What Is the Settlement Value of a Wrist Injury?

Key considerations when valuing a personal injury claim involving a wrist injury, and a look at recent outcomes in these kinds of cases.

By , Attorney · University of Michigan Law School

If you've got a personal injury claim involving a wrist injury, you're probably wondering how that specific kind of harm might be valued when you and the at-fault party talk settlement—or when you file a lawsuit in court.

In this article, we'll look at some examples of past personal injury verdicts and settlements involving wrist injury claims, and we'll discuss some key factors affecting the value of an insurance claim or lawsuit involving a wrist injury (with the caveat that the value of your case will depend on the specifics of your situation).

Types of Wrist Injuries

Wrist injuries that might form the basis of a personal injury case (or workers compensation claim) include:

  • stretched or torn ligaments (i.e. sprains), typically classified from Grade I (stretched) through Grade III (completely torn ligament)
  • bone fracture to the radius or ulna, or carpal bones
  • repetitive movement injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist tendinitis.

How Both Sides Value a Wrist Injury Case

"Valuing" a case means coming up with a best guess at what a jury might award the person who is suing for a wrist injury (the plaintiff), while also considering what the person being sued (the defendant) would be willing to ultimately pay. There's also the question of the amount each side might be willing to agree upon in order to settle the case before it gets to trial.

That's obviously a lot to try to keep track of. But the two big factors in valuing any case are:

Estimating the Plaintiff's Damages

Estimating how much the plaintiff might receive is a challenge. Some damages, like medical bills and lost income, are typically based on dollar amounts paid or lost, so they're easier to calculate. But for "pain and suffering" and other more subjective kinds of damages, predictions are often based on awards in similar wrist injury cases. Because every case and every jury is different, even the best analysis will still only predict pain and suffering damages and other damages within a broad range.

How the wrist injury affects a particular plaintiff is also key in valuing damages. For example, if the plaintiff was a semi-professional tennis player, but suffers a partially-disabling wrist injury, his damages based on "loss of quality of life" will likely be higher in the eyes of a jury than if he did not engage in any physical activities.

If the plaintiff had a prior wrist injury that made him more susceptible to re-injury, the value of the case might go down. Additionally, if the wrist injury temporarily or permanently prevents a plaintiff from making a living, the defendant could be liable for the full extent of lost wages.

(To help you understand the key factors that affect the overall value of your case, check out our calculator page.)

Likelihood That the Defendant Will Be Found Liable

The other major factor in valuing a case is the likelihood that the defendant will be found liable at trial. If the plaintiff has little or no evidence proving the defendant was at fault for the plaintiff's wrist injury, the value of the case goes down considerably.

Even if the potential damages are high, a defendant will be less willing to settle and more inclined to take their chances at trial. Similarly, where fault is up in the air, the plaintiff will be more inclined to accept a low settlement rather than runs the risk of getting nothing at trial.

If you're thinking about filing an insurance claim or lawsuit after a wrist injury caused by someone else's negligence, your best first step might be discussing your situation (and your options) with a personal injury lawyer.

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