If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else, you may want to know how much your case is worth. Although it is not an exact science, there is a general formula that is used to calculate the settlement value of a personal injury case. Many people hire attorneys, in part, because they don’t know:
- The average range for pain and suffering of a particular injury for settlement purposes.
- The full value of their case.
This article does not apply to a claim against your employer if you are injured on the job in Florida because in those cases you generally cannot get money for pain and suffering.
However, if you are injured while working, you may still be able to get a settlement if the person who caused your accident is not your employer. The “third party” settlement may include pain and suffering.
Assuming someone is liable for your accident, the very basic version of a settlement formula in a personal injury case in Florida, or on a cruise ship, is:
Settlement = (Full Value of Case) x (100% – Your Percentage of Fault)
Therefore, to calculate the possible settlement in Florida, you use the following formula:
Many attorneys do not know the settlement range for the pain and suffering element of the above formula. As a personal injury lawyer, I need to know the average settlement value of pain and suffering for different types of injuries in order to properly represent my clients. A liability claims adjuster needs to know the value of pain and suffering so that he or she can make a fair settlement offer.
Over the past several years, I have represented people injured on cruise ships or boats in Florida. I have learned the full value of pain and suffering for purposes of settlement in a personal injury case.
I have seen attorneys list their past verdicts on their websites. Although a verdict is better than nothing, I think that understanding value for settlement purposes is more important because most cases settle. Every case should settle. Many verdict summaries that I see do not break down the amounts awarded for pain and suffering, medical bills, or lost wages. Sometimes just looking at a verdict will not tell you anything about the amount of money that was awarded for pain and suffering.
If both sides (the client and the liability insurance adjuster) evaluate a personal injury case properly, then each side should have come up with a settlement range that overlaps. Most often, the cases that do not settle are when one side misevaluates the case.
Below are links to articles about the settlement values for pain and suffering in Florida of different types of injuries. I encourage you to click on the links below to read more detailed information (including examples) about the full value of pain and suffering in Florida for these types of injuries. Generally speaking, the longer that you treat with a doctor, the higher the full value of pain and suffering.
Please keep in mind that the amounts below are the full value of each injury and do not factor in things can reduce the value of a settlement such as liability, causation, comparative fault, and many other factors that can eliminate or significantly decrease the amount of money that you may be offered by a claims adjuster to settle your case. Also, keep in mind that to get the full value of your damages you should add out-of-pocket medical bills and lost wages to the pain and suffering figure. For settlement purposes, the full value of the pain and suffering component for the following personal injuries that happen in Florida or on a cruise ship are:
- Broken or Fractured Ankle Settlement Value in Florida : $25,000 to $50,000
- Torn Ligament in Ankle Requiring Surgery: $25,000 to $50,000
- Trimalleolar Ankle Fracture With Surgery (ORIF): $125,000 to $175,000
- Broken or Fractured Wrist/Hand Settlement Value in Florida : $35,000 to $70,000
- Simple elbow fracture that heals without surgery: $40,000 to $50,000
- Elbow fracture with surgery (plates and/or screws inserted): $150,000 to $250,000
- Herniated Disc Settlement Value in Florida : $25,000 to $50,000
- Bulging Disc Settlement Value in Florida : $10,000 to $15,000
- Compression fracture (in the spine): $15,000 to $100,000+
- Neck Injury Settlements
- Back Injury Settlements
- Rotator cuff (no surgery) Settlement Value in Florida: $40,000 – $75,000, possibly higher
- Rotator cuff (surgery) settlement Value in Florida: $100,000 – $175,000
- Torn Labrum (no surgery): $40,000 to $75,000
- Torn Meniscus: $20,000 to $30,000
- Meniscus (surgery): $40,000 to $80,000
- Patella fracture (no surgery): $50,000 to $75,000
- Total Knee Replacement: $100,000 to $200,000
- Tibia fracture (no surgery): $35,000 to $75,000
- Amputation (below the knee): $500,000 to $750,000
- Humerus fracture on a child (no surgery): $25,000 to $50,000
- Humerus fractured on a adult (no surgery): $30,000 to $60,000
- Hip fracture (no surgery): $50,000- $75,000
- Hip fracture (surgery – ORIF): $250,000 – $400,000
- Femur/Thigh bone (fracture/break) with surgery (ORIF) Settlement Value: $250,000 to $500,000
Now that you know some full values of pain and suffering for settlement purposes, let me give you an example of how to calculate the settlement range for a hypothetical case:
Assume that you hit a car that made a left hand turn in front of the car that you were driving in Florida. The at-fault car received a traffic ticket for failure to yield the right of way. The at -fault car has bodily injury liability auto insurance with State Farm. State Farm argues that you are 25% at fault because you should have seen the other car and you could have avoided the crash.
You treat with a doctor who sends you to get an MRI. The MRI shows that you have a herniated disc. Assuming that the at-fault driver is liable (responsible) for your accident, you may be able to get 75% of your damages because you are 25% at fault. You should note that case evaluations are often very complicated. We will keep it simple here and assume that the claims adjuster will not try to deny or minimize the existence, cause or severity of your herniated disc.
Your out-of-pocket medical bills are $5,000. You did not miss any time from work. Let’s assume that the full value of the pain and suffering from your herniated disc is worth $25,000.
Note: I used $25,000 because it is the low end of the settlement range that I referenced above. I chose the lower end of the range just to keep things simple. In an actual case, experience will help you know which end – or even above – of the range the value of the injury falls into. This is one of the advantages to hiring an attorney.
A possible settlement for your case would be.
I will plug in the numbers:
Settlement = (Out-of-pocket Medical Bills + Lost Wages + Pain and Suffering) X (% of fault of State Farm’s insured)
Settlement = ($5,000 + 0 + $25,000) X (75%)
Settlement = ($30,000) x (.75)
Possible Settlement = $22,500
In the above example, you may get a settlement of $22,500 from State Farm Auto Insurance Company.
In Florida, you have 4 years to file a lawsuit against the other driver. The same time limit applies against the employer of the driver if it is a private business.
Were you injured in an accident in Florida or on a cruise ship? If yes, what are your injuries? Was it work-related? What is the date of accident or incident and in what city and state? Where do you live? Please give me a brief description of the accident or incident. Please ask any questions below. Your name will be anonymous.
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