An estimated 100 million Americans suffer with a knee injury. Many of these more serious injuries come from the trauma of a motor vehicle accident.
Average Knee Injury Compensation
Jury awards vary wildly in knee injury cases. There are two big variables: (1) the severity of the injury, (2) whether there was a prexisting problem with the knee that contributed to the injury.
Here are some statistics of interest:
- The average jury verdict is approximately $360,000
- The median jury verdict is approximately $110,000
- One out of 12 knee injury verdicts was over $1 million
- Rear-end accident verdicts have a median of under $10,000
That last statistic does not surprise: the mechanism of injury in these cases is such that you do not expect a serous leg injury in a rear end accident. It definately happens but it is pretty rare.
- 2014, Maryland: $135,000 Settlement. Plaintiff, a pedestrian, suffered a serious right knee fracture after being struck as she walked through a parking lot in Baltimore County. Plaintiff required surgery as a result of the fracture. Subsequent to the surgery, the 76 year old Plaintiff contracted an infection, which prolonged her recovery by several months. The State Auto insured Defendant claimed that she was able to stop her vehicle in time, and that she didn’t make contact with the Plaintiff. She further contended that the Plaintiff was contributorily negligent for walking through the parking lot with her head down. The case concluded at mediation, resulting in a $135,000 settlement. Miller & Zois handled this case.
- 2013, New York: $375,000 Settlement/Verdict. Plaintiff, a 29-year-old construction worker is a passenger involved in a head-on collision with a vehicle while executing a left turn. Plaintiff presents to a hospital 12 hours later with complaints of neck, back, and left knee pain. After two weeks, Plaintiff complains about a painful condition in right knee. Plaintiff sues his driver, the owner of the vehicle, and the driver of the other vehicle claiming derangement of cervical and lumbar spine, a tear in posterior horn of each knees' lateral meniscus, and a bucket-handle tear of his right medial meniscus. Over two and a half years, Plaintiff has three knee surgeries, trigger-point injections, and physical therapy. Parties stipulate to $77,843.13 in prior bills.
2012, Maryland: $600,000 Settlement. Plaintiff, 27, is approaching a crossover when a dump truck pulls directly out in front of him, causing him to swerve to the right. Plaintiff is unable to avoid coming into contact with the rear of Defendant’s vehicle, and after striking the dump truck, is further overturned when he is struck by a tractor-trailer. Plaintiff sustains a fracture/dislocation of the left hip, left knee, and left leg, dislocation of the left foot, fracture of the left elbow, left eye laceration and right wrist laceration. Plaintiff undergoes surgery for closed reduction of the left hip; closed reduction of the left fourth and fifth metatarsophalangeal joint dislocations; and open reduction internal fixation of the left elbow. Plaintiff contends permanency as well as a possible need for a total hip replacement in the case of avascular necrosis or post-traumatic arthritis. Plaintiff sues both drivers and the dump truck’s employer. The case settles for $600,000, days prior to the trial. This was a Miller & Zois settlement.
2012, Maryland: $100,000 Arbitration Award. Plaintiff, a 19-year-old administrative assistant is rear-ended while stopped at a red traffic light. She is struck with such force that her vehicle comes to rest on the opposite side of the intersection. Plaintiff suffers neck, back, and left ankle sprains, as well as left knee and ankle contusions and a left knee medial meniscal tear. Plaintiff undergoes arthroscopic surgery to her left knee and subsequently suffers a deep vein thrombosis which leading to a significant period of anticoagulant therapy. Additional knee surgery is recommended; however, Plaintiff is hesitant to undergo additional surgeries given the resulting DVT after her prior surgery. It is determined that Defendant had been drinking at the time of the accident and feel asleep at the wheel. The case is arbitrated and the arbiter awards more than $100,000 which is reduced to the high/low agreement of $100,000. Miller & Zois handled this claim.
- 2011, New York: $144,000 Verdict. Plaintiffs, husband and wife, are rear-ended by Defendant. Both claim back, neck, and knee injuries. Husband claims tears and sprains in both knees, as well as several disc herniations and bulges. Husband returns to work after two days, but is unable to work full-time for eight months. He receives physical therapy for four months. Wife claims a medial meniscus tear, as well as several herniations with radiculopathy. She undergoes an arthroscoic meniscectomy, two chondroplasties, and a synovectomy of the left knee and receives therapy, two to three days a week for almost a year. Defendant’s experts claim that both husband and wife’s knee injuries are unrelated to the accident. Jury awards husband $43,000 and wife $101,000.
- 2011, New York: $20,000 Verdict. Plaintiff, a 55-year-old seamstress is struck in the left knee by a car while trying to cross the street. Plaintiff claims a pedestrian-traffic signal provided the right of way. The vehicle’s driver did not stop and was never identified. Plaintiff receives minor treatment at the hospital, and after being discharged, immediately presents to a physiatrist complaining of knee pain. Plaintiff undergoes 16 weeks of therapy and claims residual pain with reduction in range of movement. Plaintiff sues the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corp which compensates victims of motor-vehicle accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists. Jury finds the unidentified motorist to be negligent, but assigns Plaintiff 25% of liability. They further find that she did not suffer permanent limitation of the knee, and award $20,000. The comparative-negligence reduction produced a net recovery of $15,000.
- 2010, Virginia: $225,000 Verdict. Plaintiff, 58, is driving when she is struck by Defendant, causing her vehicle to spin. Her airbag deploys as a result of the accident. Plaintiff’s presents to the ER with facial burns from the airbag, as well as head, neck, and shoulder discomfort. Plaintiff presents to the ER again, 10 days later, with complaints of swelling in both knees. Fluid is removed from the right knee, she is diagnosed with a partial meniscus tear, and undergoes surgery within a month. Plaintiff claims $48,468 in past medicals and $32,800 in future. Plaintiff’s expert testifies that her meniscus was weakened by her arthritis and age, and that she was asymptomatic prior to the accident. Defendant argues that her injury was not as a result of the accident, as she did not complain of knee pain for ten days. The jury sides with the Plaintiff and awards her $225,000.
- 2010, New York: $10,000 Verdict. Plaintiff, 50, slows to a stop for an accident ahead while traveling on the parkway, when he is rear-ended by the Defendant. Plaintiff sustains a torn medial and lateral meniscus of his right knee, requiring two surgeries, as well as a C5 avulsion fracture. Plaintiff claims he will need a future surgery as well as a knee replacement on the opposite leg. He claims $6,700,000 for past and future pain and suffering and past and future medical treatment. Defendant alleges that the Plaintiff first struck the car in front of him prior to being rear-ended. Defendant’s experts claim that the surgeries were not related to the accident, and that any knee degeneration stemmed from preexisting diabetic neuropathy. The jury determines that Plaintiff’s damages total $10,000 for past pain and suffering.
- 2010, Virginia: $396,000 Verdict/Interest. Plaintiff, a 50-year-old Contract Accountant and part-time volunteer firefighter, claims a permanent knee injury after being rear-ended. Plaintiff previously underwent a knee replacement. Plaintiff claims she was required to have a revision of the prior surgery, leaving her with a 2% permanent partial disability, and an inability to continue as a volunteer firefighter. Defendant disputes causation, and alleges that Plaintiff first struck the vehicle in front of her, and had no brake lights for him to notice. Plaintiff was awarded $336,000 for compensatory damages plus approximately $60,000 in pre-judgment interest.