Many factors determine if you have a case if someone’s carelessness caused a neck injury in a Florida accident.
The two (2) most common object neck injuries are herniated discs and bulging discs. I want to take a look at each one of these
Herniated disc settlement values in Florida accidents
Learn more about Florida herniated disc accident cases.
If someone’s negligence caused your bulging disc in a Florida accident, learn more about the settlement value.
Whose carelessness may cause your neck injury in Florida?
Publix Supermarkets Accidents in Florida
As Florida’s largest employer, Publix’s negligence may cause a shopper’s or other person’s neck injury. Other supermarkets in Florida may also cause a neck injury. Below is a Publix neck injury case.
2013 Verdict (not my case): $70,000 for pain and suffering damages resulting from a fall at a Publix. It happened in Miami-Dade County. An adult female claimed C4-C6 herniations after she slipped and fell. She claimed that laundry detergent had spilled on the floor.
She claimed that Publix failed to keep the sales floor reasonably safe. She claimed that Publix failed to warn her of the dangerous condition. She claimed that Publix knew or should have known of the condition.
She claimed that the assistant store manager heard the detergent fall. She claimed he was cleaning the spill right before she came down the aisle and fell.
The jury found the injured lady 75% at fault. The jury also awarded $79,000 in past medical expenses, and $85,000 in future medical expenses. The date of the accident was 2008. Since she was 75% at fault.
Therefore, she is entitled to 25% of the total verdict. This means that the judgement is for approximately $58,500.
My thoughts: It seems like she had a good argument that Publix knew of the spill. It is often difficult to prove that Publix knew of a substance being on the floor before the shopper’s slip and fall. My understanding is that the Publix assistant manager was cleaning the spill when the shopper came down the aisle.
I assume that the jury felt that she was very careless for not walking more carefully after seeing the assistant manager cleaning a spill. This jury awarded a good amount of money for the pain and suffering damages for a herniated disc.
Date of Slip and Fall: August 2008. Dominguez v. Publix Super Markets.
Who pays medical bills if someone’s carelessness caused your neck injury in Florida?
Find out who pays the medical bills in a Florida car or truck accident if someone’s negligence caused your neck injury.
Florida Neck Injury Settlements and Verdicts
The recent trend has been for claims adjusters look at past Florida injury settlements for neck injuries when deciding how much to offer for the pain and suffering component of neck injury in a Florida accident case. Some Florida insurance companies use software to keep track of their past settlements.
They know how much they have offered for the pain and suffering component of a neck injury claim in a Florida accident. They may offer a similar amount so that their offers for the pain and suffering component remain consistent.
Ok, let’s discuss some of our settlements where someone’s carelessness caused our clients’ neck injuries.
My Neck Injury Settlements
My Actual Settlement: $100,000 Settlement (Gross) for a driver of car that t-boned an 18 wheeler tractor-trailer in Homestead, Florida (Miami-Dade County).
My client had a C5-C6 (neck) herniation. The truck cut off my client by making a left hand turn in front of my client.
The Florida traffic crash diagram is below.
Zurich Insurance Company insured the tractor trailer.
– My client’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on his own auto insurance policy paid $10,000 to his medical providers.
– All other bills were paid from the net settlement after my attorney’s fees and costs were taken.
My thoughts: I would describe Zurich as an above average company in terms of paying a fair amount for a personal injury claim. I think that State Farm Auto Insurance or United Automobile Insurance Company would have offered less to settle this case because they generally don’t pay as well as Zurich Insurance.
If this case would have gone to trial, my client would have had to prove that he had a permanent injury in order to get money for pain and suffering.
This is because my client was in a car in Florida. Having to prove a permanent injury in a car accident case in Florida is one of the things that can decrease the value of a settlement.
Zurich Insurance has two claims office locations in Florida. They are in Tampa and Orlando.
My case: $95,000 Settlement with GEICO.
A drunk driver hit my client. The careless driver was arrested for DUI.
My client was diagnosed with a herniated disc. GEICO insured the DUI driver.
Surgery was recommended but my client did not want to have surgery. My client did not miss any work as a result of this accident.
My thoughts: Cases where a drunk driver causes an accident are worth more than cases where the at-fault driver was simply careless. This is because a jury can award punitive damages in addition to general damages.
Juries often are bothered that a drunk driver caused an accident. Check out some of my Florida DUI accident settlements.
My actual case: $25,000 settlement for a client who claimed that a car crash caused his neck pain. Another driver was cited for careless driving.
USAA paid $25,000. The accident happened in South Florida.
My case: $20,000 Settlement for a woman who was rear ended by a car (insured with Progressive) in Miami, Florida whose driver was cited for reckless driving.
