Below are a list of jury verdicts and out-of-court settlements in personal injury cases involving the hand, wrist or finger. You can find Maryland verdicts here along with some words of wisdom about keeping in context the extent to which you can use this data to value your case.
- 2013, Virginia: $1,350,000 Settlement. Plaintiff, a 19-year-old groundsman, is changing the auger on a LoDrill, used to dig up to 60 feet, when the 5,000 lb Kelly bars dropped onto this hand. While trying to free his hand, the bar falls a second time. His hand is crushed, and he undergoes emergency surgery where he receives partial amputation of his hand and fingers. He requires multiple subsequent surgeries and loses two fingers, a portion of his thumb, and a portion of his palm. He claims $85,000 in past medical expenses. Plaintiff sues the manufacturer of the drill and rental company. It is discovered that the drill was sold “as is” and no inspections were performed. It is determined that the bars failed due to their deteriorated condition. The manufacturer tenders its limits of $250,000 during the first mediation. After a three-day trial against the rental company, the jury is deadlocked. Two years and a second failed mediation later, the case settles two days before trial for an additional $1,100,000.
- 2013, Pennsylvania: $2,450,000 Verdict. A young man is working as a temp in a paper shredding company. He is tasked with using an Allegheny Model Z-1000 commercial paper shredder. The shredder often jams, which requires the plaintiff to stick his hand into the machine and clear out any obstructions. When clearing a particularly difficult jam, a fellow employee sets the paper shredder into reverse and plaintiff’s left arm, and hand are eviscerated by the machine. The man’s arm and hand are completely crushed and require amputation at the mid-forearm. The plaintiff brings suit, alleging that the company was negligent by failing to warn of the dangers of the machine, failing to install a protective guard on the shredder, and failing to modernize the shredder. Plaintiff seeks damages for pain and suffering, loss of wages, loss of earning capacity, medical expenses, humiliation, and disfigurement. Defendants argue that plaintiff was negligent for substantially altering the shredder by removing the original guard. Additionally, they claim that they had told the injured man three times not to stick his hand into the machine (including five minutes before the accident) and that the plaintiff admitted to being high at the time of the accident. The parties reach a $2,450,000 settlement in Berks County.
- 2013, Florida: $199,740 Verdict. A woman is attempting to direct a dog out of her yard when suddenly and without provocation the dog bites her hand. The bite causes permanent injuries and the woman files suit against the owners for medical bills. The owners of the Chow dog, who were aware of its propensity to bite, fled the scene after the attack and later deny liability. A Palm Beach County awards the victim $199,740.
- 2013, California: $20,000 Settlement. A four-year-old is playing in her back yard when she loses her toy over a fence. When she uses a chair to reach over the dividing wall defendant’s dog jumps up and bites the girl on the hand. Defendants deny liability but eventually reach a $20,000 settlement in San Bernardino County.
- 2013, New York: $875,000 Verdict. Plaintiff is working at a construction site when he is instructed by the defendants to stand on a forklift and shovel dirt into a truck. The forklift starts to backup and descend, causing the plaintiff to lose his balance. He grips a part of the forklift to keep from falling but gets his hand crushed in the mechanism. He suffers several finger fractures and lacerations to his left hand. Plaintiff claims that the forklift was in an unsafe condition and that the defendants failed to provide proper safety features. A Queen’s County jury decides that the construction company was 75% at fault and awards the injured plaintiff $875,000 for medical bills and future pain and suffering.
- 2012, Minnesota: $47,009 Verdict. Plaintiff is visiting defendant’s auto shop when he asks her to help him move his car. Unfortunately, the car lurches forward and pins the plaintiff’s hand between the vehicle and a work bench. Her left hand and wrist are crushed, causing a distal radius fracture and fractured fingers. Plaintiff claims that defendant was negligent for putting her, with very little experience with cars, in harm’s way and for failing to manage a safe a garage. Defendant admits liability but disputes the lost earnings claim because she had been unemployed for over a year before the accident. A Roseau County jury awards $47,009, but the plaintiff has filed a motion for new trial based on claims of jury misconduct and insufficient award.
- 2012, Pennsylvania: $109,000,000 Verdict. A woman and her mother-in-law observe a fire on a power line behind her house. She retrieves her cell phone to call 9-1-1. She moves to the side of the yard in an attempt to get better service when a 7200-volt power line installed by the defendants falls and comes into contact with her. Plaintiff is continually shocked for twenty minutes and catches fire. Her mother-in-law receives burns on her fingertips and is thrown several feet when she attempts to assist plaintiff. Plaintiff’s children observe her mother being electrocuted and on fire. Plaintiff sustains burns on 90% of her body and several of her fingers on her left hand are severed. Her left arm is amputated in an attempt to save her life, but she dies less than three days after the accident. Her husband brings suits on her behalf, arguing wrongful death, negligence, and infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiff argues that the defendants were negligent in the installation and care of the wires, as well as in the training of its employees. There had been a similar occurrence of the wire falling in the same place within the last five years. Defendants claim that the woman knowingly and voluntarily assumed the risk when she approached the obviously dangerous wire. They also contend that the entry wound on her hand reveals that she might have tried to touch the wire. An Allegheny County jury found that the plaintiff was not negligent and awarded $48,000,000 in medical/emotional distress expenses and an incredible $61,000,000 in punitive damages (an award that would not be available in a Maryland case).
- 2011, North Carolina: $4,000,000 Verdict. Plaintiff, 53, suffers a horrific degloving and crushing injury to her left hand requiring ten surgeries. Defendant, traveling approximately 90 mph in a rental car, attempted to pass between Plaintiff and another vehicle. In doing so, she struck both vehicles, causing the Plaintiff’s vehicle to overturn, and crush her hand between her car and the pavement. Plaintiff sues the driver of the vehicle and the man who rented the car. Plaintiff also has an underinsured claim. GEICO, Utica, and GMAC were all involved. Plaintiff was awarded $ 269,382 for medicals; $5,915 for lost wages; and $3,724,700 in non-economic damages.
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