In this article, I’m going to talk about the average settlement for a broken arm.
That’s not it.
We’re going to do an in-depth review of settlements.
Specifically, we’ll look at a broken arm from a car accidents. Then, we’ll also estimate compensation for a broken arm from other types of accidents.
In this article, when I use the word “arm”, I’m referring to the humerus.
I’m going to quickly talk about humerus fractures. Then, I discuss accident settlements for humerus fractures.
The humerus is the long bone in the upper arm. It is located between the elbow joint and the shoulder.
What is the Humerus?
The humerus is one of the 3 bones that makes up the shoulder.
Types of Humerus Fractures
- Distal Humerus Fractures is a break in the lower end of the upper arm bone (humerus)
- Proximal Humerus Fractures (top of the upper arm bone)
- Humerus Shaft Fracture (long part of the bone)
A proximal humerus fracture is technically a shoulder fracture.
Fractures of the top of the humerus can be caused by a head on blow to the area from a car accident, fall or collision.
Symptoms of Humerus Fractures
If you fracture your proximal humerus (top of the upper arm bone), you may have:
- A deformity
- A grinding feeling when you move your shoulder
- Inability to move your shoulder
- Swelling and bruising
These symptoms increase the full value of the case because they affect your quality of life.
You may also have a severely swollen shoulder, very limited movement of the shoulder and severe pain.
One of the aspects of a proximal humerus fracture that adds value to the case is that you will have severe pain. This increases the full value of the case. The more severe your pain, the greater the full value of the case.
Medical Treatment for Proximal Humerus Fractures
The majority of fractures of the proximal humerus can be cared for without surgery if the bone fragments haven’t moved out of position (displaced). If the broken bone parts have shifted out of position, you will likely need surgery.
Surgery often involves fixation of the fracture fragments with plates, screws or pins. Alternatively, you may need a shoulder replacement. A shoulder joint replacement is called a shoulder arthroplasty.
Below is a chart of Florida verdicts and settlements for a broken arm (humerus). These are verdicts and settlements of which I’m aware.
A couple of the settlements in the chart are mine. The rest are other Florida personal injury attorneys’ verdicts and settlements.
The chart covers the time period from August 2015 through August 2018.
Why did I only include settlements and verdicts for the recent 3 year time period?
Because Florida courts have said that cases decided more than five years earlier were of limited value. Hyundai Motor Co. v. Ferayorni, 842 So.2d 905, 908 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003).
Also, don’t get too excited by many of the huge verdicts in the pie graph above.
In many of those cases, the broken arm was just one of many injuries.
In order to get $5 Million for a broken arm, you also likely need to have many other injuries. Even if you had six surgeries to your humerus, the pain and suffering likely isn’t worth $5 million.
To get over $5 million, the injured person would likely need to have a broken arm, and be paralyzed. Alternatively, the injured person would likely need to have a broken arm and a severe brain injury.
Also, I didn’t include any verdicts where the injured person lost at trial. Yes, it’s possible to get no compensation.
Which cases is the injured person is most likely to lose at trial?
- Slip and fall cases where the injured person can’t show notice.
- Hotly contested liability car accident cases.
How Much is a Humerus Fracture (Without Surgery) Worth?
An average of past Florida jury verdicts shows that the full value of the pain and suffering component of a humerus fracture is $50,000 or so. If the injured person is left with disability and/or arthritis, the value can increase.
Disability includes, but is not limited to, loss of range of motion, difficulty sleeping due to pain, etc.
Multiple fractures of the Humerus of your Shoulder (No Surgery)
Let’s assume the following facts. Brenda has a multiple fracture of the humerus of her shoulder. She has a major range of motion limitations and consistent pain. She can’t sleep through the night due to pain even if she takes sleeping medication.
Brenda is active. The doctor doesn’t recommend surgery. She doesn’t have any other major medical problems. In this case, $100,000 to $175,000 is a starting point for the full value for the pain and suffering part of her case for settlement purposes (in Florida).