My client, a mother and wife, received chiropractic care for her personal injury.
An MRI of her neck revealed a disc protrusion (herniation) which indented on the ventral (spinal) cord.
She also had multilevel disc bulges. The chiropractor stated that she should meet with an orthopedic doctor to discuss having surgery. Her daughter and mother were also in her car. I also settled her daughter’s car crash claim for $10,000. (M.D.)
My actual case: $17,000 Settlement for a lady in her early 20’s after another driver rear ended her. She claimed the crash caused two herniated discs.
Learn more about this $17,000 Settlement for herniated discs from this Miami-Dade County, Florida car crash. State Farm and Liberty Mutual insured the negligent driver and car owner.
In Florida, a car owner is liable for a permissive driver’s negligence.
My actual case: $10,000 Settlement. A driver crashed into our client’s car.
The other driver left the accident scene. Our client was injured. An ambulance transported her to Memorial Regional Hospital in Broward County, Florida.
She had pain in her pelvis (hip), chest, thoracic spine (mid-back), lower back, shoulder, and head.
She treated with a doctor, who initially diagnosed her with:
- cervical sprain/strain with associated cervical somatic dysfunction
- thoracic sprain/strain with associated thoracic somatic dysfunction
- lumbar radiculitis with associated lumbar sprain/strain which is complicated by lumbar somatic dysfunction
- a wrist sprain/strain
- muscle spasm
She was given spinal adjustments, electrical muscle stimulation, moist heat, ice therapy and ultrasound to ease her pain. These therapies were used for pain control, anti-inflammatory and anti spasmodic effects.
She continued to have neck and back pain with pain going into her shoulders. She had occasional headaches. Her neck and back injuries did get less frequent and less intense.
Her cervical range of motion improved. However, she still had restricted range of motion.
In her lower back, she also had restricted ranges of motion. She had pain when she would rotate her back.
His final diagnosis was cervical sprain and strain injuries. He also diagnosed her with cervical radiculitis. Cervical radiculopathy is a problem that happens if a nerve in the neck is irritated as it leaves the spinal canal.
This condition generally occurs when a nerve root is being pinched by a herniated disc or a bone spur. Cervical radiculopathy (“pinched nerve”) can be caused by:
- Pinched nerve from a herniated disc; or
Pinched nerve from degeneration and bone spurs.
The chiropractor also diagnosed her with post traumatic cephalgia. Post traumatic means caused by trauma, in this case the car crash.
Cephalgia is a fancy word for a syndrome of headaches, also known as cluster headache or migrainous neuralgia. The chiropractor said the car accident caused her headaches.
The chiropractor also diagnosed her with a dorsolumbar sprain and strain. This is basically a lower back strain and strain.
The chiropractor said that she had soft tissue injuries.
She had uninsured motorist (UM) insurance with American Vehicle Insurance Company. We made a UM claim with her insurance company. They paid the $10,000 policy limits.
My actual case: $8,000 Settlement
Our client was standing in a car dealership parking lot in Miami-Dade County, Florida.. A mini van backed up and hit him at an idle speed.
Our client’s knees buckled and he fell to the ground. He complained of lower back pain.
A few months prior to this accident, he had knee surgery. Immediately after this accident, he complained of knee pain. He did not have any swelling in his knee.
Miami-Dade Fire rescue came to the scene. Our client walked to the ambulance stretcher. He was put on a backboard.
The paramedics put a neck collar on our client. They transported him to Homestead Hospital.
State Farm Insurance insured the driver.
The driver said that he barely hit our client. He said that if contact was made, it was at a very low-speed.
Our client received therapy for several months after the accident. The final diagnosis was:
- Lumbar sprain/strain
- Cervical sprain/strain (Resolved).
- Sprain/strain of the knee
- Contusion to the knee
- Residual Lumbalgia
- Knee injury complicated by prior injury and surgery
- Patellar Dysfunction
My actual case: $7,500 Settlement
For our client, a driver, who was injured. A hit and run driver hit his car and fled the scene.
About 1 month later, he had an MRI of the cervical spine. It showed a C5-C6 paracentral disk protrusion, moderate in size, compressing upon the thecal sac.
He treated for four months from the date of the accident. At the end of his treatment, the diagnosis was a lumbar strain.
I argued to the insurance company that punitive damages would be awarded since the negligent driver fled the accident scene.
An injured victim may be able to get punitive damages if the car that hits him or her leaves the accident scene.
The careless driver was insured with Metlife.
