Wrist Fracture Settlement and Verdicts

wrist injury cases

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Over the last 20 years, our car accident lawyers have handled many wrist fracture cases.  We have seen wrist fracture cases with very high, very low, and everything in between. Our firm has a history of maximizing the trial and settlement value of wrist injury lawsuits.

What Is the Settlement Value of the Average Wrist Fracture Claim?

The settlement value of a wrist fracture claim will vary wildly with the severity of the fracture. Some time ago, Metro Verdicts Monthly provided the median verdict and settlement value of wrist fracture cases over the last 22 years. The average settlement/verdict in Washington D.C. is $105,000. Maryland is less than half that: $50,000. The average settlement/verdict in a wrist fracture case in Virginia is $52,583.

Maryland jury verdicts in severe personal injury cases are generally higher in the District of Columbia. Again, I don’t know the methodology of how MVM gets its numbers. For example, relying on personal injury lawyers reporting that data could skew the data. 

Because Metro Verdicts includes settlements in their statistics, it is hard not to suspect that data is skewed. Car accident settlements get reported if you Metro Verdicts and tell them you settled a case. But there are so few sources of settlement statistics in personal injury cases. So it is hard not to find fractured wrist settlement compensation data like this interesting.

I would love to see a jurisdiction comparison of Baltimore City and all the counties in Maryland. Most wrist injuries we see are fractures.  A fracture is a broken bone.  Many of these cases are comminuted wrist fracture cases, which means it is not one clean, bony fragment but multiple fragments.  These cases will have a higher average settlement value.   Also, there is a more significant injury settlement value when a fracture that extends into the joint is called an intra-articular fracture.  Ultimately, the more severe and permanent the injury is, the greater the value of the case.

Wrist Injuries on the Rise

There is no question that wrist injuries are on the rise?  Why?  Everyone has airbags now.  When airbags deploy, arms and wrists often go flying, which causes a much higher number of wrist injuries. This leads to fractures and other injuries to the wrist and the two forearm bones, the ulna, and radius. As a result,  the conventional wisdom of hand positioning is changing.  Some now believe that this new risk means that the 10 and 2 o’clock arm position you learned in driver’s education should be moved to 9 and 3 o’clock.  I don’t know enough to offer an opinion on this because I have no idea if you are quicker in the 9 and 3 positions.

What Is a Distal Radius Fracture?

accident wrist fracture

A distal radius fracture is the most common wrist fracture our accident lawyers see in motor vehicle accident cases. You typically see a good deal of swelling almost immediately after the accident, and this fracture is quite painful.  Distal radius fractures typically have relatively high settlement compensation.  The good news is that orthopedists have a lot of experience treating these fractures, and the outcomes are usually quite good. 

What Is a Smith's Fracture?

A Smith’s fracture is a distal radius fracture across the wrist while the wrist is in flexion.  Our lawyers see many of Smith’s fractures in slip and fall cases because this injury commonly occurs when people fall on a flexed wrist. I suffered a Smith’s fracture in the third-grade playing football.  This injury can also occur by forcefully striking an object with the wrist in a flexed position.  A Smith’s fracture is a fracture of the volar rim of the distal radius.  It is not a common distal radius fracture, but we seem to have a lot of clients who have suffered this fracture (or I’m more in tune with it because I suffered the same fracture).

What Is a Colles Fracture?

This is a fracture of the lower end of the radius bone near the wrist and is typically caused by a fall onto an outstretched hand during a fall. So it is a break in the radius bone close to the wrist. We also see this fracture in high-impact accident cases, particularly motorcycle accidents where the cyclist lays down the bike. You know pretty quickly if you likely have a Colles fracture even before an x-ray because of the bump it causes on the top of the wrist.

What Do I Do If I Suspect a Collus Wrist Fracture?

If you suspect a Collus wrist fracture – or any fracture, for that matter – go to the hospital. You have a possible emergency because, with a dislocation of the hand and wrist, the fracture is digging into your median nerve. The fear is compromised circulation to the hand. So don’t be surprised if an orthopedist is summoned to the hospital immediately to treat you because the fracture might not be able to wait

Are Their Other Wrist Fractures Your Car Accident Lawyers See?

