California Personal Injury Settlements

Jury Verdict Research did a study on personal injury verdicts in California. The study shows the compensatory median award for personal injury trials in California is $150,000. This is a lot higher than the national average of less than $40,000. But plaintiffs receive money damages in only 45 percent of cases that go to trial, which is 5% less than the national average.

Average Verdict in California

california personal injury cases

Settlement value of California personal injury cases

But what is the average verdict in a tort case?  The average verdict is approximately $1.6 million.   There is a big difference between median and average — 10 times more. When you are using this to get some lens into your own case, it is tricky.  This is all how you turn the kaleidoscope.

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Sample Verdicts and Settlements

  • March 2022, California: $3,000,000 Arbitration Award: A man suffered a fever and severe bronchitis. His wife attempted to contact his primary care physician. She spoke with a telenurse instead. The telenurse scheduled a call with the man’s physician four hours later. The physician instructed the man to take over-the-counter medications. The following day, he presented to the ER. He was diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia and MRSA. The man also suffered kidney failure, acute respiratory failure, septic shock, neutropenia, and hemoptysis. He took antibiotics. The man died several days later. His wife alleged negligence against the healthcare provider. She claimed the telenurse failed to send him to the ER, schedule an in-person appointment, and appreciate his symptoms. Following arbitration, the widow received $3,000,000.
  • December 2021, California: $750,000 Verdict: A 30-something man was T-boned at a Santa Monica intersection. The man suffered a C5-6 herniation. He underwent epidural steroid injections. The man now required a cervical disc replacement procedure. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed he ran a red light and failed to yield the right-of-way. A Los Angeles County jury awarded $750,000.
  • December 2021, California: $2,250,000 Settlement: A 24-year-old man was rear-ended in Torrance. He suffered an L5-S1 herniation. The man underwent epidural injections and chiropractic care. He also received a spinal cord stimulator implant. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed he failed to safely operate his vehicle. This case settled for $2,250,000.
  • November 2021, California: $832,798 Verdict: A man was T-boned at an intersection in Los Angeles County. He suffered severe personal injuries. The man underwent medical treatment. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed she failed to maintain an appropriate lookout and yield the right-of-way. A Los Angeles County jury awarded $832,798.
  • November 2021, California: $1,250,000 Settlement: A 50-something woman was sideswiped. She suffered lumbosacral protrusions and cervical stenosis. She underwent chiropractic therapy, physical therapy, and spinal injections. The woman also underwent a cervical fusion. She experienced limited mobility and walking difficulties. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed she made a negligent lane change and failed to maintain an appropriate lookout. This case settled for $1,250,000.
  • November 2021, California: $1,715,000 Settlement: A 39-year-old pedestrian was struck at a crosswalk. She suffered a knee injury and multiple disc bulges. The woman initially underwent chiropractic therapy and epidural injection administration. She continued to experience back pain. The woman eventually underwent a spinal fusion, a neurostimulator implantation, and a knee arthroscopy. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The woman claimed she failed to yield to a pedestrian and maintain an appropriate lookout. This case settled for $1,715,000.
  • September 2021, California: $10,000,000 Settlement: Three people, a 33-year-old man, an 18-year-old woman, and an 18-year-old man, traveled along Interstate 15. They were rear-ended. The vehicle caught fire after a police vehicle struck it. The two men died at the scene. The woman suffered back fractures and third-degree burns to over one-fourth of her body. Her back fractures healed. However, the woman required scarring reduction and skin grafts. The woman and the two men’s surviving families claimed the initial driver drove while intoxicated, while the police officer excessively sped. This case settled for $10,000,000.
  • June 2021, California: $5,000,000 Settlement: A 5-year-old boy was hospitalized. He was intubated. The hospital staff removed the breathing tube. During the removal, the boy’s airway closed. He went into respiratory arrest. The boy suffered oxygen deprivation. He suffered a catastrophic brain injury. The boy now required round-the-clock care. His parents alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its staff negligently removed the breathing tube. This malpractice claim was resolved for a settlement amount of $5,000,000.
  • April 2021, California: $5,700,000 Settlement: A newborn girl suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. She developed permanent brain damage. The girl’s parents alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its staff failed to properly administer Pitocin, timely address fetal distress, order a C-section, and timely resuscitate their child. This case settled for $5,700,000.
  • April 2021, California: $1,400,000 Settlement: A 22-year-old woman was struck at an intersection. She suffered rib fractures, a concussion, and an L4-5 herniation. She underwent physical therapy for four months. The woman also underwent a microdiscectomy. She continued to experience back pain. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed he excessively sped and failed to yield to a pedestrian. This case settled for $1,400,000
  • March 2020, California: $2,250,000 SettlementA 49-year-old roofer fell 18 feet to the ground off a roof he was working on. He suffered fractures to his cheekbone, his eye socket, skull, and C7 vertebra. The man also became unconscious because of his head injuries. An ambulance transported him to the nearest hospital, where he regained consciousness. He was hospitalized for three days. The man claimed residual pain, memory loss, and attention issues. He filed a workers’ compensation claim against his employer, who was insured by California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund. The case settled for a settlement amount of $2,250,000.
