If someone caused you to injure your tibia or fibula (lower leg bones), you may want to get compensation.
Here is a video that I made about broken leg settlement amounts and compensation.
Below I’ll discuss how much compensation people received for a broken leg. You’ll learn why certain amounts were awarded for the pain and suffering part of the claim.
Article Assumes Someone Else’s Caused Your Leg Injury
Unless I say otherwise, everything in this article assumes that:
- Someone else’s carelessness caused your injury in an accident in Florida.
- You were not at fault.
Doesn’t Apply to Just Workers Compensation Claims
Note: If you’re hurt while working in Florida and nobody other than your employer is at fault, most of the time you cannot get money for pain and suffering.
Easier to Get Pain and Suffering Money For a Broken Leg from a Car Accident
In most Florida car accidents, you have to show that your injury is permanent in order to get money for pain and suffering.
In tibia fracture cases, it is easier to show that your injury is permanent than if you had a soft tissue injury.
This is because juries are more likely to believe that a fracture (broken bone) is a permanent injury.
All things equal, you have an increased chance that the liable party’s bodily injury (“BI”) liability insurer pays you the insurance limits if you have a tibia fracture.
Will Car Insurers Pay the $10K, $20K or $25K Limits for a Leg Fracture?
In most car accident cases, yes. This is true even if you don’t have surgery.
This assumes that the responsible party’s BI limits are in the above amounts. It also assumes that a driver’s negligence caused your tibia fracture.
The responsible party may not have BI liability insurance. If this is the case, their insurer won’t offer you any money.
Starting Point for Pain and Suffering Component of Tibia or Fibula Fracture ($25,000 to $40,000)
The starting point that I use for the full value of the pain and suffering component for a tibia or fibula fracture (without surgery) is $25,000 to $40,000.
What is the Full Value of a Tibia or Fibula Fracture Case?
As with any full value, you add your economic damages (e.g. out of pocket medical bills, lost wages) to the value of your pain and suffering. This gets to you to the full value of the case.
Tibia or Fibula Fracture With Surgery
A fibula or tibia fracture with surgery (ORIF) may have a full value for pain and suffering component of $100,000 or more.
If you have surgery, the full value of pain and suffering component generally increases significantly.
What is my average settlement amount for a tibia fracture with surgery where there was enough insurance to pay the actual claim value?
However, one of those claims also involved finger surgery (which added value). Also, not every one of my clients has come even remotely close to that $356,667 average settlement.
One client only got a $10,000 settlement even though he had surgery to fix his tibia fracture. A driver of car made a left hand turn and hit my client while he was on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, the driver of the car only had a $10,000 in bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage with Allstate.
The careless driver had no collectible assets. My client didn’t have uninsured motorist insurance.
In another claim, I withdrew from representing my client because the careless driver only had $10,000 in BIL coverage with GEICO. And my client, who was also on a motorcycle, had multiple surgeries to his tibia fracture.
GEICO paid the $10,000 limits. My client’s medical bills way over $10,000. Thus, I withdrew and let him settle the case on his own. The driver that caused the accident didn’t have collectible assets.
When Will There Be Enough Insurance To Pay the Fair Value of a Broken Leg Case?
There are a few situations where it is virtually certain that there will be enough BIL insurance to pay for the fair settlement value of the case where the injury is a broken leg (even with surgery). Some examples include when a person’s leg was broken due to the negligence of:
- An Uber or Lyft driver if that driver was engaged in a ride
- Another driver if the victim was a passenger in a Lyft or Uber
- Someone making a delivery for Ubereats, Postmates, Amazon Flex, Grubhub, Doordash
- A driver who rented a car and purchased BIL insurance
- Someone who is driving a truck or bus for a big company like Walmart, Target, Disney or Publix
- Someone who rented a car from a car sharing service like Turo and selected the premium plan
- A Driver who rented a car from a Hyrecar (rideshare service).
There will likely be at least $1 million of BIL insurance in the above situations. If the person’s worst injury is his or her broken leg (even with surgery), the case is likely worth way under $1 million. This is true unless the injured person has several surgeries or develops are horrible infection.
However, there is likely an insurance exclusion if the injured person was a passenger in the Ubereats or Postmates car. In other words, Ubereats or Postmates’ insurance won’t cover the injured person if the he or she was a passenger of the same car as the delivery driver.
