Elsewhere on this website, we talk about the challenges of valuing rib injury case. Insurance companies look at these injuries as less significant because they break out of the insurance companies model of valuing non-catastrophic injury cases based on the amount of treatment received. As you know if you have fractured or broken your ribs, there is not much modern medicine can do to help you heal from this injury. The only cure in most cases is time to heal.
This shifts the focus from the cost of the medical bills as a barometer of the settlement value to the pain and suffering of the victim. How much pain did the victim endure from broken or fractured ribs? No one knows but the victim. Not surprisingly, the State Farms and GEICOs of the world assume the victim was not it all that much pain. Victims who went through the pain and agony of the injury are going to see the value of the case very differently.
- 2019, Oregon: $1.1 Million Verdict. The plaintiff, a 66 year-old pharmacist, is driving his motorcycle down Highway 30. The defendant made a U-turn in front of him. The victim had a number of injuries which, was we have discussed, is often the case in fractured fib cases. He had a fractured tibia and fibula as well as broken ribs. The jury awarded $1,158,750 in damages, including $658,750 in medical expenses and $500,000 in non-economic damages.
- 2016, Idaho: $95,000 Settlement. A 75-year-old pedestrian is struck by the defendant's vehicle while defendant is reversing his vehicle into a service bay. As a result of the impact, the man suffers fractured ribs, a lung injury, and a hand laceration. The plaintiff alleges the defendant was attempting to go against the flow of traffic and struck him in an area of high pedestrian activity. The defendant argues comparative negligence. The parties settle the case for $95,000.
- 2016, Michigan:$37,500 Settlement. Plaintiff is a passenger in a vehicle when another car runs a red light and strikes the vehicle he is riding in. He suffers three broken ribs, a closed head injury, and minor injuries to his neck, back, and shoulders. He brings a claim against his insurer, State Farm, to recover personal protection insurance benefits. State Farm denied liability, but settled for $37,500.
- 2015, Connecticut: $1,785,368 Verdict. An 89-year-old man is driving his vehicle northbound on I-84 and approaching an intersection with a traffic signal. The plaintiff proceeds through the intersection on a green traffic signal when defendant's vehicle also enters the intersection and collides with plaintiffs. The plaintiff suffers three fractured left ribs and bilateral hip fractures. He sues defendant, alleging she failed to stop for her red traffic signal. Defendant denies the allegations, arguing her light was green and that the plaintiff failed to stop for a red traffic signal. Defendant produces two witnesses to corroborate his story, and a jury awards him $205,368 in economic damages and $1,580,000 in non-economic damages. The hard part about using this verdict to put a settlement value on a rib injury is that, like many other rib injury cases, there are other injuries involved. Certainly, the hip fractures drove the settlement value of this claim.
- 2015, Florida:$400,000 Verdict. A 57-year old female buys a vehicle from the defendant, and soon after the car stalls and the plaintiff brings the vehicle back. Defendants give her a loaner car, which had previously been used for a year and then came back into defendant's possession. The defendant fails to replace the brakes. While the plaintiff is driving the loaner vehicle, the brakes fail and this causes a collision. In the collision, the plaintiff fractures her ribs, sustains a laceration and scarring to her forehead, and suffers a fractured ankle. She argues the defendant was negligent in failing to make repairs before giving the vehicle to her to use. A trial, the plaintiff produces a video showing the brakes did not work in a test done after the accident occurred. A jury found that the defendant was 70% negligent, and the verdict is reduced to $280,000.
- 2015, Idaho: $82,500 Verdict. The plaintiff is traveling on the highway when defendant attempts to pass him on the left side. As defendant attempts this, defendant's vehicle swerves to the right and strikes the plaintiff's vehicle. This causes the plaintiff to lose control of his vehicle, which rolls over across the median and lands in oncoming traffic. The plaintiff suffers fractured ribs, a scalp laceration, and a shoulder injury. The parties agree on the value of the case (and that plaintiff was 35% negligent) prior to trial, and only go to trial on liability. A jury awards the plaintiff $82,500, which is reduced to $53,625 due to the plaintiff's agreed on contributory negligence.