There are five more common wrist fractures our car accident lawyers see in serious accident cases are breaks in the 

  • Scaphoid fracture: scaphoid bone, which is located on the thumb side of the wrist and connects the two rows of carpal bones,
  • Triquetral fracture: triquetral bone, which is one of the smaller carpal bones located on the ulnar side of the wrist,
  • Hamate fracture: hamate bone, which is a carpal bone located on the ulnar side of the wrist and forms part of the wrist joint,
  • Pisiform fracture: pisiform bone, which is another small carpal bone located on the ulnar side of the wrist, and
  • Capitate fracture: capitate bone, which is one of the larger carpal bones located in the middle of the wrist.

Wrist Accident Settlements and Verdicts

Our law firm has handled many wrist injury cases in Maryland.  Here, you can see some of our attorneys’ wrist injury settlements and verdicts in the Baltimore-Washington area here.

Below are more personal injury settlement amounts and jury payouts around the country with an eye toward better understanding the settlement value of these cases. Please remember that no wrist injury compensation calculator can calculate how much a wrist fracture is worth. 

We have to read these tea leaves to better understand the range of your wrist injury settlement. But you cannot determine the value of your case by looking at other wrist injury payouts in other cases.  The result for one personal injury victim really does not predict another.  I promise.  

So why post them at all?  They are helpful, with other tools, to better understand the range in which these cases might settle or what a jury payout might be.  They help understand expected settlement amounts as long as you understand their limitations. Wrist-Fracture-Settlements







One other interesting thing to note.  Most personal injury cases use medical expenses as a marker for injury.  So we say this claim gets around five times the medical expenses.  This kind of formula or wrist injury compensation calculator like that is always dangerous to use.  This is true in any accident case but it is particularly dangerous in wrist injury cases because the medical treatment in these cases is usually very low compared to the pain and suffering.  These cases rarely require lengthy, expensive physical therapy that can quickly inflate medical bills. In fact, in court, we rarely ask the jury for medical expenses in wrist injury cases. Why? Because of the fear that the jury might use the medical bills as an anchor for pain and suffering damages.  So you forgo the medical expenses to get a larger pain and suffering award. 

Wrist Injury Settlements and Verdicts

$1,122,500 (Georgia 2023): The plaintiff came to a complete stop in her lane at an intersection when a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) bus allegedly misjudged the clearing while turning left and struck the front left side of the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff suffered a fractured wrist and injuries to her fingers and knees. She claimed nearly $150k in medical expenses.

$75,000 Verdict (Montana 2022): Plaintiff (female in her 50s) suffered a fractured left wrist as a result of overly aggressive physical restraint maneuvers when she was unlawfully arrested officers of the Montana Parole and Probation department. A jury in federal court in Montana awarded $75,000 in damages.

$150,000 Settlement (Virginia 2021): A man was struck by an intoxicated driver. He suffered a broken wrist. The man underwent surgery. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed he operated his vehicle while intoxicated. This case settled for $150,000.

$250,000 Settlement (Missouri 2021): A woman was struck. She fractured her left carpal and radius distal end. The woman underwent shoulder surgery. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The woman claimed he failed to yield the right-of-way and maintain an appropriate lookout. This distal radius fracture lawsuit settled for $250,000, about what you would expect.

$37,500 Verdict (Kentucky 2021): A 23-year-old woman was T-boned. She suffered a right wrist fracture and arm abrasions. The woman wore a cast. She continued to experience tenosynovitis-related wrist pain, especially while playing basketball. She also had lifting and grip strength restrictions. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed she made a negligent left turn and failed to yield the right-of-way. The jury awarded $37,500.

$425,000 Settlement (Virginia 2021): A motorcyclist was struck by a farm tractor. He suffered a right wrist fracture, facial fractures, a liver hematoma, a concussion, cervical sprains and strains, and dental injuries. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed he made a negligent lane change and failed to yield the right-of-way. This case settled for $425,000.

$350,000 Settlement (California 2021): A woman was a golf cart passenger. The driver made a sudden, unannounced turn. Its impact threw the woman. She suffered fractures to her wrist and heel. The woman also suffered left foot neuropathy. She underwent surgery to repair her fractures. Her recovery was difficult, but she returned to work as a registered nurse. The case settled for $350,000.