Appellate court says $10,000 for Pain and Suffering Only is Too Low – (Not my case)
An appellate court reviewed a jury’s verdict and found that awards of $5,000.00 for past and $5,000.00 for future noneconomic damages were shockingly inadequate in the face of uncontradicted evidence that the plaintiff had sustained two herniated discs, with accompanying undisputed past and future pain and suffering as the result of an accident.
The case is Figueredo v. Keller Indus., Inc., 583 So.2d 432 (Fla. 3d DCA 1991).
The court did say that “on the other hand, the supreme court has noted that not every verdict which raises a judicial eyebrow would shock the judicial conscience.” Laskey v. Smith, supra.
The appellate court in the above case said that $10,000 was too little to give someone who sustained two herniated discs. In that case, there was no doubt that the Plaintiff has sustained two herniated discs.
In most cases, the defense will argue that the Plaintiff’s (injured person’s) herniated disc(s) was not caused by the accident or incident in question. This can make a claim more difficult than if you had a broken knee,
The court also said that both sides agreed that the Plaintiff had pain and suffering before and after the trial. In many herniated disc cases, the doctor hired by the defense may say that the herniated disc that the Plaintiff had should not have caused any pain.
This “defense doctor” may also say that the Plaintiff will not have any pain in the future. The facts of the above case are unusual.
The moral of that case is that where the is no disagreement that the Plaintiff has 2 herniated discs, and that he or she has experienced pain and suffering and will continue to experience pain and suffering, the award of pain and suffering should be worth more than $10,000.
Below are Actual Verdicts or Settlements (Not my cases)
Now, I want to share some other actual jury verdicts and settlements where the Plaintiff had a herniated disc as a result of an accident in Florida. The cases below are not my cases.
Epidural Injections, Cervical discogram and discectomy and disc replacements
Actual Case: March 2014 (not mine): Approximately $1.2 Million dollar verdict for the pain and suffering damages component for a 40-year-old claimant in Orange County, Florida.
Plaintiff had no pre-existing neck issues. This was a two car collision in Florida with $1,500 in property damage to one car and approximately $4,500 in damage to the other car.
Plaintiff waited about one (1) week to get medical treatment, and later had a lower back and neck epidural injections, a cervical discogram, a cervical discectomy and a three (3) level disc replacement.
Claimant made a good recovery, with current complaints minor to moderate daily pain. Claimant was also awarded a large amount of past medical bills and lost wages.
Geico made a $200,000 proposal for settlement. The injured person made a proposal for settlement to Geico for $300,000, which Geico rejected.
My thoughts: This is a great result. The insurance company for the negligent driver argued, or could have argued, that the Plaintiff’s injuries were unrelated to the car crash.
They could have argued this because Plaintiff waited seven (7) days before the first medical visit. On the other hand, I settled a herniated disc case for $210,000 (also with shoulder surgery) and another one for $95,000 where my client also waited days to treat after the crash.
I have handled many herniated disc cases where my client waited several days to go to their first medical appointment following an accident in Florida. The insurer may have argued that a herniated disc on a forty (40) year old is a common finding.
On the flip side, I have settled herniated disc cases for $210,000, $100,000, $100,000, 95,000 and many others where my client was approximately forty (40) years old or older.
This case shows you that companies like Geico, who have funny commercials, can misevaluate the value of a case and/or refuse to offer the fair value. Car insurance companies, like Geico, sometimes get it wrong.
Herniated Disc Verdicts
Actual Case: $550,000 Verdict (Not my case) for Pain and Suffering only for an adult woman who suffered a herniated discs and osteophyte complex at C4-5, C5-C6, C6-C7, as well as pain in her tailbone when she slipped and fell on a clear substance on a stairway at a condominium building owned by the defendant.
It happened in Orange County, Florida. She said that the condominium association failed to inspect the stairway and fix the dangerous condition (the substance on the floor).
The condo association said that they did not know and that it was unreasonable for them to know of the alleged dangerous condition. Defendants also said that the woman did not provide notice to them of the condition of the stairway as required by Florida Statute Section 83.201.
The jury found the condo association 60% at fault and the woman 40% at fault.
My thoughts: The jury awarded a huge amount, $375,617, for past medical bills. That leads me to believe that there were surgeries. The jury awarded the woman almost $120,000 in pain and suffering for each herniated disc.
This is above the starting point that I believe fair for purposes settlement value for pain and suffering from a herniated disc in a Florida accident.
I have said before that the starting is between $25,000 and $50,000 for pain and suffering only. The case is Manzo v. The Sanctuary at Bay Hill Condominium Association, Inc.; Apogee Association.
