Post-traumatic arthritis increases the full value of a personal injury case.
What is Post-Traumatic Arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation of a joint. Post-traumatic arthritis is caused by the wearing out of a joint that has had a physical injury.
The injury could be from a car accident, a fall, or any other type of physical trauma. These injuries may damage the cartilage and/or the bone, changing the way the joint works and causing it wear out faster.
The cartilage wears out quicker if you have a continued injury and you’re overweight.
What are the symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis?
The symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis are joint pain, swelling, fluid buildup in the joint, and lower tolerance for walking, sports, stairs, and other activities that stress the joint.
Any of these symptoms increase the full value of a personal injury case.
Insurance Company May Blame Your Injury on Pre-Existing Arthritis
If you get an X-ray after your accident that shows degenerative arthritis, the insurance company may use this as a reason to offer you less money to settle your case.
Degenerative arthritis occurs as you age.
As you age, the water content of the cartilage increases and the protein makeup degenerates. Eventually, cartilage begins to degenerate by flaking or forming tiny crevasses.
Crystal deposits in the cartilage can cause cartilage degeneration, and osteoarthritis.
The insurance company or defendant may argue that you’re injuries were from arthritis that you had due to age before the accident.
Hotel Guest Gets $197,500 Settlement; Says Fall Aggravated Her Shoulder With Pre-Existing Arthritis
A hotel guest slipped in a hotel bathtub at a Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Pensacola, Florida. She claimed the bathtub was unreasonably slippery.
The guest broke her upper arm bone (humerus). She had arthritis in her shoulder before the fall.
However, she claimed that it never bothered her to the same extent as it did after the fall.
She settled the claim for $197,500 with the hotel’s insurer, Travelers. I represented her.
Shopper Wins Case Against Big Lots; Has Pre-Existing Arthritis
This isn’t my case. In Big Lots Stores, Inc. v. De Diaz, 18 So.3d 1065, 1068 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009), a shopper (De Diaz) tripped over part of a display at Big Lots store and fell on her knee.
X-rays revealed no fractures, but did show some early signs of arthritis. Her doctor said that De Diaz some degenerative arthritis in her knee, and an injury to the meniscus.
She had arthroscopic surgery.
Big Lots Argued Her Injuries Were From Pre-Existing Arthritis
Big Lots argued that her injuries were from pre-existing arthritis and/or intervening causes.
The appeals court ordered a new trial and said the jury should’ve awarded money for future medical expenses and future pain and suffering.
Man Wins $4.3 Million for Hip Fracture; Doctor Says Will Get Arthritis
This isn’t my case. A motorcyclist fractured his pelvis and acetabulum (hip socket). He had surgery where hardware was inserted.
His treating doctor said that he will have increased traumatic arthritis of the injured hip. The doctor said he will need multiple hip surgeries in the future. He had a limp.
The doctor said he may need a dorsal spinal cord stimulator – for his pain – in the future.
A jury awarded him $4.3 million.
This case is Clifford v Denis. This verdict was in 2009 in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Shopper Hit By Falling Object Wins $370,000 for Neck Surgery; Has Spinal Arthritis
This isn’t my case. A 57-year-old shopper claimed that a metal rack and rug fell on her at Home Depot in Vero Beach, Florida.
About 5 years after the accident at Home Depot, she had an MRI that showed spondylosis at C4, C5, and C6 levels.
Most often, the term spondylosis is used to describe osteoarthritis of the spine, but it is also commonly used to describe any manner of spinal degeneration.
How Does Post-Traumatic Arthritis Affect the Settlement Value of a Bimalleolar (Ankle) Fracture?
Juries have awarded from $500,000 to over $1 Million for a ORIF surgery for bimalleolar ankle fracture that was caused by an accident, and a future ankle fusion.
However, for the case to have this value, you need:
- Evidence of post traumatic arthritis.
- Continued medical treatment and issues after the ORIF surgery
Otherwise, the insurance company won’t likely believe that you’ll need an ankle fusion. If your ankle is doing great or you haven’t received medical treatment for years, the insurance company likely won’t offer money for the future ankle fusion.
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