Wrist/Hand Injury Settlement Values in Florida & Cruise Ship Accidents

Wrist Hand Injury Broken Fractured Settlements Accident FloridaIn Florida, the full value, that I use as a starting point, of the pain and suffering component of for a hand or wrist fracture (without surgery) as a result of an accident due to someone else’s negligence is approximately $35,000 to $70,000 assuming that it heals well and there is little disability.  If you have surgery to your broken hand, and hardware is put inside (open reduction internal fixation), the full value for pain and suffering is $150,000 and upwards.

Below is a picture of internal fixation to repair fractures of the radius and ulna.  The radius and ulna are the 2 large bones of the forearm.  The end toward the wrist is called the distal end.

Internal fixation of the radius & ulna
Internal fixation of the radius & ulna

There are over 39 Important Factors that affect whether you may get this amount of money or whether you will get any money at all.

When I say “full value” of pain and suffering, I am only referring to pain and suffering and not referring to other damages that may be recoverable such as lost wages, medical bills or punitive damages.

Some of this article does not apply if you only have a Florida workers compensation claim.  This article does apply to the personal injury portion of your claim if you are hurt while working and you also have a personal injury claim.

Full Value of pain and suffering component of broken wrist (no surgery) 

The low-end ($35,000) of the range is for a wrist fracture that heals within a few weeks (e.g. 6 weeks or so), if you receive a little bit of physical therapy (PT), and if you have little to no permanent impairment (injury) or limitations.

The higher end ($70,000) of the range is for injuries to the dominant wrist, serious future limitations on the use of your wrist or continuous serious pain, or a longer treatment period.

The above values are the actual values that I use as a starting point for the full value of the pain and suffering component of a wrist fracture.  I use those values in my Florida injury and car accident settlement calculator. However, I strongly suggest that you do not value your case based on an online settlement calculator.

 

Radius
Radius

 

My Actual Case: $35,000 Settlement without a lawsuit for a child who suffered a wrist fracture (distal radius fracture) when she fell of a set of stairs due to a loose handrail.  An image of the radius is below.  Scottsdale Insurance insured the company that owned and rented out the portable bathroom.

My Actual Case:  $10,000 Settlement for a fractured wrist for a man who was hit by a car while on a golf cart. He was working at the time of the accident so workers’ compensation paid his medical bills. The limit of liability insurance for the driver and owner of the car that hit my client was $10,000.

Value of broken wrist with surgery ($150,000 and up)

The low-end of the range is for a wrist fracture with hardware (plate and screws) that is surgically inserted into your hand, if there are no or little complications to your treatment, if you receive a little bit of physical therapy (PT), and if you have little to no permanent impairment (injury) or limitations. The value for pain and suffering increases if you have serious future limitations on the use of your wrist or continuous serious pain, or a longer treatment period.

Once again, the amounts that I have given for the starting point of the value of pain and suffering mentioned above is in addition to your economic damages (medical bills, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity).

Hand or Wrist Fracture with surgery (My settlements)

Please note that all settlements on this page are before deduction for attorney’s fees and expenses. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.

My Actual Case:  $445,000 Settlement for man who was hit by a truck.  He had one surgery to insert hardware in his fractured finger and another surgery to remove the hardware. He also had surgery to repair his lower leg fracture (tibia plateau) fracture.  The tibia fracture – not the finger fracture – was responsible for the majority of this settlement amount.  Chartis insured the truck.

My Actual Case: $210,000 Settlement where my client fell from a loose booth at a restaurant in North Miami Beach, Florida.  He fractured his scaphoid (bone in the wrist) and had 2 surgeries to repair it.  A scaphoid fracture can be seen in the image below.

wrist fracture - scaphoid

My Actual Case: $200,000 Settlement for a woman who had wrist surgery after another car ran a red light and crashed into my client’s vehicle that she was driving in Miami, Florida. She had plates and screws put in her distal radius (wrist).

Intersection accident settlements are generally higher than rear end settlements because the former has more jury appeal (more “exciting”). USAA insured the at-fault driver and Old Dominion (Main Street America Group) insured the employer of the at-fault driver.

Below is the type of plate and screws that were inserted into her arm.

Titanium plate fixation broken wrist
Implant used for fixation of broken wrist.

A picture of the surgical site on my client’s forearm is below.