- 2016, Minnesota:$79,725 Verdict. A 69-year-old female is driving her vehicle through an intersection when defendant's vehicle T-bone's hers. The woman suffers three fractured ribs, radiating pain, headaches, and injuries to her neck, shoulders, and back. She claims that the defendant was negligent and driving recklessly, as he was intoxicated and failed to stop for a stop sign at the intersection. The defendant admitted liability but claimed the woman's injuries were pre-existing. A jury awarded the woman $79,725.
- 2015, Alaska:$56,951 Verdict. Plaintiff is operating her vehicle when another driver runs a red light and strikes her car. She suffers fractured ribs, pneumonia, anxiety, and embarrassment as a result. She settles her claim with the other driver for his policy limits (the amount was unclear but, for our purposes, the overall award is what matters). She then seeks to recover underinsured motorist benefits from her insurance company. A jury awards him $56,951 from his insurer, State Farm.
- 2015, Texas: $50,000 Settlement. A minor boy is traveling in a vehicle operated by defendant when it was in a collision that allegedly was defendant's fault. The boy suffers multiple rib fractures and injuries to his back. The boy's mother files the claim, and the parties settle for $50,000.
- 2015, Ohio: $44,491 Verdict. A man is hit in the the front of his car by the defendant, who suddenly reversed her vehicle. As a result, the man suffers from three rib fractures. The defendant claims he had to suddenly stop due to another vehicle's action, but a jury found in favor of the the plaintiff and awarded him $44,491.60.
- 2015, Georgia: $37,300 Verdict. An adult male is driving his car when defendant's car collides with his. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant attempted to make a left turn in front of his vehicle and in doing so failed to yield the right-of-way. The plaintiff suffers broken ribs in addition to head lacerations, temporary unconsciousness, and neck, back, and knee injuries. The defendant disputed the plaintiff's claims, arguing he had a green turn arrow. A jury found the plaintiff to be 49% at fault and the defendant to be 51% at fault, so the original award of $37,300 is reduced to $19,023.
- 2015, Texas: $20,000 Settlement. A minor female is riding on the school bus when the bus goes over a speed bump. The girl falls out of her seat and strikes her stomach, sustaining multiple rib fractures. Her parents file a claim against the school district seeking compensation, and defendant denies liability but agrees to settle for $20,000.
- 2015, Pennsylvania:$15,000 Settlement. An adult male is riding his motorcycle when it is struck by defendant's Jeep. He suffers six broken ribs and a concussion in an addition to right shoulder and right hip swelling/bruising. He alleges that defendant was negligent in attempting to pass him on the left and then whipped her Jeep into an illegal left turn and struck his motorcycle. The defendant denied negligence and argued that the plaintiff attempted to pass him on the left by crossing the median. The plaintiff took the case to an arbitration. The arbitrator awarded $15,000.
Sample verdict and settlements are great for helping lawyers and victims understand the possible range of settlement value of broken or fractured rib cases. But it is important to remember these little blurbs cannot give you all of the facts that went into the success of failure of that case. Accordingly, use these cases to help value your case but do not put too much stock into their ability alone to predict the settlement value of your case because no prior result can do that for you. Also, keep in mind these are car accident cases where verdicts and settlements are easy to collect. In assault and battery cases, the settlements and verdicts are going to be higher but it is also may be more difficult to actually collect a judgment in those cases because there is rarely an insurance company standing behind intentional tort claims.Getting a Lawyer for Your Failure to Diagnose Malpractice Claim
If you have suffered a rib injury in a car accident, our law firm can help you. If you are a victim in Maryland or Washington, D.C., call Miller & Zois today to speak at 800-553-8082. If you are outside of Maryland, we will likely be able to find a great lawyer for you without an increase in your attorneys' fees. Click here and tell us about your case and we will recommend someone who can help you.