This is true even if Brenda is an elderly person. Keep in mind that the full value still needs be adjusted by any factors that can reduce the amount of money that you an injured person may get.
Example of Settlement Value for a 3 Part Humerus (Arm) Fracture
You are 85 years old. Another car hits you while you are driving your car. To keep this example simple, we will assume that the other car hit the rear of your car and the other driver admits that he is 100% at fault.
You suffer a 3 part proximal humerus fracture. Your out of pocket medical bills are $15,000 and you are told that your future medical bills are going to be $5,000.
You can’t sleep through the night due to pain, even though you take sleeping pills. You have restricted movement of your shoulder.
The doctor does not recommend surgery. Apart from this humerus fracture, you are in good health.
This is how I would calculate the full value of the case:
Full Value = Past medical bills + Future medical bills + Pain and suffering
= $15,000 + $5,000 + ($100,000 to $175,000)
= $20,000 + ($100,000 to $175,000)
Full Value = $120,000 to $195,000
Surgery on a Broken Arm Increases the Full Value for Settlement
Surgery to fix your humerus increases the full value of the case. This is no different from surgery to any body part. In fact, surgery is often the biggest driver of case value.
What is the full value of pain and suffering for a broken arm?
Past Florida jury verdicts put it between $150,000 to $250,000 or so. This is similar to full value of pain and suffering for a broken wrist (with surgery).
What if you have a distal humerus fracture (a break that is closer to your elbow)?
The blue arrow below points to an image of a supracondylar humerus fracture. The elbow x-ray below shows a supracondylar fracture in a young child. (The H = humerus, R = Radius, U = Ulna).
A supracondylar humerus fracture is a fracture of the distal humerus just above the elbow joint.
In this instance, you may also have radial or ulnar nerve damage, cubital tunnel or other issues. Those problems may further increase the value of your pain and suffering. I will talk about distal humerus fractures of the elbow later.
In order to get any money at all, someone’s negligence has to caused your accident. They need to have liability insurance or be collectible.
There is no guarantee that you will get any money in your case because many factors affect the amount of money that you may get.
If someone is injured while working, his or her employer likely won’t owe money for pain and suffering. However, there are exceptions.
If someone other than your employer caused your accident, you may still have a case against that party. You may be able to sue for pain, suffering, and out of pocket medical bills. You could also make a claim for lost wages.
$197,500 Settlement for Broken Arm (Humerus) from Slip and Fall at Hotel (Pensacola)
A lady from Texas was visiting Pensacola, Florida. She stayed at the Courtyard Marriott hotel.
While entering the bathtub, she slipped and fell. She broker her arm. Specifically, she fractured the shaft of her humerus.
Shortly after her fall, she hired me as her Florida injury lawyer. I sent a request to preserve evidence to the hotel.
The injured lady had surgery when she flew back to her home state. Above, you can see the x-ray of the plate and screws in her arm.
What is the nice thing about a claim (for a broken arm) against a hotel?
There will likely be at least $1 million in liability insurance coverage.
$30,000 Settlement for Humerus Fracture from Fall (Lauderhill, Florida)
The parents of a child claimed that she fell off a loose bench. She was diagnosed with a simple humerus fracture.
See more about this and other Florida premises accident settlements.
Mt. Hawley Insurance Company has a below average reputation. This is in terms of fairly paying Florida injury claims. Mt. Hawley is similar to Philadelphia Insurance Companies in terms of paying Florida injury claims.
I settled a separate loose booth case. In this other case, we settled for $210,000. My client fell from a loose booth at a restaurant in North Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
He fractured his wrist. Learn about Florida restaurant accident claims.
$10K Settlement for Humerus Fracture (Pedestrian Hit By Car in Miami)
A pedestrian was walking in a crosswalk in Little Havana, Miami-Dade County, Florida. A driver of a car hit the pedestrian.
She hired me shortly after the accident. Here is a photo of her (in my office) with a sling for her shoulder injury.
