Arthritis is such a severe injury because it is permanent. Our clients who suffer from arthritis do not get better over time. They get worse.
This page looks at the settlement compensation you can generally expect in personal injury claims where arthritis is a significant component of the victim’s injuries.
Personal Injury Claims Alleging Arthritis
Arthritis is a common condition that can develop due to injuries from car accidents, medical malpractice, and other personal injury claims. When arthritis is caused by someone else’s negligence, seeking damages for the injury may be possible through a settlement or jury payout.
Arthritis, as virtually all of you reading this knows, is a joint disorder that results in inflammation and pain in one or more joints. There are many types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Each type of arthritis has its own causes, symptoms, and treatments. The common thread in every type of arthritis is that it affects a person’s overall quality of life, making daily activities such as dressing, bathing, or cooking a challenge and a chore. It can also make it difficult to sleep, which can lead to feelings of fatigue or irritability.
Arthritis can result from various factors, and in the context of personal injury lawsuits, it often stems from traumatic events such as car accidents, slip and falls, workplace accidents, or sports injuries. In these cases, the arthritis is considered a secondary injury that arises due to the initial trauma.
Linking Arthritis and Your Injury
In a personal injury lawsuit involving arthritis, the plaintiff (injured party) typically seeks to establish the defendant’s liability (the party responsible for the injury). This involves proving that the defendant’s actions or negligence directly caused the traumatic event that led to the arthritis.
This will require medical evidence, such as x-rays, MRIs, or other diagnostic tests, demonstrating the injury’s existence and extent and resulting arthritis. It usually requires good lawyering and strong medical experts – typically treating doctors – who can establish a solid causal connection. You need a doctor who will stand up and connect the dots between the injury caused by negligence and the arthritis.
If a causal link is established, the injured person may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering caused by arthritis and any related medical expenses or lost wages.
The amount of compensation that may be awarded in a personal injury claim that includes arthritis will depend on several factors, including the severity of the injury, the impact of arthritis on the injured person’s life, and the extent of any related medical expenses or lost wages.
Types of Compensable Damages
In these lawsuits, plaintiffs typically seek compensation for various damages to be included in any settlement amount, including:
- Medical Expenses: This may include past and future medical bills related to the treatment of arthritis.
- Pain and Suffering: Arthritis can result in chronic pain and limitations in mobility, leading to claims for physical and emotional suffering.
- Lost Wages: If the arthritis prevents the plaintiff from working or affects their earning capacity, they may seek compensation for lost wages.
- Rehabilitation Costs: In some cases, plaintiffs may require rehabilitation or physical therapy to manage arthritis symptoms.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Arthritis can impact a person’s ability to engage in activities they once enjoyed, leading to claims for the loss of enjoyment of life.
How much are arthritis cases worth?
Jury Verdict Research reports that the median jury payouts over the past 10 years, in personal injury cases involving arthritis injuries, is $38,867.00. This study involved personal injury verdicts where the victim’s primary injury involved inflammation, pain, and/or weakness in their joints or muscles.
The study underscored what personal injury lawyers around the country have long known about these cases: juries struggle with them, and this is reflected in many, but not all, settlement amounts offered to victims. This is borne out by the numbers – the median jury award of what we call “pure” arthritis cases is $121,538.00; the median fibromyalgia jury award is approximately $23,000.00.
Insurance adjusters love to ignore Maryland law that provides recovery for exacerbations of preexisting injuries. When they are not ignoring that law, they are bundling all the injury victim’s problems and drop them on the doorstep of the original injury.
Why arthritis cases are better than many lawyers think?
Many attorneys run from taking preexisting injury cases – particularly when the prior injury is serious – because they fear they cannot apportion the harm. If there are two or more causes of an injury, and indivisibility is not apparent, a Maryland plaintiff has to show either (1) the harm is not divisible or (2) Both the preexisting cause and the new cause produced the harm. Sometimes this is an impossible hurdle, but, in most cases, this task is very doable when lawyers take the time and money to get medical opinions before accepting or rejecting the case.
What Type of Arthritis is Caused by a Car Accident Injury?
Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by a joint injury such as a fracture or dislocation that our lawyers often see as a delayed injury from car accidents. It is a form of osteoarthritis that affects more than 5 million people annually.
Symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis include pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness or sensitivity in the affected joint. An injury to a joint can cause post-traumatic arthritis and can be diagnosed through a physical exam and imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. Treatment for post-traumatic arthritis includes everything you might expect: weight loss, low-impact exercise, physical therapy, wearing a brace, and surgery if the arthritis is severe and affects quality of life. Surgical options include debridement, joint fusion, or joint replacement. Do people get results from this kind of treatment? Some do.
Sample Arthritis Settlements Amount and Jury Payouts
When determining a jury payout or settlement amount in cases involving arthritis as a component of the plaintiff’s injuries, it can be challenging to precisely assess the portion of the award attributable to arthritis alone.
This difficulty arises because most cases involve multiple injuries, and arthritis is just one of them. So it is often difficult to attribute a specific monetary value to the arthritis component of the case.
Jury payouts and settlements may encompass compensation for a range of injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other damages, making it challenging for anyone looking at a verdict or settlement summary to isolate the impact of arthritis alone. Because settlement compensation or jury payout in these cases are not broken down by injury. Values are determined in the real world based on a holistic assessment of the plaintiff’s overall suffering and losses. These claims almost always include multiple injuries and their cumulative effects.
