See average personal injury settlement amounts and jury awards for different injuries. Explore factors that can affect your total compensation.
It’s important to be realistic about your personal injury claim and its settlement potential. While you never want to undervalue your claim, you do want to avoid thinking your claim is worth substantially more than it is.
Here you can explore average settlements for different types of injuries, understanding that no two injury events are alike. The injuries sustained by one person in an auto accident or slip and fall may be completely different from those sustained by another person in a similar accident.
Personal Injury Settlement Amounts:
- Soft Tissue Injury Compensation
- Head and Brain Settlements and Awards
- Neck and Back Compensation Ranges
- Arm and Shoulder Injury Payouts
- Leg, Knee, and Foot Injury Settlements
Don’t let the adjuster convince you the insurance company settles all similar injury claims for the same amount. Make your own settlement value calculations or visit a personal injury lawyer for a professional case evaluation.
Soft tissue injuries include injuries to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments. These usually result in pain and discomfort accompanied by swelling and bruising. Soft tissue injuries can also include abrasions and contusions.
Most soft-tissue injuries, including mild whiplash injuries, will settle for $2,000 to $5,000. The settlement amount is based on one or two visits to a family doctor or urgent care, a few days off work, and a minimal amount for pain and suffering.
The more medical evidence you have, the higher your bodily injury settlement will likely be, so long as the evidence is clear and convincing.
Insurance adjusters look at soft tissue injury claims with a critical eye. Because an x-ray or CT scan can’t easily verify most soft tissue injuries, adjusters tend to be skeptical of extended treatments and high pain and suffering demands.
Example: $1,100 Car Insurance Settlement for Bumps and Bruises
Rachel was in the front passenger seat of Helen’s car. The women had just finished lunch and were slowly leaving the restaurant parking lot when another customer backed out of a parking space without looking.
Helen slammed on the brakes, but there was enough contact with the other car to deploy the airbags. Rachel was thrown forward, only to be slammed back again by the force of the airbags and safety belts.
Both women were bruised and shaken. Rachel called her husband to take her to urgent care. She suffered some bruising from the safety belts and contusions on her face from the airbag.
The doctor gave Rachel a note to take the next day off from work, which was a Friday. She was to follow up with her family doctor if she was still having discomfort on Monday. By Monday, Rachel was fully recovered from the car accident and returned to work. She sought no further treatment.
Medical bills (Urgent Care): $300
Lost wages: ($17/hr x 12 hours): $204
Total economic damages ($300 + $204): $504
Pain and suffering ($504 x 1.5): $756
Estimated Soft Tissue Settlement ($504 + $756): $1,260
Rachel sent a car accident demand letter for $1,500 to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, with copies of her medical bills, lost income statement, and treatment records.
After telephone negotiations with the adjuster, Rachel reached a compromise settlement of $1,100.
Medical costs alone for head injuries can range from under $1,000 for mild concussions to anywhere from $85,000 to $3 million for traumatic brain injuries.
Concussions are common injuries in car accidents and falls, where the victim’s head hits the interior of the vehicle or another hard surface. Some concussions are caused by the head snapping violently back and forth in response to a sudden impact.
Mild concussion injury claims typically settle for $5,000 to $10,000, including lost wages and a nominal amount for pain and suffering, depending on the age and income of the victim.
Severe brain injuries can have catastrophic consequences. Lost income potential on top of staggering medical costs makes traumatic brain injury case values soar into multiple millions.
Case Example: $34.7 Million Awarded to Brain-Injured Child
Twins Jordan and Jaden Biggs were born at MedStar Harbor Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. While Jaden was healthy at birth, Jordan experienced some breathing difficulties immediately after birth. He was stabilized and transferred to the Special Care Nursery, where he was initially healthy and able to breathe on his own.
Within 15 minutes, Jordan was in distress. Within 40 minutes, Jordan’s condition deteriorated, causing him to turn blue due to dangerously low oxygen levels.
By the time Jordan was intubated and put on a ventilator, he had high levels of acid in his body fluids and suffered three seizures. Later that day, after being transferred to Johns Hopkins Newborn Intensive Care Unit, Jordan was found to have suffered brain damage, likely caused by a lack of oxygen.
His family sued for medical malpractice, alleging that Harbor Special Care Nursery mishandled Jordan’s care as he struggled to breathe, resulting in his permanent brain injuries. As of the trial date, Jordan was 14 years old, suffering from cerebral palsy and various disabilities, requiring round-the-clock care.
The jury found for the family, awarding roughly $1.2 million for past medical expenses, $32.2 million in future medical expenses, and $1.4 million in future lost earnings.
The family’s attorneys intentionally avoided asking for “pain and suffering” compensation, because of Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages.
Neck or back injuries that require surgery become high-dollar insurance claims, with settlement values ranging from $150,000 to $500,000, depending on the age and employment status of the victim.
Spinal surgery to repair a herniated disc can cost from $80,000 to $150,000. Follow-up physical therapy can add another $10,000. The victim may be out of work for three to six months following successful treatment.
Case example: Jury Awards $4.2 Million for Workplace Neck Injuries
Glenn Barrowman was a worker who fell 12 feet from a scaffold to a concrete floor, hitting a scaffolding plank as he fell.
As a result of the accident, Barrowman suffered herniated discs and a ruptured disc in his back that required two surgical procedures to his neck and lower spine, both involving spinal fusions and bone grafts.
Medical experts testified that Barrowman would require repeated surgeries in the future and that he will be in pain for the rest of his life.