As you can see from the photo, she has bruising on her left arm. Accident victims should take photos of any bruising of their arm. The victim can use this if the insurance company tries to argue that the claimant had the injury before the accident.
Specifically, her shoulder fracture was an impacted comminuted fracture of the humeral neck. There was displacement of the greater tuberosity.
Her finger fractures were nondisplaced transverse fractures of the proximal metaphysis of the proximal and distal phalanges of the thumb.
Who paid the pedestrian’s medical bills?
The pedestrian didn’t own a car. She didn’t live a relative who owned a car. Thus, she was able to get $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance benefits from the insurance company of the driver who hit her.
United Auto Insurance Company (UAIC) insured the car that hit her. United Auto is a terrible insurer. I give United Auto a failing grade.
Therefore, they paid $10,000 directly to her medical providers for her medical bills. This left her owing very little in medical bills.
Additionally, United Auto Insurance Company insured the at fault driver with a $10,000 BIL insurance policy. United Auto paid us the $10,000 BIL limits to settle her personal injury claim.
The settlement check is below:
She was very happy with her portion of the settlement. After my attorney’s fees, she received almost the entire settlement. Here is a picture of her and Attorney Justin Ziegler after we gave her the settlement check:
Unfortunately, the driver wasn’t driving for Uber or Lyft that would have given him more insurance coverage. Our client didn’t own a car or live with relatives. Thus, she wasn’t entitled to uninsured motorist insurance.
Many pedestrian accident settlements are smaller because there isn’t enough insurance to pay for the fair value of the case. This is particularly true if the injured pedestrian has surgery on his or her broken arm.
Shopper Wins $1.5 Million for Pain and Suffering for Humeral Head Fracture
This is not my case. On August 11, 2010, Jessie Bellaiche, a 70-year-old woman, was shopping at a Publix store. She was with her husband, John Basilone.
While at Publix, she slipped and fell. She suffered multiple-bone fracture of her left shoulder. This included the complete dislocation and severing of the humeral head. Additionally, her rotator cuff was detached.
Jessie underwent major surgery to implant an artificial shoulder joint. The result of the surgery was poor. She was left with only limited movement of her arm which could only be fixed with a second major surgery.
Bellaiche refused to undergo a second surgery. Her personal injury attorney offered to settle with Publix for $126,000.00. Publix didn’t accept the offer.
On November 20, 2015, a jury returned a verdict for Bellaiche. They awarded her over $1.5 million in damages! That is big money. Amazingly, the jury didn’t put any blame on the shopper for her fall.
The verdict was breakdown was follows:
The jury awarded her past medical bills leading up to trial ($60,356.22).
The jury also awarded her pain and suffering from the date of her accident to the end of trial ($500,000). It took her about 5 years from the accident until trial. Therefore, the jury awarded her $95,200 per year for her past pain and suffering.
Jury Awarded Her $77,500 Per Year for Her Future Pain and Suffering
The jury awarded her future pain and suffering of $1,000,000. Her future life expectancy at the time was 12.9 years. Therefore, the jury awarded her about $77,500 per year for future pain and suffering.
This is a very big award for a broken arm. In fact, it is way above the average broken arm settlement amount.
Why was the verdict so high?
Because her outlook (for her arm) was poor. She was left with limited movement.
The bad news for the injured shopper?
On March 18, 2018, Miami-Dade County’s appeals court said that Publix wasn’t aware that there was water on the floor before the shopper’s fall. Without notice, they said Publix should have been entitled to have the case dismissed before a jury verdict.
Thus, the appeals court ruled in favor of Publix. The shopper gets no compensation. The case is Jessie Bellaiche v. Publix (3rd DCA Florida 2018).
Car Crash Victim Wins $471,000 for Broken Humerus and Elbow
This is not my case. An Escambia County jury awarded a motor vehicle accident victim $471,000 for a broken humerus and fractured elbow that resulted in surgery. The breakdown of the man’s verdict was:
- $134,000 – past medical expenses
- $154,000 – future medical expenses
- $15,000 – past pain and suffering
- $168,000 – future pain and suffering
The case is Logan Hammond Vs. Brandon J. Mathis, et. al. The date of the verdict was 5/7/2013.