However, even if there is $1 million in available coverage, the injured person still has to show that someone else’s negligence caused his or her broken leg.
If a large truck (10,000 pounds or more) is used in interstate commerce, it is required to have minimum limits of $750,000.
Will you get a bigger settlement if the driver who caused your broken leg (with surgery) was driving for Uber, Lyft or a delivery service (like those above) as opposed to someone driving their own car for pleasure who is insured with GEICO or USAA?
All things equal, the settlement will be much bigger. This assumes that the driver was engaged in a ride, or making an active delivery.
Insurance companies like GEICO, USAA and State Farm tend to sell smaller BIL insurance policies.
$445K Settlement for Motorcycle Rider’s Leg (Tibial Plateau) Fracture After Truck Hits Him
A motorcycle rider was cruising down the street in Hialeah, Miami-Dade County. A driver of an 18 wheeler (tractor trailer) was heading straight in the opposite direction.
The truck driver made a left turn, and crashed into the motorcyclist. The motorcycle rider fractured his tibial plateau and finger. He had surgery on each fracture. Here is an x-ray of the plate and screws in his tibial plateau after the surgery.
I got the motorcycle rider a $445,000 settlement for his leg fracture and other injuries. Broken leg cases are typically worth more if the lawsuit will be filed in Miami-Dade County than in many other parts of Florida.
This is because Miami-Dade County juries have a reputation for awarding larger amounts for pain and suffering for a broken leg.
$325K Settlement for Broken Leg (Car Hit Pedestrian in Miami, Florida)
Watch this interesting video on this settlement:
This is a $325,000 settlement after a driver crashed into a pedestrian in Coconut Grove, Florida. The “Grove” is in Miami-Dade County.
Below is an x-ray which was taken at the hospital. It shows the fracture.
At the hospital, an external fixator was drilled into his leg, which you can see below.
If you have an external fixator put in your leg, this raises the value of the case. The fixator was removed within the year.
Hen then had a rod (and screws) drilled into the bone. The rod and screws were left in place.
His case was worth more because the rod and screws were left inside his body. This image has appeal to a jury.
The driver who caused the crash was working for US Customs when the accident happened. He was driving a rental car. Philadelphia Insurance Company insured the rental car. They paid the $100,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) limits.
I sued the the United States of Miami in federal court in Miami. They paid $125,000 to settle.
It gets better.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance Company Paid $100K to Settle
I also made a underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance claim with my client’s UIM insurer, Ace American Insurance Company. Ace paid only after I filed a civil remedy notice of insurance violation.
If they failed to offer the $100,000 UIM insurance limits, I may have been able to sue them for bad faith. Ace American Insurance Company paid the $100,000 limits without a lawsuit. (Ace has since acquired Chubb Insurance.)
Thus, if an insurance company has low bodily injury limits they get more nervous about getting hit with a big verdict.
$300K Settlement for Broken Leg (Car Accident)
Ryan was driving an Avis rental car in Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida. He lived in Georgia, but was in Florida for a business trip.
Another car made a left hand turn and crashed into Ryan’s car. The other driver got a ticket for failure to yield the right of way.
The diagram from the crash report is below. Ryan was driving vehicle #2 in the diagram.
Claimant was in car #2. Car #1 got the ticket.A photo of car #2 is below.
A lateral tibial plateau fracture is the part of the tibia that is farther from the middle of the body. A medial tibial plateau fracture is the closer to the center of the body.
All things equal, a lateral tibial plateau fracture is worth less than a medial tibial plateau fracture. This is because many doctors will say that you are less likely to need a knee replacement if you have a lateral tibial plateau fracture.
Many doctors will say you are more likely to need a knee replacement if you fracture your medial tibial plateau. This is because more weight is placed on the medial tibial plateau than the lateral tibial plateau.
Doctors Did Emergency Surgery to Repair the Fracture
At the hospital, Dr. William Lowry performed emergency surgery to repair the fracture. He inserted a plate and screws at the fracture site.
An x-ray of his tibial plateau after the surgery is below.
After the surgery, he couldn’t put weight on his injured leg. Thus, he was put in a wheelchair.
Allstate insured the driver who received a ticket for causing the crash. They paid $100,000 to settle my client’s injury claim. Allstate’s check is below.
Sadly, the other driver died after the crash.
Fortunately, Ryan had uninsured motorist insurance. Travelers insured him.