Actual Case (Not mine) : $350,000 for Pain & Suffering in 2012 awarded by a jury for pain and suffering caused by a C4-C5 (neck) herniated disc. The injured man was a a 47-year-old male Palm Beach airline pilot who was rear ended while waiting for a traffic light.
Plaintiff was awarded $200,000 for past pain and suffering and $ 150,000 for future pain and suffering. The total verdict was over $1,000,000.
My thoughts: The defense hired a orthopedic doctor who said that the herniated disc was not caused by the accident and it was not a permanent injury. This is a common argument that a liability insurer makes in a herniated disc case.
Actual Case (not mine): $370,000 Verdict for Pain and suffering alone for a 57-year-old woman who had a 3 level cervical (neck) fusion, as well as surgery on her shoulder.
She had a herniated disc in her neck. She was injured at Home Depot in Vero Beach, Florida when a metal rack fell on her neck and shoulder.
She was awarded $150,000 in past pain and suffering, and $220,000 in future pain and suffering. Read more about this injury verdict against Home Depot. The case is Simone v. Home Depot. The verdict was in 2008.
Home Depot most likely uses a third party administrator (TPA) to handle its claims. Some of Home Depot’s big competitors in Florida are Lowe’s, Sears, Best Buy, Lumber Liquidators and hh gregg. (Learn about slip and fall injury claims against Home Depot in Florida.)
HH gregg uses Gallagher Bassett as its TPA for injury claims.
Actual Case (not mine):$210,000 awarded for past and future pain and suffering. A man claimed that he herniated a disc in his neck.
He also claimed that the head on car crash caused a herniated disc in his lower back. He also claimed erectile dysfunction and a spinal cord bruise.
The careless driver was uninsured. The injured man sued his uninsured motorist carrier, Allstate.
The case name is Allstate Insurance Company v. Marotta, 125 So. 3d 956 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2013).
Actual Case (not mine): $192,000 Verdict for Pain and Suffering alone for an employee of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines whose injuries included carpal tunnel syndrome, a performed a median nerve neurotomy, neurolysis and exploration.
She started physical therapy, but she began to feel intense neck pain radiating to her left arm. She had an x-ray and an MRI of her neck (cervical spine) that showed she had nerve compression at C4-C5 (in her neck).
She performed deep cleaning duties using a mop and bucket to clean the floors, which required her to use hand pressure to squeeze the mop.
Even though she allegedly woke up and found her right arm was numb between the elbow and fingers, her supervisor allegedly required her to work in pain for approximately three days.
She sued Royal Caribbean in 2010 in Miami-Dade County, Florida and claimed the following:
- Failed to use reasonable care to provide and maintain a safe workplace.
- Failed to promulgate and enforce reasonable safety rules and regulations to ensure the health of crew members.
- Failed to provide adequate training and supervision of its supervisors and officers.
- Failed to provide prompt, adequate and proper medical care.
- Failed to ascertain the cause of similar prior accidents so as to prevent their recurrence.
- She also claimed the vessel she worked on was unseaworthy because it lacked a properly trained crew and adequate. manpower for the tasks being performed.
$27,000 was for past pain, suffering, disability, physical impairment, mental anguish, inconvenience and loss of capacity for enjoyment of life. $155,000 was for future pain, suffering, disability, physical impairment, mental anguish, inconvenience and loss of capacity for enjoyment of life.
The case is Lavia v. Royal Caribbean Cruises; 10-22925-CA-02
My thoughts: This is a Jones Act case. Normally, in a case against your employer, you cannot get money for pain and suffering. But if you are injured while working for a cruise line, you can get money for pain and suffering under the Jones Act if you can prove that the employer caused your accident.
I wrote an article about the settlement value for pain and suffering of a hand injury where I said that the settlement value of pain and suffering for carpal tunnel surgery is between $25,000 to $50,000 but it depends upon the disability that you are left with.
Actual Case (not mine): $211,000 Verdict. A Lee County Sherriff Department employee was operating a motorcycle and was involved in a crash with Mr. Siergiej.
Mr. Siergiej sued the Lee County Sheriff’s Department (the Sheriff) and State Farm, his uninsured motorist insurer. State Farm disputed that the victim’s ankle and back injury were caused by the crash.
The trial lasted three days. The jury found that the accident caused his neck and ankle injury.
I do not know the specific neck and ankle injuries that he had. The verdict awarded him $211,000.
State Farm received a credit against Mr. Siergiej’s damages for the $26,780 in medical expenses and $20,000 in past lost wages paid by workers’ compensation, the $5000 in PIP benefits, and the $50,000 settlement from the Sheriff.
