If you broke your lower leg in an accident in Florida, and some else caused your accident, you may want to know how much your case is worth. When I use the words “lower leg”, I am referring to the 2 bones in your lower leg: the tibia and the fibula. I am not referring to settlement values in Florida for pain and suffering for a broken ankle or a fractured knee. You can also learn more about settlement values in Florida for pain and suffering for different areas of the body.
When most people ask me how much compensation they may get for their case, I tell them that it depends upon many factors. The factor that most people don’t know is the pain and suffering component. Most of us have a pretty good idea of how much we paid in out-of-pocket medical bills, and how much money we lost from being unable to work. Keep in mind that if you are injured while working in Florida and nobody other than employer is at fault, most of the time you cannot get money for pain and suffering.
The biggest concern that most people who are injured in an accident have is getting their medical bills paid. In Florida, your medical bills are paid differently if you were in a car accident as opposed to other types of accidents such as a slip and fall. The same is true in regards to getting your lost wages paid from a car accident in Florida as opposed to another type of accident.
The basic settlement formula in any personal injury case is:
Settlement = Out-of-pocket medical bills + Lost wages + Pain and suffering
A starting point for the full value of a pain and suffering for a lower leg (tibia or fibula) break or fracture without surgery is $35,000 – $75,000. Please keep in mind that you should add the amount of pain and suffering to your economic damages (out of pocket medical bills and lost wages). Tibia Plateau (top part of the tibia; below the knee) fractures are generally worth more than a simple broken tibia.
Now, an insurance company or big company (like Publix, Walgreens, Winn Dixie, etc.) may end up paying you much more than $75,000 in pain and suffering if you are left with a bad disability such as a limp or if a child’s fracture results in a growth plate injury. If your legs are not equal in height after your broken tibia, this may also increase the value of your case. But if the party (driver, owner of car, store owner, etc.) who caused your accident has no insurance or money to pay you, you may get nothing.
If you have surgery, the value of pain and suffering generally increases significantly. Keep in mind that this is just a starting point, and it can be reduced by many things that can hurt your case.
My actual case: $325,000 Settlement for surgery on a fractured tibia when a pedestrian was hit by a car in Coconut Grove (Miami-Dade County), Florida). My client was a foreigner. My client was still able to ski after he recovered from this crash so his injury was limited.
Actual case (not mine): $800,000 in pain and suffering for a 6 year-old-boy who had permanent growth plate damage on a tibia, arthritis in his knee and would need future surgery. As a result of the growth plate damage, there was a 4-6 inch difference in the length of his legs. The boy’s parent(s) sued a doctor for failing to property diagnose and treat his condition, failing to speak with an infectious disease doctor, failing to perform surgery to clean out the fracture, and failing to prescribe antifungal medication.
Because the gross (total) settlement was greater than $50,000, court approval of the settlement was needed. I am almost certain that the minor’s net settlement (after all attorney’s fees, costs and bills) was greater than $15,000, so a minor guardianship of the property was also needed.
Actual case (not mine): $600,000 in Pain and Suffering in 2001 for a 55 year old female realtor who suffered a comminuted tibial plateau fracture with ORIF, resulting in cellulitis. Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and deep underlying tissues. She said that she was cut off by a scooter (phantom vehicle) and she sued State Farm under her uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
My thoughts: I am unsure as to what extent the cellulitis complicated her recovery. Therefore, it’s tough to know how much of the pain and suffering award was for the tibia fracture and how much of the award is for the cellulitis. The jury awarded $200,000 for future medical bills so there is future treatment that the Plaintiff may need or needs. I have no idea what type of treatment that is and what her limitations, if any, are.
Actual case (not mine): $580,000 in pain and suffering in 2005 for a 48 year old man who broke his lower leg (tibia and fibula) and required surgery (ORIF). He also had arthritis and had a mild to moderate limp and his leg remains swollen. He tripped and fell over a skateboard that was on the floor at the Sports Authority in Broward County, Florida. He was approximately $119,000 in past pain and suffering and $459,800 in future pain and suffering.
Actual case (not mine): $550,000 in Pain and Suffering in 2001 for a man who had a comminuted fracture to tibial plateau, and had a fibula fracture which required 2 surgeries. He had a small limp that may require a future surgery. He tried to grab an item on a shelve at Costco (in North Miami Beach, Florida) and many other items fell on him causing him to strike the floor.
Actual case (not mine): $455,000 in Pain and Suffering in 2003 for a 77-year-old man who suffered a tibial plateau fracture and arthritis when he was hit by a forklift at food market. His wife received $20,000 for loss of consortium.
Actual case (not mine): $382,000 for Pain and Suffering in 1999 for a 31-year-old man who suffered a tibial plateau fracture of his leg requiring ORIF. He then had a second surgery to remove the hardware that was put in his leg. His doctor said that he had an excellent result but that he had damage to top of the lower leg (tibial head). His doctor said that he would probably require a total or semi-arthroplasty by the time he was 50 years old. The doctor hired by the hotel said that he would not need a total knee replacement, and that the worst case scenario is that he would need an arthroscopy to remove loose cartilage in his knee.
He broke his leg when he was knocked over by a man who broke into his hotel room in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The hotel admitted that it was at fault on the morning of trial.
Actual case (not mine): $292,000 in Pain and Suffering
A child and her family were living in an apartment building in Hialeah, Florida. The child was injured when a structure that was above the electric meter fell on the child. The child’s parents sued the apartment complex for failing to use reasonable steps to maintain the property. The apartment complex claimed that it was not liable and said that the girl’s brother leaped and grabbed the overhang and that was the cause of her injury. The apartment complex also said that it had no notice of the dangerous condition. The jury verdict found the apartment complex 100% responsible.
Actual case (not mine): $225,000 for a 56 year old woman in 1989 who had a tibial plateau fracture and 3 broken ribs. She was a passenger in a car in Tampa when the car was hit by a concrete truck owned by the Defendant. She was awarded $100,000 for past pain and suffering, and $125,000 for future pain and suffering. The future pain and suffering was intended to give compensation for the remainder of her life expectancy which is 25 years (at $5,000 per year.)
My thoughts: The pain and suffering for the ribs make up a small portion of this award as compared to the tibial fracture. I found it interesting that the jury verdict did not mention whether the Plaintiff recovered any money for medical bills.
What injury settlements do you know of where someone broke his or her leg? Please share the details with me in the comments section below.
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Image Credit: By Anatomography