My Actual Case: $125,000 Settlement for a man who had surgery to his hand when another car cut him off and crashed into him in Miami, Florida. GEICO insured the at-fault car.  Dr. Jorge L. Orbay, M.D., who was paid through workers compensation, operated on my client and gave him a zero impairment rating.

My Actual Case:  $35,000 Settlement (Policy Limits) for a man who had surgery to his wrist after a T-bone accident. The driver who received a ticket for failure to yield the right of way was insured by Allstate Insurance.  State Farm insured the driver of the car within which my client was a passenger.  The crash was in Miami, Florida.

My Actual Case: Confidential Outcome for a woman who fractured the navicular bone in her wrist after she tripped on a curb at an apartment complex in Miami Beach, Florida.  She also fractured her hip and had surgery on it.  Her first complaints of wrist pain were about 3 weeks after the fall.

Value of carpal tunnel surgery ($25,000 to $50,000)

In Florida, in an accident caused by someone else, the settlement value of pain and suffering for carpal tunnel surgery is $25,000 and $50,000 but it depends upon the disability that you are left with.

Verdicts for Pain and Suffering for Hand/Wrist Injuries (Appeals)

To best understand the value of a wrist injury in an accident case, you should look at opinions issued by the district courts of appeal. If a defendant in a case thinks that the jury verdict is too high, he can ask the trial court to reduce it. If the trial court reduces it, and the injured person thinks that the judge should not have reduced the verdict, he can appeal. Jury verdicts are very useful, but appellate opinions are even more useful. Now let’s take a look at some awards.

Actual Case: $150,000 (not my case) in Pain and Suffering affirmed (approved) for an 82-year-old woman who fell in her condominium parking lot and suffered a broken wrist and some cuts to her face. She had surgery on her wrist and had physical therapy for 2 years. Her wrist continued to bother her, and she could not do certain things like cut vegetables or fruits.

The jury awarded her $300,000 in past and future pain and suffering but the appeals court reduced it to $150,000. The appeals court gave the following reasons for the reduction:

  • The woman was the only person to testify as to her pain and suffering. No other witnesses testified
  • She did not describe her injuries other than to say that she wore a temporary cast, had surgery on her wrist, and her wrist hurt during trial.
  • She did have difficult doing some things such as cutting fruits and vegetables.
  • No medical testimony was offered.
  • She did not discuss how long she was expected to live.
  • She did not testify much about her discomfort, either at the time of trial or at the time of the accident.

The above case is Azoulay v. Condominium Association of La Mer – Fla Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2012.

Actual Case (not mine): $276,000 jury verdict for pain and suffering alone for a 64 year-old woman whose injury was a fractured 5th metacarpal and mild clawing deformity. The cause of her injury was that she claimed to have tripped and fell on carpet that was wet and folded. The hotel claimed that the rug was not wet or folded.

Her attorney offered to settle but the hotel (or its insurer) did not accept the offer.  The total verdict was for $326,000. The jury found the woman to be 35% at fault for the accident. The verdict was in 2007. The case is Concepcion vs. Felcor Lodging Trust, Inc. d/b/a Embassy Suites Hotel.

My thoughts: The Plaintiff’s attorney claimed that he offered to settle this case for $115,000 with the hotel but the hotel rejected this offer. The jury basically said the case was worth $221,900 after the woman’s fault (probably for not looking where she was walking) was taken into account. I used the formula below to get to that number.

Value of case according to jury = Total Damages X (100% – woman’s % of fault in the accident)

Value of case according to jury= $326,000 x (65%)

Value of case according to jury= $211,900.

So the woman’s attorney offered to settle the case for $97,000 less than the value that the jury felt the claim was worth. This case is another example of the fact that claims adjusters for insurance companies or defense attorneys (for a hotel or other company or individual) do not always offer an amount equal to what a jury may award in your case.

Either the liability claims adjuster or the defense attorney misevaluated the case or the insurance company wanted to take a “We will make you take cases to trial” approach. Further below in #4, I briefly talk about which liability insurance companies are known for paying fair amounts to settle a case and which insurance companies offer a fraction of what a personal injury case is worth.

A liability claims adjuster (working for the insurance company) can be very persuasive and convincing. But just because he or she tells you that your demand is unreasonable does not mean that it is.