Day Laborer Gets $320,000 for Humerus Fracture
This isn’t my case. A 45-year-old man was working as an independent day laborer when he suffered a compound humerus fracture. A compound fracture is when the bone sticks through the skin.
The jury found the defendant 45% at fault, and the claimant 55% at fault. Thus, the $320,000 verdict is reduced by the claimant’s percentage of fault (55%). This brings the recovery to $144,000.
The lawsuit was brought in Hillsborough County, Florida. The case is Hahn Vs. Meridian Lighting Inc. The date of verdict was June 10, 2014.
Jury Awards $38,157 for Fractured Humerus and Shoulder, and Other Injuries
The case is Walters Vs. Beach Club Villas Condominium Inc. The lawsuit was brought in Miami-Dade County. The date of the verdict was March 6, 2015.
Lady Wins $320,000 for Pain and Suffering (Humerus Fracture)
This is not my case. A jury awarded $320K in pain and suffering in 2007 for a 66-year-old retired woman. She tripped and fell on rebar that was in the parking lot at Aventura Shops (a mall in Aventura, Miami-Dade County, Florida).
The woman sustained a fractured humerus (upper arm bone). She had physical therapy.
The defendant admitted fault. Her doctor said that she had a bad injury to her arm (humerus) and shoulder.
The doctor hired by the defense said that she had a bad injury but said that it healed. The breakdown of the award was $40,000 for past pain and suffering and $280,000 future pain and suffering.
The verdict was in 2007. The case is Lang v. Aventura Shops.
My thoughts: The injured woman was expected to live another 10 years or so. So basically the jury awarded $28,000 per year for her pain and suffering for the remainder of her life. The jury felt that this was a bad injury.
The verdict summary that I read did not go into detail about the severity of this fracture.
$400K Settlement for Broken Humerus (Trip and Fall)
This is not my case. A man tripped and fell over a bike rack while walking out of Publix grocery store. This was in Lee County, Florida. As a result, he broke his humerus (upper arm bone).
I do not know how much the medical bills or lost wages were. I think that this was a very bad (serious) humerus fracture. My reasoning is because the settlement was much larger than the average settlement value in Florida for a humerus fracture.
I will assume that the bottom part of the bike rack was poking out or that the man could not see the bike rack when he was exiting the grocery store.
If the bike rack was in plain view, the shopper would not have had a case because he would not have been able to show that Publix did anything wrong.
You have to prove that a grocery store or place where you are injured did something wrong in order to have a case against it.
A lot of work goes into a case against Publix or another store in Florida. This case is Adock v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc. The settlement was in 2008.
$700K Verdict for Pain and Suffering for Fracture (Dominant Arm’s Humerus)
This is not my case. It is actually a New York case. I typically don’t write about cases that aren’t in Florida.
Because Florida has enough humerus fracture settlements and verdicts for me to write about. Also, insurance companies usually look at past verdicts in the same state when valuing pain and suffering.
However, they don’t stop there.
More specifically, they look at cases in the same county.
In this case, a jury awarded $700,000 for pain and suffering. Half of the pain and suffering award was for her pain up to the time of trial. The other half was for her future pain and suffering.
A 68-year-old semi-retired woman (Robinson) suffered a comminuted fracture of her dominant arm’s humerus. The humeral broke into two pieces. The shaft broke as well.
Doctors performed a hemiarthoplasty. Here is an x-ray of a full arthroplasty.
Hemiarthroplasty is a surgical procedure that replaces one half of the shoulder joint. The humeral head is replaced with a prosthesis and the glenoid (socket) is left intact.
I think that she also had a bloody photo taken during surgery. Perhaps the jury saw it.