If you’re injured in a Florida car accident while visiting from another state, your rights are different. More specifically, Georgia residents who are injured in Florida car accidents have their own set of rights.
Why does this matter?
Because he had a much shorter time to make an uninsured motorist (UM) insurance claim. Georgia uninsured motorist insurance law may apply in a Florida accident.
One Florida court said that a Georgia resident who was hurt in a Florida car accident only had 2 years to sue! This is much shorter than Florida’s five year uninsured motorist insurance time limit.
It gets worse…
Some Georgia UM policies require the insured to notify the UM insurer within 60 days of the accident.
If you fail to notify them, you can lose your valuable UM insurance!
The good news?
Travelers paid $200,000 to settle the UM insurance claim. Travelers’ settlement check is below:
Learn more about this $300,000 settlement for a broken leg (tibial plateau fracture).
$70,000 Settlement for Broken Leg (Car Hit Pedestrian in West Palm Beach)
Watch an interesting video about this settlement:
A passenger, Daisy (not real name), was in a car driving down the street in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was daylight outside.
Daisy saw a hose in the middle of the street. She decided that she wanted to get the hose.
The driver (Barbara) of the car that she was in made a u-turn. The driver stopped the car.
Daisy got out of the car and walked to the middle of the street. She was walking on her way back to the median. Before reaching Barbara’s car, another driver (William) hit her.
The diagram from the crash report is below.
The police officer blamed the pedestrian for causing the accident. Here is a part of the crash report where the officer blamed the pedestrian for this crash:
The good news?
In Florida, the jury doesn’t get to hear about who the officer believes was at fault for the accident.
She Fractured Her Lower Leg (Tibial Plateau) and Suffered Other Injuries
An ambulance came to the scene. Daisy was immobilized. An ambulance took her to the hospital.
Although her car wasn’t involved in the accident, Daisy’s car was insured by USAA. Thus, The ambulance and hospital bill were sent to Daisy’s PIP insurer, USAA.
Daisy broke her the top of her lower bone, the tibial plateau. She did not need surgery.
If she would’ve had surgery on her broken leg, USAA would’ve quickly paid the $100,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance limits.
The doctor gave her crutches for her broken leg. Here is a photo of her leg, which was taken during her recovery.
Daisy also suffered a sacrum fracture. The sacrum is a triangular bone in the lower back formed from fused vertebrae and situated between the two hip bones of the pelvis.
I also claimed that the accident caused or aggravated a herniated disc in her back, and two herniated discs in her neck.
USAA insured the careless driver. USAA paid $70,000 to settle the pedestrian’s injury case. Here is the settlement check.
$65,000 Settlement for Broken Leg (Fibula) After Car Hits Pedestrian
Doug, who lived in California, was on vacation in Miami Beach. While he was walking in a crosswalk, a car hit him.Getting hit while not walking in a crosswalk is one of many factors that can reduce the value of an injury case.
Here is the actual Florida crash report diagram:
Paramedics came to the scene. At the scene, the pedestrian complained of leg pain and other injuries.
At the hospital, a doctor diagnosed Doug with a broken lower leg bone (fibula fracture). Below is an image of the fibula.
Surgery Would’ve Pumped Up Case Value
If he would’ve had surgery, his case would’ve been worth over $100,000. I say this based on recent verdicts for surgery to a broken lower leg from an accident. In addition, I settled a case for $325,000 where a pedestrian suffered a broken lower leg (and had surgery) after a car hit him.
GEICO insured the careless driver.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 627.7137, I sent GEICO a letter asking for the driver’s insurance information.
GEICO responded in writing stating that the driver had a $300,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) policy.
Pedestrian Didn’t Need a Permanent Injury to Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Unlike most Florida car accident cases, here the pedestrian didn’t need a to meet the tort threshold to get money for pain and suffering. Thus, he didn’t need a permanent injury in order to get money for pain and suffering.
This is because he was a car hit him while he was a pedestrian visiting from another state.
When it came time to pay them from the total settlement, they had to reduce their liens by my attorney’s fees and costs. This is one reason that a Medicare beneficiary should hire an injury lawyer.
California law required Farmers Insurance to reduce its Medpay lien by my attorney’s fees and costs. Lee v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (1976) 57 Cal.App.3d 458, 465-466, 129 Cal.Rptr. 271. This is one unique aspect of a case if someone from California is injured in a Florida accident.