Actual Case (not mine): $100,000 in pain and suffering alone for an adult woman whose thumb was amputated (lost) as well as pieces of her hand when a Jaguar at a zoo bit her. The total verdict was for $139,498. The trial was in 2012. Russell v. Berens f/k/a Greene and Panther Ridge Conservation Center Inc.

Actual Case (not mine): $13,730 for pain and suffering alone for a grossly displaced right wrist fracture resulting in permanent injury when an adult woman skater fell at an unmarked construction site in Palm Beach County, Florida.  Past medical expenses were also awarded.

Actual case (not mine): $8,915 verdict for past pain and suffering for an unemployed 66 year-old woman who sustained an impact fracture to the wrist when she slipped and fell on oil on the floor at a Winn Dixie in Miami, Florida. The jury may have felt that the shopper’s injuries may not have been permanent because the jury did not award any money for future pain and suffering or for future medical bills.

The shopper was found 50% at fault for the accident. $7,085 was awarded for past medical bills. The verdict was in 2001. The case is Robbins vs. Winn-Dixie.

My thoughts:  The amount awarded for pain and suffering for this impact fracture of the wrist is below the average settlement range for wrist fractures in Florida accidents.  The shopper was found 50% at fault for the accident, which is in line with the saying “A jury in a slip and fall case on a shopper’s best day will place 50% fault on the shopper.”

Like most sayings, this one does not always apply but it is a good general rule of thumb. The shopper will get half of the total verdict because she was 50% at fault. As you can see from this case, in Florida, a shopper can still have a good case even if he or she is partially at fault in the accident.

How to Calculate How Much Money You May Get For a Wrist Fracture

You should look at several things to determine the amount of money that you may get for your wrist fracture from an accident or incident.

1. Insurance Coverage.

There needs to be insurance coverage – without an exclusion – or the at-fault party needs to have money to pay for your case.  Even if you have a fractured wrist, if the bodily injury liability auto insurer or business liability insurer denies coverage, you may not get any money.

2. Bodily Injury Liability Insurance, Business liability Insurance or Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Insurance.

These insurance coverages are optional in Florida. A driver or owner of a car does not have to have bodily injury (BI) liability coverage. You do not have to have uninsured motorist coverage. A business does not have to have business liability insurance.

Example #1

You are in a golf cart in Kendall – or any city in Florida — and a car hits you. Your non-dominant wrist is fractured. You are 85 years old and retired. The car backed up into you. You are taken to the hospital. Your out-of-pocket medical bills are $3,000. You get a little bit of physical therapy. The cast is removed after 6 weeks or so. You have little or no limitations, and little or no permanent injury.

Since you did not have surgery and you recovered quickly, the value of pain and suffering may be somewhere around $35,000 or so.

Case value = (Pain and suffering) + (Medical Bills) + (Lost Wages)

Case value = ($35,000) + ($3,000) + ($0)

Case value = approximately $38,000

Let’s assume that the owner of the car that hit you only as $10,000 in bodily injury (B.I.) liability coverage with Allstate Insurance Company. Because a Florida car owner may be liable for damages that a driver of his or her car causes, you can make a claim against the BI insurance.

The driver of the car does not have BI coverage.  You either did not own a car, or if you did own a car you did not purchase uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on the car.  You do not live with any resident relatives who have uninsured UM coverage on an automobile.  You are not otherwise an insured under UM coverage.

Even though your case may be worth $35,000 or so, you may only get the $10,000 BI limits from the car that hit you because that it is the only liability insurance that is available.  I settled a similar case for $10,000 because that was all the liability insurance that was available.

My client did not have UM coverage. I think I would have been able to get more money if there was more liability insurance.

3. Comparative Negligence (Fault)

The value of your case will be reduced by your comparative negligence (your fault), if any.

Example #2

Let’s say that you are speeding in Miami — or any city in Florida — and another car fails to yield the right of way and hits you. Let’s assume that the other car is 60% at fault and you are 40% at fault.  Let’s assume that the owner of the car that hit you only has $10,000 in bodily injury (B.I.) liability coverage and the driver has $30,000 in liability coverage.

Because a Florida car owner may be liable for damages that a driver of his or her car causes, you can make a claim against the BI insurance. You can also make a claim against the driver’s BI insurance.

Your out-of-pocket medical bills are $3,000. You get a little bit of physical therapy.  You are retired. The cast is removed after 6 weeks or so. You really don’t have limitations – or you have little limitations – or permanent injury.