The following are recent verdicts and settlements in personal injury cases involving arthritis:
- 2023 Virginia: $235,000. A 56-year-old woman sustained a dashboard injury to her left knee and an aggravation of previously asymptomatic arthritis in her lower back radiating into her left hip during a T-bone collision. The plaintiff’s initial treatment involved physical therapy for approximately three months, followed by SI injections, medial branch blocks, and radiofrequency ablation to address persistent lower back and left hip pain. After a two-year gap in treatment, a cortisone injection was administered in her left knee due to ongoing pain. The plaintiff sought $55,395.75 in past medical bills, with no wage loss claim, and the final offer was $101,750. After a day of trial and deliberation, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her $235,000 plus interest on the medical expenses from January 1, 2021.
- 2022 Illinois: $62,202 Verdict. The plaintiff allegedly suffered a torn labrum when the defendant rear-ended her vehicle at a stop sign, which also allegedly caused the plaintiff’s previously asymptomatic arthritis to become symptomatic.
- 2021 Virginia: $152,282 Verdict. The plaintiff suffered multiple disc herniations with radiculopathy, hand numbness, and right shoulder arthritis in a three-vehicle incident allegedly caused by the defendant.
- 2021 California: $145,000 Verdict. The plaintiff suffered a traumatic chondral injury and aggravation of an arthritis condition in her right knee, requiring total knee replacement surgery when, while a tenant at a property owned by the defendants, her leg collapsed through the bedroom floor of her apartment and through a hole in the ceiling in the parking garage.
- 2020, Florida: $450,913 Verdict. A USPS-owned delivery vehicle attempted to turn left and struck a woman’s vehicle, causing it to overturn. The woman suffered the aggravation of her preexisting arthritis, the aggravation of her preexisting bronchial issues, a head injury, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her head injury developed into post-concussive syndrome. She alleged that the Postal Service driver failed to yield the right-of-way. The Postal Service disputed the nature and extent of the woman’s injuries. The court ruled in favor of the woman and awarded $450,913.
- 2020, California: $1,200,000 Settlement. A 65-year-old woman attended a show at a city-run performance arts center. She tripped on an exposed wire in a darkened area of the center. The woman suffered fractures to her heel and ankle. She also suffered from post-traumatic arthritis. Her counsel claimed she would need triple arthrodesis surgery to treat her injuries. She sued the City of Cerritos for creating dangerous conditions by failing to properly inspect and maintain the premises. The woman also contended that triple arthrodesis surgery would leave her with limited function. This case would settle for $1,200,000.
- 2019, Washington: $500,000 Settlement. A construction worker fell into an unprotected depression while doing demolition work. He twisted his foot and ankle. The man was eventually diagnosed with a left heel bone fracture and traumatic calcaneocuboid joint arthritis. He underwent triple fusion surgery to his midtarsal joint to treat his injuries. The case settled for $500,000. This case underscores, unfortunately, how hard it is to piece out the arthritis part of a case. Obviously, the bulk of this award was not for arthritis, but this is how compensation for arthritis usually presents itself, as a co-traveler with other injuries.
- 2019, Pennsylvania: $20,000 Arbitration Award. A man’s vehicle was rear-ended while stopped at a red light. He suffered spinal injuries, cervical radiculopathy, and a left shoulder tear. The man underwent surgery to repair his left shoulder, resulting in arthritis. He sued the other driver for failing to stop at a red light and take evasive action to avoid a collision. The board of arbitrators ruled in favor of the man and awarded him $20,000.
- 2019, Iowa: $15,000 Verdict. A pedestrian experienced the aggravation of his preexisting arthritis after a vehicle backed into him in a grocery store parking lot. He sued the driver for negligence and the car’s owner for vicarious liability. They both denied liability, claiming the man failed to keep a proper lookout. The jury awarded $15,000.
- 2019, Florida: $400,000 Settlement. A 71-year-old woman was rear-ended by an unidentifiable motorist in a stolen vehicle. She suffered a brain injury, post-traumatic headaches, spinal pain, a disc herniation, and the aggravation of his right knee and ankle’s degenerative arthritis. The woman contended that the tortfeasor ran a red light at over 100 mph before rear-ending her vehicle at an intersection. This case settled for $400,000.
- 2018, New Jersey: $90,000 Settlement. A 50-something woman was a passenger in a vehicle struck on the passenger side as it entered a strip mall. Her host vehicle then struck another vehicle, which was leaving the strip mall. She suffered multiple disc herniations and bulges and the aggravation of her previously asymptomatic arthritis. Before trial, the case settled for $90,000.
- 2018, New York: $300,000 Settlement. A 55-year-old woman slipped and fell into a puddle of water in a hospital. She was there to visit an emergency room patient. The woman suffered a meniscus tear and traumatic arthritis. She would need arthroscopic surgery to repair her tear and knee replacement surgery to treat her arthritis. The woman sued the hospital for failing to maintain the premises. She noted the puddle came from a pitcher on a nurse’s desk. The hospital contended her injuries, claiming she had surgery on her ACL ten years ago. The woman maintained that the knee fluid revealed in her MRI was new and unrelated to the prior surgery. This case settled for $300,000.
Hiring a Lawyer for Your Claim
Our lawyers handle personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout the country. But for most lawsuits where arthritis is a key part of the claim, we primarily handle cases in the Baltimore-Washington area only.
If you have a claim, call us at 800-553-8082 or reach out to us online for a free consultation. If you are looking for a lawyer and are not in our area, click on the online consultation link and ask us who we recommend.