In general, if you’re from another state and you get injured in a Florida car accident, you often have different rights. This is because you often have to deal with, at least, Florida law and the out of state law.
GEICO’s First Offer Was Only $14,780.15
GEICO low-balled me with their first offer for Doug’s personal injury claim. The adjuster was Tiffany Hall.
One of the 5 huge mistakes that injury victims make is to always believe what the adjuster tells you your case is worth.
GEICO Finally Settles for $65,000; Almost 4.5 Times Its First Offer
I negotiated with GEICO. We settled with GEICO for $65,000. Here is the GEICO settlement check.
Therefore, GEICO paid about $57,000 for the pain and suffering associated with his broken leg (fibula fracture). This is a typical settlement amount for pain and suffering for a broken lower leg.
Did I Use a Settlement Calculator to Determine How Much This Case Was Worth?
If the driver had a better car insurance company, they would’ve likely paid more. For example, I think I would’ve had a bigger settlement if the driver was insured with Hartford, USAA, Nationwide, Lyft (Zurich American Insurance Company) and some others. I’ve settled cases with all of those insurers. They tend to pay better than GEICO.
I don’t know how much Uber’s insurer (James River) would’ve paid.
$33,000 Settlement for Broken Leg After Car Hits Bicyclist
A bike rider who was hit by a car at an intersection in Kendall, Florida. The bicyclist had a non-displaced tibial plateau fracture. In a non–displaced fracture, the bone cracks either part or all of the way through, but does move and maintains its proper alignment.
Non-displaced fractures aren’t usually worth as much as displaced fractures. The bike rider didn’t need surgery.
If he would’ve had surgery to his tibial plateau fracture, the case would’ve been worth more than $100,000. I think State Farm would’ve quickly paid the $100,000 BIL limits.
He also had a torn meniscus. However, he didn’t need surgery.
The injured man healed perfectly. He didn’t need any more treatment. State Farm insured the driver.
State Farm paid us $33,000 to settle the bicyclist’s personal injury case. I represented the bicyclist.
$25K Settlement for Leg Fracture (Miami Car Accident)
An elderly man got the careless driver’s $25,000 policy limits for his broken (fractured) tibia. A driver of a vehicle crashed into him.
My client did not purchase uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage. It may have resulted in a bigger settlement.
Woman Gets $667K for Surgery to Broken Leg (Car Accident)
This isn’t my case. On March 26, 2015 at 1:10 p.m. at the intersection of NW 2nd Avenue and NW 36th Street, Miami-Dade County, Florida, Lauren Marlot was a pedestrian crossing a marked crosswalk.
Yanais Laury Ramos was driving a motor vehicle with the knowledge, consent and/or permission of Shiraz Fl Inc. Shiraz owned the motor vehicle.
Ramos hit Marlot. In the lawsuit, Ramos admitted that she negligently hit Marlot.
Marlot hired an attorney and sued Shiraz Fl Inc for its negligence in causing her tibial plateau fracture.
After the accident, she underwent surgery with a doctor in North Carolina. Marlot was examined by a local orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Rozencwaig.
Travelers Insurance Company insured Shiraz.
Travelers’ claimed that up until Marlot saw a South Florida orthopedic doctor, she was making a claim for leg length discrepancy. After Dr. Rozencwaig’s report, Travelers argued that her claims included a knee replacement.
Travelers used their in house Miami law firm, Law Office of Esther B. Nickas to defend the case. Lynn M. Bagley-Nader was Travelers’ attorney.
Injured Lady Offered to Settle with Travelers for $400K
On December 19, 2016, Marlot offered to settle with Shiraz (Travelers’ insured) for $400,000.00. Here is a portion of the formal offer from the proposal for settlement.
Travelers didn’t accept this offer.
They weren’t asked to itemize the award for each of those damages.
The jury also awarded $500,000 for pain and suffering, disability, physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience, aggravation of disease of physical defect and loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life in the past and to be sustained in the future.
They weren’t asked to breakdown how much they awarded for pain and suffering from the date of the accident through trial, as opposed to how much was for the future.
The final judgment was for $667,990.50, plus costs.
Travelers Made a Poor Decision Not to Settle for $400K
Travelers Insurance Company made a poor decision in not settling this case for $400,000. They would’ve saved about $287,000 if they would’ve settled for $400,000.