Since you do not have many limitations, the value of your pain and suffering may be $35,000. If you are speeding and are 40% comparatively negligent, the value of your claim is reduced by 40%.

For simplicity, I will use the abbreviation of P & S for pain and suffering.

Value = [(P & S) + (Medical Bills)] – {[(P & S) + (Medical Bills)] X (% your fault)}

Value of Case = {[($35,000) + ($3,000)] – {[($35,000) + ($3,000)]} X .4)}

Value of Case = [38,000] – [$15,200]

Value of Case = $12,800

4. Insurance Company

If you take your case to trial, your case value is not dependent on the insurance company that is ultimately paying your claim. But the reality is that most cases settle because each case has a settlement range.  If both sides fairly evaluate the claim, they should agree upon the settlement range.

The insurance company that you are dealing with has an impact on the settlement offers that you receive.  Different liability insurers have a different reputations in the amounts that they offer to settle bodily injury claims.

5.  Case Example

Michelle’s dominant wrist was separated in a car accident in Miami or anywhere in Florida. The other driver has $10,000/$20,000 per person/per accident in BI coverage.  Michelle has $25,000/$50,000 in stacked UM coverage.

The other driver owns a business.  The orthopedic doctor told Michelle that he recommends that a metal plate (and screws) be inserted into her wrist to fix her wrist is she wants 70-90% of the use of her wrist again.  Michelle is a nurse and now cannot work.

The other insurance company of the at fault party has issued Michelle a 10k check, but she is hesitant because she does not think that the 10k and her UM coverage will be enough for my surgery, lost wages, etc.

What should Michelle do?

PIP Coverage

If Michelle’s PIP is not exhausted and lost wages were elected on the PIP policy, then she may want to consider sending a written request to her PIP insurer that they reserve the remaining PIP to pay for her lost wages and loss of earning capacity.

Bodily Injury Coverage

She should also look for any additional parties to make a claim against who may be responsible for the crash.  Hopefully Michelle will be able to discover additional BI coverage.  If you are unable to discover additional BI coverage, then you should send a letter which asks the responsible parties to complete an affidavit which asks questions which may help you discover additional insurance.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Michelle should be sure to send all her medical bills and records (and any other documentation that supports her case) to the UM insurance claims adjuster so that the UM carrier can begin evaluating her case.

Warning! If Michelle ultimately chooses to settle her case with the BI insurer, she should be sure to comply with Florida law by giving her UM insurer a chance, in writing via certified mail, to match the BI insurer’s $10,000 offer and preserve its subrogation rights, or in the alternative waive its subrogation rights.

If Michelle fails to send this written notification and settles her injury claim with the BI insurer, she may lose her right to make a UM claim for the $25,000 in stacking coverage.

Michelle should also check to see if she is an insured under any other auto insurance policies that provide UM coverage.

Health Insurance

Michelle should be sure to send the health company proof that her Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is exhausted, if and when it is exhausted. This will expedite her health insurance paying her medical bills.  If the health insurance company does not have proof that the PIP coverage is exhausted, then they may deny benefits.

Her health insurance company may have a lien on Michelle’s injury settlement, but it will depend on several factors.

Warning! If Michelle’s health insurer has a valid lien on the settlement and she fails to pay them, they can deny paying her medical bills.

Disability Insurance

Hopefully Michelle has short term and/or long term disability insurance which may pay, usually 50% to 60%, of her salary if she cannot work.  Her disability insurer may have a lien on Michelle’s injury settlement, but it will depend on several factors.

Warning! If Michelle’s disability insurer has a valid lien on the settlement and she fails to pay them, they may be able to deny paying a certain amount up to the limits of her future disability benefits.

6. Choosing the right hand surgeon

Choose the right hand surgeon may be a huge factor in a possible settlement. This is a map of hand surgeons in Florida who are patient advocates and will not try to destroy an injury case. Here are the names:

  • Felix Freshwater, MD (East Kendall/Miami-Dade County)
  • Robert Moya, MD (Miami)
  • Dr. John Wilkerson, MD (South Miami/Coral Gables)
  • Jaqueline Redondo, MD
  • Phillip B Cummings, MD
  • Harris Gellman, MD
  • Kenneth J. Easterling, MD
  • Alexander Krawiecki, MD
  • Roberto J Acosta, MD (West Palm Beach)

You should be sure to always give your health insurance card, if you have one, to the doctor with whom you treat. If you were in an auto accident, then in most cases you should also give your auto insurance card to the hand doctor.