  • March 2020, California: $1,382,000 Verdict: The 54-year-old nurse was driving in Torrance. As she slowed down in traffic, the vehicle behind her rear-ended hers.  She suffered an L4-5 disc bulge, mild stenosis, and resultant radiculopathy. The woman underwent a discectomy two years later. She also underwent spinal fusion surgery three months after the discectomy. The woman would eventually undergo revision fusion surgery the following year. She claimed that her injuries affected her ability to walk long distances, and she was more sluggish in her daily routines. The Los Angeles County jury awarded her a $1,382,000 verdict.
  • February 2020: California: $21,513,000 Verdict: An 18-year-old farmworker was a passenger in a van that was traveling on Avenue 15 in Madera. A vehicle rear-ended the van. The man suffered a C5 burst fracture. He was brought to the hospital, where staff performed emergency cervical surgery on him. The man was rendered a partial C4 quadriplegic following the surgery. He could only partly use his upper arms, wrists, and hands. The man was now wheelchair-bound for life. His doctors opined that the use of his hands and wrists were seriously impaired. The Madera County jury awarded him a $21,513,000 verdict.
  • June 2014, California: $1,357,746 Verdict: A woman was driving through an intersection when a 16-year-old, who possessed a provisional driver’s license, ran a red light and struck her vehicle. Following the collision, she was treated with multiple surgeries and years of physical therapy. She sued the driver and his parents (the owners of the vehicle) for negligence. Plaintiff claimed that at the time of the accident she was attending court reporting classes and now cannot work the job because she can no longer sit for extended periods of time. Plaintiff also claimed that she was expected to require at least three hip replacements during her lifetime. Defendants argued that the 16-year-old had come to a complete stop at the light, but took his foot off the brake, which caused the vehicle to roll into the intersection. However, two witnesses contested that Defendant driver was traveling at least 45 mph upon impact. A Kern County jury found in favor of the Plaintiff for $1,357,746.
  • April 2014, California: $560,000 Settlement: A 33-year-old state employee was driving her SUV on eastbound Rancho Penasquitos Boulevard in San Diego with her 2-year-old daughter and 61-year-old aunt riding as passengers. Without warning, a westbound truck veered into their lane and collided almost head-on. Both drivers and the passengers were taken by ambulance to separate hospitals. The state employee sustained a left ankle sprain, bruises to her chest, abdomen, both legs, and lacerations to her forehead and lower leg. She was also diagnosed with bulging lumbar disc and required epidural injections and physical therapy. Her aunt sustained eight fractured ribs, multiple lacerations throughout her body, and internal injuries that required her to be placed in a medically induced coma for three weeks after an emergency resection of 14-inches of her intestines. The two-year-old sustained a laceration to her upper lip, a bloody nose, and some abdominal bruising. They sued the driver of the truck and his employer for negligence. Defendant Employer claimed that Defendant Driver was driving his own personal pickup truck at the time of the accident and not in the scope of his employment. Defendant Driver claimed he had no recollection of the accident as he suffered a retroperitoneal hematoma prior to the collision, which rendered him unconscious, causing him to swerve into the Plaintiffs’ lanes. The plaintiffs’ counsel argued Defendant Driver suffered the retroperitoneal hematoma because of the collision, not prior. The parties agree to a total settlement of $560,000.
  • April 2014, California: $1,250,000 Settlement: An 80-year-old Korean War veteran became a resident of a veterans nursing facility after suffering from multiple strokes. He was later transferred to a sister nursing facility where he was dropped on two occasions while being transported by the facility’s caregivers. After the second fall, he suffered a fracture of his vertebrae that ultimately left him paralyzed below the waist. The immobility caused him to suffer from multiple, painful pressure sores, including a Stage 4 pressure sore on his left ankle. He sued the facility, claiming negligent hiring and supervision. The parties agreed to settle for $1,250,000.
  • February 2014, California: $370,000 Verdict: A 46-year-old was painting a property in Hemet when he leaned over the railing to clean a piece of his equipment. The railing collapsed underneath him and he fell, injuring his left shoulder. He visited a local emergency room where he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff of the left, dominant shoulder. The tear required two repair surgeries and physical therapy. He also sustained a herniated cervical disc from the fall. He sued the property owners, claiming the Defendants failed to warn of a dangerous condition. Plaintiff claimed he is unable to use his left arm, making him unable to run his painting company.  Defendants argued the extent of Plaintiff’s injuries, noting inconsistent exam results. A Riverside jury found in favor of the Plaintiff for $370,000.
  • February 2014, California: $4,000,000 Settlement:  A 16-year-old woman presented at a San Francisco hospital for labor. At the time, it became apparent that the infant was in distress, but by the time the child was ultimately delivered through Cesarean section, he suffered a catastrophic brain injury. Now seven years old, the child suffers from spastic cerebral palsy and epilepsy, is unable to walk or crawl, cannot communicate, and requires 24-hour care. The child’s great grandmother sued the hospital on his behalf for medical malpractice, claiming the staff failed to timely deliver the infant when he demonstrated signs of distress. Defendant denied all liability. The parties agree to a settlement amount of $4,000,000.

Getting Information on Your Case

The problem with these statistics and example outcomes is that they just cannot predict the value of your claim.   There are too many variables to consider and these variables have very different relative weights.

If you want to get more information about your claim, we may be able to call.  Get a free online case evaluation today.

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