An injured person who had surgery to his or her humerus should ask the doctor to video the surgery. That way, the insurance company can appreciate the seriousness of the surgery. It may aid settlement discussions.
Do Most Humerus Fractures (with Surgery) Settle for $700K?
(I’m referring to distal humerus fractures. I’m also talking about humeral shaft fractures. Heck, I’m referring to all humerus fractures. We’re talking about a broken arm with surgery.)
The answer is No.
I’ll explain. In this case, the woman took her case to trial. For one, anything can happen at trial. Both good or bad. That’s why going to trial is referred to as “rolling the dice.”
However, there is more to it than that.
Doctors replaced half of her shoulder. She also had a humeral shaft fracture. That’s a big deal. She also had a gruesome photo of her surgery.
I also don’t know if her doctor said that she would need another shoulder replacement or revision surgery during her lifetime. That adds big value if the jury believes it.
Additionally, we don’t have the court file to get into the details of that case. I have shared some major facts. But I don’t know other details. I saw that verdict online. I’m assuming that the author of that article got the right amounts and facts.
Also, for all we now, Robinson had to take narcotics (drugs) daily for pain for the rest of her life. I don’t know if she did. But if so, that would add major value.
The devil is in the details. And the value of a humerus fracture case is in the details. This includes the injured person’s pain level, continued treatment, limitations and many other factors.
The case is Robinson v. 3512 Oxford Avenue Tenants Corp. (Supreme Court, Bronx County; Index # 25341/04; 2/11/08).
There are three main scenarios where an insurance company is like to pay more in a broken arm case.
One is if you are dealing with an out of state insurance company that doesn’t issue policies in Florida. Out of state insurers often pay a premium to settle cases. They usually pay much better than the usual suspects (GEICO, Progressive and State Farm).
Also, semi truck companies often pay much better. So do their insurance companies. This is because 18 wheelers and interstate trucks are subject to many laws. The trucking company often violates many safety laws.
The injured person can argue that the trucking company was putting profits over safety. Jurors can get really bothered at trucking companies. As a result, they often award more money to the injured person.
Do Different Insurance Companies Pay Different Amounts for Broken Arm (Humerus) Settlements?
Of the major insurers, Progressive and Farmers will likely offer the least to settle a humerus fracture case. Sadly, Progressive insures Uber in Florida. Despite their funny ads, Farmers and Progressive are terrible.
Which insurance companies pay the most to settle a broken arm case?
Chubb, Crum & Forster, The Hanover Insurance Group and Scottsdale. These companies are the best at paying for a case involving a broken arm. They are the least likely to require a lawsuit if liability is clear.
But make no mistake about it. They are still insurance companies. They are in the business of making a profit. The less they pay someone with an arm fracture, the more money they keep as profit.
How Long Will It Take to Settle a Broken Arm Case?
It will depend on whether someone else was liable. Therefore, slip and fall cases for a broken humerus will likely take longer to settle.
All things equal, car and motorcycle accidents may settle faster.
The other big factor will be whether there is enough insurance available to pay for the fair value of the case.
Thus, the time that it takes to get an injury settlement will vary.
How Do Uber and Lyft Handle a Broken Arm (Humerus) Cases?
Uber and Lyft passengers will likely have more than enough insurance to cover the value of their arm (humerus) fracture case. This is true even if the injured person has surgery on his or her broken humerus.
This is because passengers of Lyft and Uber are covered up to $1 million for humerus fracture and other injuries. Most broken arm cases are worth under $1 million. Even if the injured person has surgery.
I currently represent several people who have a broken arm (from an accident). I’d love to represent you if you have a broken arm (or other serious injury).
Did someone cause your arm injury in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise or boat? Did you suffer another type of injury?
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 accidents, slip, trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, drunk driving crashes, pedestrian accidents, cruise ship or boat accidents, store or supermarket accidents, wrongful death, accidents at an apartment complex, condo building or home, accidents involving a Uber or Lyft Driver, and many other types of accidents.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2013 and has been reviewed for accuracy.