Even though personal injury claims involving ankle injuries relate to a fairly specific kind of harm, there's still much to learn about the potential value of any settlement or court award you might receive.
Of course, any final figure will depend on the unique facts of your case. In this article, we'll look at a few examples of verdicts and settlements in cases involving this specific kind of injury, and we'll discuss some key considerations when valuing an ankle injury claim.
Ankle injuries vary in severity, but most qualify as either a fracture, sprain, or strain. The ankle is where the tibia and fibula lower leg bones attach (via ligaments) to the talus bone, which connects foot to leg. In addition to bones and ligaments, tendons attach muscles to the ankle joint. The bones can be fractured, the ligaments can be sprained when they are stretched too far (including complete tears), and the muscles and tendons can be strained by being pulled or stretched too far.
Valuing an injury case means coming up with a best guess at what a jury might award the plaintiff (the injured person), and what the defendant (the person being sued, usually represented by an insurance company) would be willing to pay. There's also the question of what the sides might be willing to agree on in order to avoid putting their respective fates in the hands of an unpredictable jury.
That's obviously a lot to consider. But the two big factors in valuing any ankle injury case are:
Estimating how much the plaintiff might receive is a challenge. Some damages, like medical bills and lost income, are more "concrete" losses, typically based on the amount the plaintiff demonstrates he or she has paid or lost, and/or will continue to pay or lose. For subjective losses like “pain and suffering,” predictions are often an educated guess based on awards in similar ankle 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 ankle injury affects the particular plaintiff is also crucial. If the plaintiff was very active prior to a partially-disabling ankle injury, her damages will likely be higher in the eyes of a jury than if she had been relatively physically inactive. Conversely, if a plaintiff had a prior ankle injury that made him more susceptible to re-injury, his damages might go down.
Learn more about damages in a personal injury case.
The other major factor in valuing an ankle injury 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 ankle 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 roll the dice at trial. Similarly, where fault is up in the air, the plaintiff will probably be more inclined to accept a low settlement offer rather than run the risk of getting nothing at trial.
If you're thinking about filing an insurance claim or lawsuit after an ankle injury caused by someone else's negligence, your best first step might be discussing your situation (and your options) with a personal injury lawyer.
A Note on Job-Related Ankle Injuries and Workers' Compensation
A workplace ankle injury will typically only be paid out through your state's worker’s compensation insurance system. The standards of compensation vary from state to state, but if a plaintiff is not completely disabled by the injury and does not have high medical bills—no surgery was required, for example—the worker’s compensation payment may not be very high, especially compared to a personal injury settlement. If your injury occurred while on the job, make sure you check out our workers compensation claims coverage.