your fault in the accident, can cut the value of your case in half.
Example 3 – Hip fracture and Femur Fracture
You slip and fall on a substance on the floor in a Publix Supermarket in Miami-Dade County, Florida. You fracture your hip and your femur and you need surgery on both. You have hardware (plates, rods and/or screws) put in your hip and your femur. Assume you are 50 or so years old.
Assume the substance had one of the following characteristics which may help you prove that Publix should have known that it was on the floor before your fall: footprints, tracks, greasy, grimy, dirty, rotting, smudges, streaks, skid marks.
Most of the time, a supermarket will not offer you 100% of your damages when deciding how much to offer you in a slip and fall accident settlement.
As a starting point for settlement purposes of pain and suffering, I would say that the low-end of the range for “full value” of pain and suffering for the femur fracture with surgery (and hardware) in Miami-Dade County, Florida may be $250,000.
The low-end of the settlement value for the hip fracture is $250,000. So the low end of the full value of the pain and suffering in this case is $500,000.
You next have to factor in your fault in the accident. If you were 90% at fault for not paying attention then you may be entitled to 10% of the $500,000 which would be $100,000.
If you were 40% at fault for not looking where you were walking then you would be entitled to 60% of the $500,000 for pain and suffering.
You are also entitled to a percentage of your medical bills. If you were 90% at fault for not paying attention then you would be entitled to 10% of your medical bills. If you were 40% at fault for not looking where you were walking then you would be entitled to 60% of your medical bills.
Which Florida orthopedic doctors treat hip injuries?
There are many Florida orthopedic doctors who treat people who have hip fractures. The injured person wants an orthopedic doctor who is a patient advocate.
This means that they will give the claimant a fair shake. The victim does not want to go to a doctor who gets all of his expert work from a liability insurer.
It may be difficult to find a hip surgeon who takes Medicaid. One Miami orthopedic doctor who operates on hips and takes Medicaid is Dr. Fernando Villela Hernandez. He is at the University of Miami Medical Group.
Did someone’s carelessness cause your hip injury in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise or boat? Did you suffer another injury?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.