Wrist/Hand Injury Claims in Car, Truck, Motorcycle, Bike and Pedestrian Accident Cases in Florida

Broken wrist, hand, forearm in castAnother driver’s negligence may cause you to suffer a wrist or hand injury in Florida.  If so, you may be entitled to get compensation for your damages.

This article focuses on Florida car, truck, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents that cause wrist or hand injuries.  I wrote a separate article about Florida slip, trip and fall accidents that cause wrist injuries.

You must understand the anatomy of the wrist if you want to maximize the value of a wrist injury case.  Below is a diagram of the hand and wrist.

ulnar styloid, distal radius

The most common type of wrist fracture is through the end of the radius bone of the forearm, which is a distal radius fracture. Approximately fifty percent of distal radius fractures occur in association with an ulnar styloid fracture.

Distal radius fractures often require casting or surgery, both of which increase the full value of a personal injury case.  An ulnar styloid fracture generally does not require treatment.

However, when the joint between these bones, the distal radioulnar joint (or DRUJ), is unstable, the ulnar styloid may require independent treatment.

This increases the full value of a Florida injury case.  Most distal radius fractures with associated ulnar styloid fractures happen without DRUJ instability.

A recent study concluded that patients who had distal radius fractures, did not have a worse outlook by the occurrence or absence of an ulnar styloid fracture.

Internal fixation (surgery)

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

Over 86 Important Factors that affect the amount of money you may get in a Florida wrist injury case.

Factors you Know. Ones you don't
Over 86 factors may affect a Florida wrist injury settlement value.

In Florida, the full value, that I use as a starting point only, 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 component may be upwards of $150,000.

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.

 

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.

Full 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: $200,000 Settlement for a woman who had wrist surgery.  My client was driving her car.

Another car ran a red light and crashed into my client’s vehicle.  The accident was in Miami, Florida.   She had plates and screws put in her distal radius (wrist).

The full value of an intersection accident settlement may be worth than the typical rear end collision because the former has more jury appeal (more “exciting”).

USAA insured the at-fault driver.

USAA
USAA

Old Dominion Insurance Company insured the employer of the at-fault driver.  Old Dominion is part of The Main Street America Group.

Main Street America Group

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.

GEICO

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 car passenger who had wrist surgery after a T-bone accident.

Allstate insured the driver who received a ticket for failure to yield the right of way.

Allstate.

State Farm insured the driver of the car within which my client was a passenger.

State Farm Insurance

The crash was in Miami, Florida.

 

How Much is Wrist Surgery Worth in a Personal Injury Case against the United States in Florida?

If you have a tort case against the United States (in Florida), you will not get a jury trial.  A judge will decide how much your case is worth.

 

My Scapholunate Ligament Tear Settlements:

My Actual Case: $10,000 Settlement for a tear in the central and volar portions of the scapholunate ligament.  The scapholunate ligament is in the wrist.

Another car hit my client’s vehicle.  It occurred in Miami, Florida.  Nationwide was the BI insurer.

They paid the policy limits of $10,000.

Value of Wrist Sprains from Florida Accidents

The full value of a the pain and suffering component of a wrist sprain is not high if there was little treatment.

My actual case: $25,000 settlement for a client who claimed that a car crash caused his wrist pain.  Another driver was cited for careless driving.

My client also complained of pain in his shoulder, neck, back, knees and ankles.  The careless driver was uninsured.  My client had uninsured motorist (UM) coverage with USAA.

USAA paid $25,000.  The accident happened in South Florida.

 

My actual case$10,000 Settlement.  A driver crashed into our client’s car in Hollywood, Broward County, Florida.

The other driver left the accident scene.  A tow truck removed our client’s car from the accident scene.

Our client was injured.  An ambulance transported her to Memorial Regional Hospital in Broward County, Florida.

A doctor diagnosed with her with a sprained wrist.  Her wrist pain went away.

He also diagnosed with her back, neck pain and headaches.  Our client had uninsured motorist (UM) insurance with American Vehicle Insurance Company.

They have since changed their name to Federated National Insurance Company.  They are based in Sunrise, Broward County, Florida.

They have a reputation as being below average in paying Florida personal injury claims.  We made a UM injury claim with her insurance company.

They paid the $10,000 policy limits.  All the letters that her UM carrier sent to us had their name listed as Superior Adjusting, Inc.

Our client had Personal Injury Protection (PIP) through her auto insurance policy.  Her PIP paid $10,000 of her medical bills.

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 (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.

 

 

Pain and Suffering Damages if Someone’s Carelessness in a Florida Car or Truck Crash Caused Your Wrist or Hand Injury

If someone’s negligence caused your hand or wrist injury in a Florida car or truck crash, you may be able to get money for pain and suffering.

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

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)

Comparative Fault. Plaintiff vs. Defendant. 50% on each.

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.

Should You Hire A Lawyer if Someone’s Carelessness Caused Your Wrist Injury in a Florida Accident?

See if you know the purpose behind every question on this detailed motor vehicle accident questionnaire.

If you do understand the reason why every one of those hundreds of questions are being asked, you should immediately hire a lawyer.  There are over 11 reasons to hire a Florida accident lawyer.

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.

Did someone’s carelessness cause your hand or wrist injury in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise or boat? 

See Our Settlements

Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to car accidents, truck accidentsmotorcycle accidentsdrunk driving (DUI) accidentspedestrian accidents, drunk driving accidentstaxi accidentsbicycle accidents, and much more.

We want to represent you!

Our Miami law firm represents people anywhere in Florida if someone’s carelessness caused their injuries in car accidents, truck accidentsmotorcycle accidents, bike accidents, drunk driving crashespedestrian accidents, accidents involving a Uber or Lyft Driverand many other types of accidents.

We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida.  If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.

Call Us Now!

Call us now at (888) 594-3577 to find out for FREE if we can represent you. We answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

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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 will be public. This includes the name that you enter. I only represent people who were hurt 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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