Takeaway

There are many factors that affect that value of your wrist fracture case.  Every case is different, and one factor can greatly change the value of your case.  I have just skimmed the surface here.

Were you injured in an accident?

Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to car accidents, truck accidentsslip or trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, cruise ships accidents and much more.

We represent people injured anywhere in Florida in car accidentsslip and falls, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, cruise ship accidents and many other types of accidents.

We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.

Call us now at (888) 594-3577 to Get a Free Consultation.  There are No Fees or Costs Unless We Recover Money. Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. We speak Spanish. We invite you to learn more about us.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.

I will not become your attorney by you leaving a comment. There is a time limit to file a lawsuit. All comments are posted anonymously but will be public.   I only can represent you if your injury happened in Florida or on a cruise ship; or if the injured person lives in Florida or a family member (in the case of a death) lives in Florida. This is because I am only licensed in Florida.

Comments

  1. Person who Injured hand Due to Accident on the Job says

    do you recommend getting a 2nd medical opionion when dealing with a injury to hand thumb due to accident on the job

    recived surgery but still cannot move thumb an feel I was put on partial disability able to lift 5 ibs told to go back to work when not capable

    • Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer says

      Dear Person who Injured hand Due to Accident on the Job,

      Thank you for your question! I am sorry to hear that you were injured. I assume that you were injured in Florida, which is where I am licensed to practice. This is not legal advice. I am not your attorney.

      I would get a 2nd medical opinion if I did not feel comfortable with the doctor’s opinion, such as in your case when you are being told to go back to work even if you don’t feel that you are able. Unfortunately, the doctors who are hired by workers compensation insurers may minimize injuries and state that you have no restrictions even if you are injured.

      You may also have a third party personal injury claim against someone whose negligence may have caused your injury. If you are looking to hire an attorney, call me now at (888) 594-3577 to Get a Free Consultation. If you have another question, feel free to ask me anything that you wish.

      There is a time limit to file a lawsuit.

  2. Person who shattered wrists while working says

    I had a terrible accident 3 months ago while working,ended up shattering both wrists and severing a tendon in my knee,i was rushed to hospital where i underwent a four hour operation to put me back together with pins a bolts.The doctor has told me that my hands will not be the same and forced to stop working.The pain was unbearable for 10 weeks,ive been attending physio therapy for the 8 weeks now and have a long way to go she says.What should i expect in compensation ty.

    • Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer says

      Dear Person who shattered wrists while working,

      Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that you had this devastating accident. My answer assumes that your incident occurred in Florida – which is where I am licensed to practice – or on a cruise ship. I am not your attorney. There is a time limit to file a lawsuit.

      In Florida, if you are injured while working, then you may be entitled to benefits.

      You may also have a 3rd party claim for damages against someone – other than your employer – whose negligence caused the accident. Since you have not given me sufficient facts to determine if someone else is responsible for your accident, then I will not get into talking about money for pain and suffering here.

      Feel free to ask me any follow up questions or if you are looking to hire a lawyer you can call our office at 888-594-3577 anytime.

  3. Person with wrist fracture from work accident says

    Hello,
    I was injured during training on the 2nd day of work. My wrist was fractured and I had surgery the next day to repair my wrist and install a metal plate and screws. I have been out on WC since the injury on 11-05-13. What type of settlement can I receive? Can I be compensated for pain and suffering? I appreciate any response.

    • Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer says

      Hello Person with wrist fracture from accident on 2nd day of work,

      I am sorry to hear that you were injured. I am only licensed to practice law in Florida, so my response only applies if your injury occurred in Florida. I will not become your attorney by giving you a response.

      It seems like you have a significant injury. You can check out this article that I wrote on What Benefits May Injured Workers Get in Florida? Although not the norm, in some instances, you may be able to be compensated for pain and suffering by your employer. It may depend on the cause of your accident. I really need to know how the accident happened, in detail, to be more specific.

      Did someone’s – other than employer – negligence cause your injury? If a 3rd party’s negligence or intentional act caused your injury, you may have a claim for pain and suffering against that 3rd party.

      I hope that you feel better. Feel free to reply with any other questions or call me at 888-594-3577 to get a free consultation anytime if you want to hire an attorney. We accept cases throughout the entire state of Florida. There are no attorney fees or costs unless we recover money.

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