If someone’s carelessness caused your elbow injury, you may be entitled to compensation.
Let’s first take a look at a few different types of accidents that can an elbow injury.
Elbow Fractures from Work Accidents
This article applies if you have a Florida personal injury case. Some of this article does not apply if you only have a workers compensation claim. This is because in a Florida workers compensation case you are generally not entitled to money for pain and suffering. Below are some examples to help better explain this.
Example – Work Injury When You’re Not Entitled to Pain and Suffering
Let’s assume that you’re an employee of Publix in Florida. While you’re working in the meat section of the store, you slip and fall on a soapy substance that is used to mop the meat section. In this situation, the only claim that you have is against your employer (Publix).
Therefore, because your only injury claim is against your employer, you are not able to get money for pain and suffering. But you may be able to get benefits from Publix. Learn more about injury settlements with Publix in Florida.
However, this article does apply to your personal injury case if you are hurt while working and you also have a personal injury claim.
Example – Work Injury when another is at fault – Pain and suffering of an elbow injury applies.
However, if Publix uses an outside company to clean its floors and you slip and are injured, then you may be entitled to pain and suffering in your case against the cleaning company.
$170K Settlement for Arm Fracture (Near Elbow)
On June 30, 2018, Zach was a passenger in a Hertz rental car in Sarasota, Florida. The driver of the car (that Zach was in) crashed into the back of another car.
Zach wasn’t wearing a seat belt. In the crash, Zach broke his arm (right above the elbow).
At the hospital, he has surgery to stabilize the part of his arm above his elbow. Surgery increases the full settlement value of a case.
Zach was left with a scar above his elbow that went up his arm.
ESIS (Ace American Insurance Company) insured the Hertz rental car. We settled his broken arm claim for $170,000.
We would’ve settled for more money if Zach had been wearing his seat belt. The ESIS adjuster mentioned Zach not wearing his seat belt on every phone call that I had with him.
Taking the failure to wear a seat belt into account is just one factor that may affect the final settlement amount.
Settlement Value of Pain and Suffering for an Elbow Fracture
In Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County, the full value that I use as a starting point for the pain and suffering component of an elbow injury for settlement purposes in a Florida accident, or cruise or boat injury case is:
- Broken elbow for settlement purposes that heals without a resultant disability is approximately $25,000 – $50,000. This is similar to a broken upper arm (humerus) case.
- Elbow tendon or ligament tear with surgery (without hardware) that heals with little or no resultant disability is $50,000 to $100,000.
- Surgery with hardware (plates and/or screws) inserted in your elbow is between $150,000 and $250,000.
The pain and suffering component may have a smaller value in more rural counties in Florida because juries are typically more conservative and thus generally award less in those counties.
In Florida, although I have not done in-depth research, I think the full value of pain and suffering for settlement purposes of a broken elbow with hardware inserted would be very similar to the settlement value for pain and suffering of a broken humerus (upper arm) with hardware inserted.
The upper end of the above ranges is if you have a big resultant disability. Now, there is no guarantee that you will get any money at all. I will discuss that in a moment.
By “full value”, I mean that this is the value of pain and suffering if there are no problem areas with your case. In order to arrive at the settlement range for your case, you would then add the full value of pain and suffering to your out of pocket medical bills and lost wages.
Example of Full Settlement Value for a Broken elbow (That Heals)
You are stopped at a red light and a car hits you. You go to the emergency room (ER) and diagnosed with a fractured elbow, which later heals. Your out-of-pocket medical bills are $10,000 and your lost wages from not being able to work are $5,000.
You may be entitled to the “full value of pain and suffering” of $40,000 – $50,000 because the other car was at fault and you did nothing wrong to cause the accident. So to calculate how much your case may be worth, you would use this formula:
Settlement = Pain and suffering of elbow fracture + Medical Bills + Lost Wages
Now let’s plug in the numbers from the above example:
Settlement = ($40,000 to $50,000) + $10,000 + $5,000
Possible Settlement = $55,000 to $65,000
Now, let’s assume that the same incident happens in Florida except that you had surgery on your elbow and a metal plate or screws were inserted. You would use the same formula as above except you would insert the $150,000 to $250,000 value for pain and suffering for settlement purposes.