The jury found in favor of Barrowman, awarding $46,000 for medical expenses, $1 million for future loss of earnings, and $3 million for past and future pain and suffering. The award was upheld on appeal.
Uncomplicated arm or shoulder area fractures typically settle for $5,000 to $10,000, including medical treatment expenses, a few weeks of physical therapy to restore mobility, lost wages, and a nominal amount for pain and suffering.
The higher end of the settlement range is likely when the injured person is out of work for six to eight weeks because they can’t perform their job duties without the use of both arms.
Surgical treatment of a broken arm can run as high as $16,000. Adding lost wages, replacement services, and pain and suffering, a reasonable settlement can range from $30,000 to $75,000.
Medical treatment costs for a dislocated shoulder can run as high as $8,000. The cost for surgical repair of a torn rotator cuff can range from $3,000 to $15,000 depending on if the surgery is performed in a hospital outpatient setting.
Example: $8,000 Settlement for Broken Collarbone
Phyllis and her husband had just been seated at a local restaurant. As she tried to scoot her chair closer to the table, one of the chair legs broke, abruptly dumping Phyllis to the floor.
Phyllis landed hard on her right arm and shoulder. She felt immediate pain and was unable to raise her right arm. Her husband drove her to the nearby hospital emergency department, where X-rays revealed a broken clavicle (collarbone).
Electing non-surgical treatment, Phyllis wore a sling to immobilize her arm and shoulder for a month, followed by two weeks of physical therapy to gradually restore strength and mobility.
Because she worked at a school cafeteria, Phyllis missed six weeks of work until her doctor cleared her to fully use her right arm.
Medical bills (ER, X-ray, Doctor): $1,500
Lost wages ($400/week x 6 weeks): $2,400
Total economic damages ($1,500 + $2,400): $3,900
Pain and suffering ($3,900 x 2): $7,800
Estimated Broken Collarbone Settlement ($3,900 + $7,800): $11,700
Phyllis sent a compensation demand to the restaurant’s insurance company for $12,000, along with copies of her medical records, medical treatment bills, and a wage statement from her employer. After a few rounds of negotiations, she settled her injury claim for $8,000.
Severe knee, leg, or foot injuries typically require surgery, intense therapy, and a long recovery. Compensation values can range from $10,000 for simple fractures to $10 million for traumatic amputations.
Knees are particularly vulnerable to injury in motor vehicle crashes and trip and fall accidents. Knee injuries requiring surgical or arthroscopic repair can lead to settlements ranging from $68,000 for a kneecap fracture to $240,000 for ligament tears requiring ACL surgery.
Case Example: $1.6 Million Award for Leg Fracture from Slip and Fall
Christopher Armstrong-Stevenson suffered a broken femur after a slip-and-fall on spilled laundry detergent in a Safeway grocery store. The injury required surgery and extensive rehab, leaving Armstrong-Stevenson with permanent leg problems that limit his ability to do the things he did before the accident.
The store not only refused to pay the settlement amount sought by Armstrong-Stevenson, his attorney alleged the store tried to cover up their liability by destroying surveillance video of the incident, and “fiddling” with store records.
The jury agreed, awarding awarded Armstrong-Stevenson $102,000 in medical and therapy expenses, $525,000 for pain and suffering, and $1 million in punitive damages.
Under Oregon state law, 70 percent of punitive damages goes to the state for a crime victims’ compensation fund and courthouse security and building improvements.
The type and severity of your injury will always directly affect the value of your case. The worse your injuries, the higher the settlement. In theory, that seems obvious.
In reality, several factors affect your final settlement amount, such as:
- Venue: The adjuster will pay more to settle out of court if you live in an area where juries typically favor the injury victim.
- Shared Blame: In most states, your compensation can be reduced according to your share of blame or denied entirely if you are equally to blame (called the 50% rule) or more to blame (called the 51% rule) than the other party.
- No-Fault Auto Insurance: In no-fault insurance states, you must rely on the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage under your own insurance policy for most car accident injury claims. PIP does not pay for non-economic damages.
- Inadequate Policy Limits: When the at-fault party has minimal or no insurance coverage and no personal assets, there may not be enough money to cover your damages.
- Multiple Injured Persons: When several people are injured in the same accident, and there isn’t enough liability coverage to pay all the bills, the insurance company will file an “interpleader” asking the court to decide how to distribute the available funds.
Attorneys Boost Injury Settlements
When you’ve fully recovered from an accident and liability is clear against the at-fault party, you can probably handle your claim without a lawyer.
Claims from fender-benders, slip and falls, and other minor personal injuries can often be settled directly with the insurance company. You can probably get the total of your economic damages plus one or two times that amount for pain and suffering.
To get a fair personal injury settlement amount for complicated or serious injury cases, you’ll need a skilled accident attorney to fight for you.
Experienced attorneys get more money for severe injury claims than a claimant can get on their own.
Complicated, high dollar claims can involve:
Serious personal injury cases can be complicated and expensive. A personal injury lawsuit often needs to be filed to induce the other side to make a reasonable settlement offer.
Most injury claims settle out of court, but for specialized cases, choose a law firm that can advance the funds needed to prepare for trial if needed.
Personal injury attorneys usually offer a free consultation and will represent clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning the attorney’s fees won’t get paid unless they settle your case or win at trial.
There’s too much at stake not to get good legal advice about the value of your claim.
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Personal Injury Settlement Amount Questions
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