Our lawyers handle permanent injury lawsuits. This page is about expected settlement amounts in typical and not-so-typical permanent injury claims. Our attorneys handle these claims not only in Maryland but throughout the country with a team of partner law firms.
If you have a permanent injury claim and want to maximize the settlement amount of your lawsuit, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation anywhere in the U.S.
Permanent Injury Claims
A permanent injury is a physical or even mental injury that restricts a personal injury plaintiff’s job or activities for the remainder of the plaintiff’s life. The existence of a permanent injury is usually the factor that most drives the permanent injury settlement amounts.
In a legal system that awards compensation for the extent of the plaintiff’s pain or suffering, it naturally follows that insurance adjusters, defense lawyers, judges, and juries are going to place a higher value on pain or suffering that is expected to last for the rest of the plaintiff’s life. Jurors are far more moved by pain that will last forever than pain that occurred in the past.
Our accident lawyers often ask juries to award compensation for every day of the remainder of the plaintiff’s life (based on the plaintiff’s life expectancy). The purpose is to receive money compensation for the plaintiff who has to deal with the suffering their injuries will bring every single day for the rest of their lives (subject to the cap on non-economic damages that exist in some states).
How does that work practically? The CDC life tables are admissible at trial in most states. So you calculate how many years the victim has left and the jury puts a number on that loss for a permanent injury. The judge will use that number and plug it into the pattern jury instruction on life expectancy. Our lawyers have never had a problem getting life tables admitted. (We tried a case once where the judge asked us for the foundation for admitting the life tables. We had no idea. EVERY JUDGE lets you put in life tables. But our trial lawyers quickly did some research and found what we knew that we knew.)
Vocational Rehabilitation Expert
As you would expect, an injury resulting in loss of earning capacity or pain and suffering that will last in the injury victim’s entire life should bring about a higher damage award from a Maryland jury than an only temporary injury.
If you have a disability from an accident or malpractice that makes employment impossible or limits your ability to perform the job you once had, you can get compensation for this loss.
One of the challenges for our accident lawyers is to translate a permanent injury – such as a severed arm or leg, a disabling back or neck injury, or a herniated disc – into a fair dollar figure.
One way our attorneys do this is we flush out the full economic damages to the injury victim. In many of our lawyers’ personal injury accident cases in Maryland, our attorneys hire a vocational rehabilitation expert to estimate the accident victim’s lost wages as a result of the auto or truck accident.
Vocational rehabilitation experts design a plan for the crash victim to return to the employment market despite the injuries suffered. These experts calculate the cost of retraining to a new job that is best suited for the plaintiff. The injured victim usually cannot go back to as lucrative a job as the one that he/she left (particularly if the job was physical).
So the vocational rehabilitation expert estimates what the plaintiff would have made if the injury had never occurred and compares that amount to the expected wages to be earned in the new job (plus the cost of retraining or further education). We ask the jury to award as part of the economic damages the difference between these two amounts.
Example Permanent Injury Settlement Amounts
- 2021, Tennessee: $12,000,000 Verdict. A man was struck on an interstate highway. The impact caused him to come to a rest on the shoulder lane. The man was subsequently struck by another vehicle. He suffered severe leg injuries. The man underwent below-the-knee amputation of both legs. He alleged negligence against the two at-fault drivers. The man claimed they both failed to maintain an appropriate lookout and safely operate their vehicles. He received a $12,000,000 verdict.
- 2021, Florida: $6,640,031 Verdict. A 29-year-old man was struck by a jackknifed semi-truck. He subsequently struck a concrete barricade. The man suffered several permanent injuries, including an L5-S1 herniation with nerve root involvement and an L4-5 bulge with radiculopathy. He developed chronic pain. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault truck driver. He claimed he improperly controlled his truck. The man received $6,640,031.
- 2021, Florida: $119,365,000 Verdict. A man was T-boned. He sustained a spinal cord injury. The man was left paraplegic. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed he negligently ran a stop sign and failed to yield the right-of-way. A jury awarded him $119,365,000.
- 2020, Mississippi: $4,999,717 Verdict. A 50-something man was rear-ended by a truck. He suffered a severe permanent brain injury. The man developed anosmia, ageusia, diminished vision, and executive function difficulties. He required two years of in-patient treatments and lifelong supervision. The man alleged negligence against the truck driver. He claimed he failed to timely brake and maintain a proper lookout. The jury awarded $4,999,717.
- 2020, Wisconsin: $2,000,000 Settlement A 6-year-old passenger was involved in a three-vehicle collision. She suffered severe spinal injuries. The girl developed paraplegia. Her parents alleged negligence against the at-fault drivers. They claimed they failed to yield to a stop sign and maintain an appropriate lookout. This case resolved for a settlement amount of $2 million.
How Much Is a Permanent Injury Worth?
The average trial or settlement value of a serious permanent injury is around $200,000 to $500,000 depending on various factors such as the type of injury and circumstances of the plaintiff. The potential value of a permanent injury will also vary based on the type of tort case involved. Injuries in medical malpractice cases have a higher value compared to auto tort cases because there is more insurance available to cover the loss.
What Is a Typical Personal Injury Settlement?
The average settlement in a personal injury case depends on many factors but the most significant is severity of the injury. For minor injuries, the average settlement is around $15,000 to $25,000. For moderate injuries, the value is around $50,000 to $125,000. For serious injuries, the average settlement is closer to $200,000 to $500,000.
What Does Permanent Injury Mean?
In the context of a tort case, permanent injury usually means any type of physical injury that has a negative impact on the victim for the remainder of their life. In workers comp cases, however, permanent injury could mean an injury that results in a partial or total “permanent” disability rating.
Life Care Expert
Many accident victims who have suffered a catastrophic injury need what personal injury lawyers call a life care plan expert. Our lawyers see these plans most frequently in birth injury cases but they have applications in every case where the victim needs ongoing care. The International Academy of Life Care Planning defines a life care plan as, ”… a dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis, and research, which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs with associated costs for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs.”
Accordingly, a life care planning expert must coordinate with the accident victim’s treating doctors to determine the plaintiff’s future medical care and needs. Maryland personal injury attorneys representing accident victims use a life care plan to assist in compiling the economic injury to the crash victim and to articulate to the jury the kind of care and the cost of that care that will be required throughout the injured victim’s life.