$165,000 Settlement (Pennsylvania 2020): A woman worked at a chicken factory.  Her hand became caught in a chicken sexing machine.  (Let that digest for a second.) She sustained a crushed wrist and developed carpal tunnel syndrome. She required surgical intervention to repair the injuries. She sued the machine’s manufacturer and seller, alleging a defective design with a dangerous pinch point. The manufacturer denied allegations and contended that the machine was not defective. They also claimed that the plaintiff’s injuries fully healed.

$55,000 Settlement (New York 2020): This is a classic snow and ice slip-and-fall accident. The plaintiff, a tenant, alleged her landlord inadequately cleared snow, which resulted in her slipping and falling. The plaintiff sustained a fracture to her dominant right wrist. This required a cast. She contended that she has permanent pain and restricted movement.  The case settled for $55,000 before it could go to trial. Snow and ice cases are tough, so this was likely a compromise settlement that was far less than the full value of the injuries.

$21,496,420 Verdict (California 2019): The motorcyclist was hit when the at-fault drive veered over three lanes out of the high-occupancy vehicle lane.  Thank goodness there were witnesses.  One of the problems in statistically isolating wrist injury settlement amounts in cases like this is a fractured wrist usually travels with other severe injuries.  Rarely is the only injury a fractured wrist.  So cases like this inflate average wrist injury settlements.  This significant award underscores this concern, although there is no question the broken wrist was a significant driver of the claim’s value to the jury. The pain and suffering from this wrist injury were obviously significant.  But it is more than a broken wrist that led to a $21 million verdict.  This personal injury victim sustained fractures to his right leg’s femur, his lumbar spine at L1, and his dominant hand and wrist. He was hospitalized for over two weeks. While hospitalized, surgery was performed on his right femur and right wrist. He then had inpatient rehabilitation for two weeks. He claims that his ability to move and use his right hand and wrist is permanently limited. This includes a grip strength loss of 70 percent.  Of course, there is a huge emotional stress component to the claim.  He sued the driver and the driver’s employer (the deep pocket with no policy limit problem).  The jury gave an amazing award, one a victim could not get in Maryland because of our cap on non-economic damages.

$150,000 Verdict (Florida 2016): A woman, who is seven months pregnant, is hit broadside by a police officer who runs a stop sign.  She suffered a left wrist fracture.  Her hand surgeon inserted plates and screws to rebuild the hand. The defense argument in the case was a classic insurance company argument:  the wrist has entirely healed.  Plaintiff said she was still having a problem and, presumably, the plaintiff’s lawyer showed the jury an x-ray of what it looks like having that hardware permanently placed in your arm.

$86,000 Verdict (Pennsylvania 2014): The plaintiff was walking when he stepped into an empty tree well. He landed on his right wrist and elbow, injuring them. He sued the property owner, claiming that they failed to fix the empty tree well, while they asserted that it was the city’s responsibility to do so, not theirs. The plaintiff’s injury required medical attention, including reconstructive surgery of the tendons in his wrist. The jury determined that he was partially responsible, which reduced the “money in her pocket” award to $55,900 (comparative negligence in Pennsylvania).

$70,000 Verdict (Pennsylvania 2014): Plaintiff was walking on a sidewalk with her elderly mother. She tripped on a raised piece of sidewalk and fell on her wrist. Her wrist was fractured, and she had to remain in a cast while it healed. She sued the property owners, alleging that the sidewalk was negligently maintained. She was awarded $70,000, which was then amended to $49,000 because the jury found the plaintiff was partially at fault.

$185,000 Settlement (Virginia 2014): This is a car accident case. The plaintiff, age 30, was driving her car when another driver hit her head-on. The other driver admitted liability but objected to the damage amount.  Her injuries required surgical intervention to repair torn tissue in her wrist. The defendant made a familiar argument: the injury is preexisting. The battle in these cases is usually over what the victim’s prior medical records show.

Hiring a Lawyer

I have handled many wrist injury cases.  I know the medical experts in these cases. I know the defense experts, and the insurance adjusters, and I know how to put these cases in the position to get the best financial compensation.   You also need a personal injury attorney who will fight for you.  I will fight for you and so will my law firm. If you need a Maryland car accident lawyer, call Ron Miller at 800-5553-8082.  You can also get more information about your options and get a free case evaluation online here.

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