I assume that $159,220 was awarded for pain and suffering. I arrive at this amount by taking the $211,000 verdict and subtracting the economic damages, which the court mentioned.
The case is State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. SIERGIEJ, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 2nd Dist. 2013.
Actual Case (Not my case) – $100,000 Pain & Suffering
In 2012, a 31 year old teacher was driving a car in Boynton Beach when was hit by a car that ran a red light. She was taken to the hospital and complained of neck pain.
Her orthopedic diagnosed her with a cervical (neck) disc herniation at C4-5. She treated with a chiropractor. She complained of neck pain.
The jury, in Broward County, found that she had a permanent injury. She was given $100,00 in pain and suffering. $80,000 of that amount was for future pain and suffering, and $20,000 was for past pain and suffering.
The jury awarded her $100,000 for future medical treatment. She was awarded $20,000 for past medical treatment which reflects the fact that she did not treat that much.
My thoughts: The $100,000 that she was awarded in pain and suffering for the herniated disc is about $25,000 more than the average settlement range that I use as a starting point when calculating pain and suffering.
She is expected to leave another 45 years or so. The jury basically awarded her $2,000 of pain and suffering for each year for the rest of her life.
Actual Case (Not mine): $15,000 verdict in pain and suffering alone for a 42-year-old lady who had a cervical (neck) injury which required epidural injections. She was in a car accident in Duval County, Florida.
Actual case (not my case): $1,000 in past pain and suffering for a 45 year-old female housekeeper who fell in a Winn-Dixie Store in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
The shopper claimed soft tissue injuries to her neck and back as well as headaches. She claimed to have fallen on a raspberry that was on the floor. Winn-Dixie argued that the floor was inspected shortly before the fall and nothing was on the floor.
Winn-Dixie offered $8,000 to settle but the shopper rejected it. $13,864 was awarded for past pain and suffering. The verdict was in 2001 and the case is Casteneda vs. Winn-Dixie Stores.
My thoughts: I am unsure how much of the verdict was for neck pain vs. has much was for back pain and headaches. It appears that a problem with this case was that the jury may have felt that shopper’s injuries may not have been permanent.
I say this because the jury did not award any money for future pain and suffering.
If the shopper had been hit by a Winn-Dixie truck in Florida, then she would not have received any money for pain and suffering if she was not able to prove that she had a permanent injury. The same applies if she would have been hit by a Walmart or Publix truck in Florida.
I am not sure how much fault, if any, was placed on the shopper for not looking where she was walking. If fault was placed on the shopper, the entire verdict is reduced by the shopper’s percentage of fault.
DeCruz-Haymer v. Festival Food Mkt Inc., 117 So. 3d 885, 888 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013)
In DeCruz-Haymer, Paulette De Cruz-Haymer sued Festival Food Market. Festival was doing business as Bravo Supermarket.
This case was heard in Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal, which handles appeals from Palm Beach, Broward, St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties. The 4th DCA is located in West Palm Beach, Florida.
(Learn more about slip, trip and fall claims against Florida supermarkets). Paulette fell face down, suffering a cut above her left eye and injuring her neck, back, both elbows, and both knees.
The obvious danger doctrine says that an owner or possessor of land is not liable for injuries to an invitee caused by a dangerous condition on the premises when the danger is known or obvious to the injured party, unless the owner or possessor should anticipate the harm despite the fact that the dangerous condition is open and obvious.
The fact that a danger is obvious discharges a landowner’s duty to warn. It does not discharge the landowner’s duty to maintain his premises. The appeals court let this case continue to trial. This is not my case though
Can you get money for pain and suffering if someone’s carelessness in a Florida car or truck crash caused your neck injury?
If another driver’s carelessness in a Florida car or truck accident caused your neck injury, you may be able to get money for pain and suffering.
It may be more difficult to get pain and suffering damages in a neck injury case than if you have a broken bone, such as a wrist fracture or knee fracture.
Who is the best Florida lawyer for neck injuries? Who is the best Miami attorney for someone who hurt their neck in an accident?
Ethics rules prohibit a lawyers from claiming that they are the best Florida or Miami neck injury attorney. I cannot say that I am the best Florida lawyer for neck injury claims.
Florida lawyers can talk about the neck injury cases that they have settled.
I previously talked about my many settlements for clients who injured their neck in a Florida car accident, truck crash, motorcycle wreck, slip or trip and fall, and many other kinds of accidents.
Over 86 Important factors may affect a Florida neck injury settlement value.
Over 86 important factors may affect the settlement value of a Florida injury case. Most people only know a couple of these factors.
Walmart Accidents in Florida
Did someone’s carelessness cause your neck injury or other injury in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise or boat?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.