If you had the same accident described above, but you had surgery to your elbow, you would plug-in the following numbers to the formula.
Settlement = Pain and suffering of elbow fracture with surgery + Medical Bills + Lost Wages
= ($150,000 to $250,000) + $10,000 + $5,000
= ($150,000 to $250,000) + $15,000
Settlement = $165,000 to $265,000
Example when you may NOT be able to get full value for a fractured elbow that heals
You are staying at a hotel in Florida. You are walking on the sidewalk to get to your room and the sprinklers are on. The sprinkler sprays water onto the sidewalk and you slip and fall on the sidewalk. You fracture your elbow.
You may not get full value in this case because the hotel will argue that you are partially at fault for this accident, and therefore the value of your case should be reduced by your fault.
There are many other things that can affect how much your case is worth.
You can argue that the hotel is at fault because the sprinklers should not spraying water onto the sidewalk.
You may be 25-50% at fault for not paying more attention given the fact that you knew that the sprinklers were on. To keep it simple in this example, I will assume that you are 35% at fault for not paying better attention.
You would then reduce the value of your case by 35%. Therefore, in Florida you would only be able to get 65% of the full value of your case. (I arrived at 65% by taking 100% and subtracting 35%).
So let’s your out-of-pocket medical bills are $10,000 and your lost wages from not being able to work are $5,000. The settlement range, in Florida, of the pain and suffering component of a broken elbow that heals is between $40,000 and $50,000. For this example, I will use the number $45,000. To see how much your case may be worth, I will use this formula:
Settlement = (Pain and suffering of elbow fracture + Medical Bills + Lost Wages) x (100% – % Your fault)
= ($45,000) + $10,000 + $5,000) x (100% – 35%)
= ($60,000] x (100% – 35%)
Settlement = $60,000 x 65%
Settlement = $39,000
Again there is no guarantee that you will get this amount. Your case could go to trial and a jury could find that the hotel was not at fault.
$10K Settlement for Elbow Fracture (Bike Accident)
This settlement is before deduction for attorney’s fees and expenses. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.
Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue arrived at the scene but he refused transport to the hospital. My client had $10,000 per person in non-stacking uninsured motorist (UM) coverage through his auto insurer, GEICO.
I think that the settlement value of the case was worth more but we were limited by my client’s low policy limits.
There were at least 2 factors that may have decreased the full value for settlement purposes of this case if there would have been insurance coverage that was greater than the value of the damages that the bicyclist suffered.
These 2 factors would have been:
- The bicyclist did not take an ambulance to the hospital.
- The bicyclist went to get treated by a doctor instead of going to the emergency room.
Insurers have different reputations for paying injury claims. GEICO has a reputation for being an average insurer in terms of paying bodily injury claims. Here this was a nonissue because there were limited policy limits.
In order to get the bicyclist’s medical bills paid, his bills were submitted to his PIP coverage through GEICO which paid for up to $10,000 of my client’s medical bills. The UM settlement covered his small out of pocket expenses.
In most cases, if a motor vehicle hits you while you are riding a bicycle in Florida, then you would have to be able to prove that you have a permanent injury in order to have a shot at being awarded money for pain and suffering.
However, if you are a non-resident bicyclist who is hit by a motor vehicle in Florida, and you aren’t covered under PIP, then you do not need to prove that you have a permanent injury to get money for non-economic damages (pain, suffering, etc.).
Types of Elbow Injuries
There are many different elbow injuries that an accident can cause. Some of them are:
- Biceps Tendon Tear at the Elbow
- Distal Humerus Fractures of the Elbow
- Elbow (Olecranon) Fracture
- Dislocated Elbow
- Elbow Fractures in Kids
- Radial Head Fracture of the Elbow
- Recurring and Chronic Elbow Instability
- Elbow (Olecranon) Bursitis
- Osteoarthritis of the Elbow (from prior elbow fracture or dislocation)
- Ulnar Nerve Entrapment at the Elbow (Cubital Tunnel Syndrome)
Types of Elbow Surgeries
- Elbow Arthroscopy
- Total Elbow Replacement
Did someone cause your elbow injury in an accident in Florida? On on a cruise?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.