Travelers’ reputation has gone downhill in the last few years in terms of offering fair value to settle. One of the 5 big mistakes that personal injury victims make is to believe what the insurance company tells you your case is worth.
Fortunately, Marlot’s attorney didn’t make this mistake.
On July 21, 2017, the parties agreed to dismiss this case and dismiss the appeal.
Bad Resultant Disability Increases Settlement Value
If you’re left with a bad disability such as a limp, this increases the full value of the pain and suffering component of your claim.
The worse your limp, the higher the full value of the pain and suffering component.
A child’s fracture that results in a growth plate injury may be worth more.
If your legs are not equal in length after your broken tibia, this may also increase the value of your case.
Boy Gets $800K in Pain and Suffering for Growth Plate Damage to Tibia
A 6-year-old boy got $800,000 in pain and suffering for his permanent growth plate damage on a tibia, and arthritis in his knee. His doctor said that he would need future surgery.
As a result of the growth plate damage, there was a 4-6 inch difference in the length of his legs. This increased the value of his case.
The boy’s parent(s) sued a doctor for failing to property diagnose and treat his condition, failing to speak with an infectious disease doctor, failing to perform surgery to clean out the fracture, and failing to prescribe antifungal medication.
Because the gross (total) settlement was greater than $50,000, the parent needed court approval of the minor’s settlement.
I am almost certain that the minor’s net settlement (after all attorney’s fees, costs and bills) was greater than $15,000, so a minor guardianship of the property was also needed.
Pedestrian Gets $950,000 For 3 Tibia/Fibula Surgeries ($677,000 was for Pain and Suffering)
This isn’t my case. See this $677,000 verdict for pain & suffering against State Farm for a pedestrian who was hit by a car in Florida.
He had 3 surgeries to his tibia. He also had a shoulder tear.
Child Gets $292,000 in Pain and Suffering for Tibia Fracture After Electrical Meter Fell on Her
This isn’t my case. A child and her family were living in an apartment building in Hialeah, Florida.
The child was injured when a structure that was above the electric meter fell on the child. The child’s parents sued the apartment complex for failing to use reasonable steps to maintain the property.
The apartment complex claimed that it was not liable. They said that the girl’s brother leaped and grabbed the overhang and that was the cause of her injury.
The apartment complex also said that it had no notice of the dangerous condition. However, the jury verdict found the apartment complex 100% responsible.
She also fractured some ribs. The pain and suffering value for the ribs usually make up a small portion of this award as compared to the tibial fracture. This is because tibia fractures are usually worth more than rib fractures.
I don’t know if the injured person got money for medical bills.
Uber Passenger Gets Settlement for Fractured Leg from Car Accident
The above diagram roughly shows how it happened. (The diagram isn’t exact.)
Basically, the Uber was making a left turn and got t-boned by another car. The Uber passenger, Mr. Day, suffered a broken leg. I don’t know which leg bone he broke. I don’t know if it was the femur, tibia, fibula or another bone in the leg.
His attorney filed a lawsuit against Uber and the Uber driver. When the attorney was taking the deposition (testimony) of the Uber driver, the attorney said that Mr. Day had surgery to fix his leg.
This surgery likely led to a bigger settlement because surgery increases the full value of a case.
A Leg Fracture Could Lead to a Big Lost Wage Claim
Assuming Dr. Day made around $317,496 per year, he would be entitled to about $26,500 for every month that he couldn’t work because of the accident. (Just divide $317,496 by 12).
If he missed 6 months of work because of the crash, he would be entitled to $159,000 in lost wages. (6 x $26,500 = $159,000).
When the injured person is a big wage earner, the loss wage claim can go up quickly. This increases the value of the claimant’s case.
Currently, Ubers have a combined single limits liability policy with a $1 million limit. Here is Uber’s certificate of liability insurance.
James River Insurance Company insures Uber cars.
Thus, the most that James River will pay is up to $1 million dollars per accident for injuries caused by the Uber driver’s negligence.
This $1 million is for all the passengers’ claims (and any other people’s claims) against the Uber driver for personal injury and/or property damage.
The passenger’s wife was also in the car. She had a brain injury and had 4 surgeries.
During the lawsuit, the case settled.
I think that James River Insurance Company likely paid the $1 Million liability limits to Uber passenger and his wife. This is because both of their injuries combined were likely worth more than the $1 million liability limits.
Did someone’s carelessness cause your lower leg injury in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise or boat? Did you hurt another body part?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.