On this post we will examine the average settlement payout value for hand and wrist injuries in tort cases such auto accidents, slip and falls, premises liability, and more. We will look at some statistics on verdicts and settlement amounts for hand and wrist claims and analyze what those statistics mean. We will also summarize recent verdicts and reported settlements from prior cases in which the plaintiff’s primary injury was a hand, wrist or finger injury.
Hand and Wrist Injury Settlement Amounts
How much is a typical hand and wrist injury worth in a personal injury case? Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for calculating how much compensation you should get in a settlement for a wrist or hand injury. The potential value of a hand or wrist injury is very case specific and will depend on a number of different factors. The most important fact is always going to be the severity of the injury.
Hand and wrist injuries can be very serious and have major impact on your ability to work and do the things you like. We use our hands for literally everything, from driving and griping to typing and performing manual labor. There are very few jobs that do not require the use of your hands. This means that any sort of permanent hand or wrist injury can potentially result in full or partial disability.
The hand is one of the most commonly injured body parts in workplace accidents. Hand injuries rank second behind back injuries as the most frequently type of occupational injury. Hand injuries are also very common outside the workplace, partly because we use our hands for so many things. Approximately 20% of all visits to the hospital emergency room involve injuries to the hand.
In personal injury cases, hand and wrist injuries occur most frequently in the context of auto accident cases. They are also fairly common in slip and fall cases, but auto accidents is where we see the most injuries involving the hand, wrist and fingers.
Types of Hand and Wrist Injuries and Their Settlement Value
Nationally, the average verdict award for hand and wrist injuries is approximately $630,000. The median verdict for hand and wrist injuries is significantly lower at $70,000. Why is there such a big gap between the average and the median verdict amount? The reason is because there are a small handful of hand and wrist injury cases that cause permanent, life-impacting consequences and this few cases end up generating very large verdicts that skew the overall average. The median verdict award is more reflective of what the typical amount of damages awarded for a hand or wrist injury.
Our accident lawyers have extensive experience handling cases involving hand and wrist injuries. Cases involving these injuries are more likely to settle and tend to generate higher settlement payouts, partly because insurance companies want to avoid the risk of a big verdict. Below is a summary of the different types of hand and wrist injuries that we most commonly ree in personal injury case.
- Bone Fractures: Fractures of one or more of the bones in the hands or wrists is probably one of the most common hand and wrist injuries in car accident cases. For the most part, bone fractures in the hands are not very severe and have a lower value, but wrist bone fractures are more serious and those cases have a higher value.
- Nerve Damage: The hands, wrists, and fingers are connected to the brain through nerve pathways. This is how the brain sends signals to control movement of the hands. Injuries to the hands and wrists in car accidents can cause damage to the nerves and result in permanent impairment. These are high value cases, but you often need to file suit and litigate to force the insurance company to make a fair offer.
- Crush Injury: A crush injury is one of the most severe types of hand and wrist injuries. A crush injury in a car crash usually happens in our attorneys’ experience when the hand gets crushed between objects like the steering wheel and the dashboard. it is usually a permanent injury. This can lead to significant tissue damage, fractures, and even the loss of fingers.
Calculating Settlement Amounts in Hand and Wrist injury Lawsuits
The impact of a hand or wrist injury can vary widely from person to person. Factors such as an individual’s age, overall health, occupation, and lifestyle can all influence the perceived severity of the injury. For example, a professional musician may experience more significant financial losses and emotional distress from a hand injury than a couch potato.
Here are some of the key variables attorneys, insurance adjusters, judges and juries look to when calcuating what a compensation payout should be:
In putting a settlement number on a hand or wrist injury case, you start with the medical bills. It is a crude way to do it but it really is where everyone starts, even plaintiffs’ lawyers. This includes all costs associated with your treatment, such as hospital bills, surgical procedures, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, and any medical equipment or assistive devices you require
Future Medical Costs
Our hand injury lawyers develop expert testimony if the patient may need more physical therapy, additional surgeries, long-term medication needs (which can be a surprisingly big number), or adaptive equipment.
When determining your settlement, consider the income you have lost or will continue to lose due to your hand and wrist injury. This involves accounting for missed workdays, reduced working hours, or any diminished earning capacity resulting from the injury. Both past and future lost wages should be taken into account, making it essential to document your employment history and any changes in your ability to work.
Pain and Suffering
It is hard to imagine a significand hand injury where the biggest part of the settlemetn calcuation is not pain and suffering. That is what these cases are about.
Quantifying non-economic damages like pain and suffering can be complex. These damages encompass the physical and emotional distress you’ve experienced due to your hand and wrist injury, as well as its impact on your overall quality of life.
Settlements often incorporate a multiplier applied to your economic damages to estimate the value of pain and suffering, though this can vary widely based on the specifics of your case. But sometimes the medical bills and other economic damages are not high in these cases. So hand injury lawyers sometimes do not put the medical bills into evidence to focus solely on the pain and suffering.
You have to remember that pain perception is subjective and can differ greatly from one person to another and this does impact settlement compensation payouts. Some victims may have a higher pain tolerance and be more resilient in coping with the discomfort associated with a hand or wrist injury. This subjectivity can affect how they perceive the injury’s impact on their daily life and, consequently, their settlement expectations.
The extent of disability or impairment resulting from your hand and wrist injury is a significant factor in determining your settlement. Medical experts – often the treating doctors – can evaluate the level of permanent impairment, which plays a vital role in assessing the financial compensation you should receive.
Similarly, the effectiveness of rehabilitation and recovery can also vary from person to person. Some individuals may respond well to treatment and achieve a near-complete recovery, while others may face ongoing challenges and limitations. These individual outcomes can influence settlement amount calculations. Because this, and all of these elements of pain and suffering, are baked into the cake when determining compensation payouts.
You need the coverage to bring a claim in 99% of these cases. But there is often insurance to be found in odd places. So you have to dig.
What jurisdiction or judicial venue your injury case is in can also have a big impact on the potential settlement value of your hand or wrist injury. Certain jurisdictions (or venues within a jurisdiction) are much more plaintiff-friendly compared to others. Juries in plaintiffs friendly jurisdictions tend to be much more willing to side with individual plaintiffs and hit big companies with large verdicts. If you case is in one of these plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions it will push the settlement value up because the insurance company will be less willing to risk going to trial.
Hand and Wrist Injury Verdicts & Settlements
Below are summaries of recent verdicts and publicly reported settlements from cases involving hand and/or wrist injuries.
$36,627 Verdict (Ohio 2023): The plaintiff, a female zookeeper, struck the front of the defendant’s car after he negligently made a left hand turn in front of her without yielding. The plaintiff suffered injuries to her right wrist in the accident. She sought $21,00 for medical expenses, $70,000 for lost wages, and $79,000 for pain and suffering, but the jury only awarded $36,000.
$100,000 Settlement (New Jersey 2023): The plaintiff, a minor, was riding his bicycle when he was struck by the defendant’s vehicle. The plaintiff suffered a fractured wrist and a fractured leg and the case settled for $100,000. More than half of the settlement was probably attributed to the leg fracture.
$82,370 Verdict (Washington 2023): The plaintiff, a grocery store manager, suffered a wrist injury resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome with decreased grip strength in an auto accident caused by the defendant who ran a red light. The verdict included $17,000 for past medical expenses and $19,000 for lost wages.
$22,386 Verdict (California 2023): The plaintiff suffered injuries to his right hand and wrist in a car accident. The verdict included $7,000 for past medical expenses and the remainder of the award was for past pain and suffering. No damages were awarded for future pain and suffering, or lost wages, so this case gives us a good idea of how much juries value the pain associated with a moderate wrist and hand injury.
$90,000 Arbitration Award (Washington 2023): The plaintiff was walking on the public sidewalk in Tacoma, Washington, when she tripped on a buckled/raised portion, landing face-first on the concrete. She suffered a fractured wrist and cuts and scraps to her face and brought a premises liability lawsuit against the business adjacent to the sidewalk for negligently failing to warn.
$117,500 Verdict (Alabama 2022): The plaintiff injured her right hand when it became stuck in a forklift as she slipped when getting off. The injury caused nerve damage resulting in chronic pain and she underwent surgery to relieve the nerve pressure on the wrist and hand. The verdict included a large portion for past medical expenses.
$124,779 Verdict (Louisiana 2022): The plaintiff and her daughter were at church services when a mechanical shade and its motor fell from the ceiling and struck them. The plaintiff suffered injuries to the ulnar side of her left wrist that required her to undergo arthroscopic surgery.
$175,000 Settlement (Idaho 2021): The plaintiff was rear-ended by the defendant. She suffered a fracture of her left hand and wrist which required multiple surgeries to correct. The case eventually settled for $175,000. Part of the reason for the high value in this case was that the medical expenses were likely very high due to the numerous surgeries.
Contact Miller & Zois About Hand and Wrist Injuries
If you have suffered a hand or wrist injury in a car accident or slip and fall, call our personal injury lawyers at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or contact us online.