Settlement Value of a Knee Injury Claim

Factors that influence knee injury claim value, and examples of verdicts and settlements in these kinds of personal injury cases.

Too many unique factors enter into a given personal injury case to predict the value of a knee injury claim, but there are lessons to learn from past cases, and commonalities to consider when evaluating your own potential claim. In this article we'll look at some examples of real-life verdicts and personal injury settlements involving knee injuries, then cover some key factors in figuring out what a knee injury claim might be worth.

Examples of Knee Injury Verdicts and Settlements

Below are several examples of verdicts and settlements in cases involving knee injuries, mostly stemming from car accidents and slip and fall incidents. These are provided to help illustrate the large range of possible settlement/verdict amounts, and should not be relied upon to estimate the precise value of a particular type of knee injury.

  • $2,673,000 total damages, with $1,400,000 of that for pain and suffering, for a plaintiff who slipped on grease, tore his meniscus, was unable to perform his job, experienced years of pain, required several surgeries, and would require knee replacement surgery in the future.
  • $240,000 (auto insurance policy limit) settlement for boy who was hit while riding his bike, and required an initial knee surgery and then several follow-up procedures after re-injuring himself playing sports.
  • $177,000 verdict for 70-year-old who slipped and fell at a store and required two surgeries and a total knee replacement.
  • $120,000 verdict for a plaintiff who slipped on ice and fractured her knee, but was found 40% at fault for the accident.
  • $105,000 arbitration verdict against plaintiff's insurance company (policy limit) after uninsured driver rear-ended plaintiff and caused knee injury requiring surgery.
  • $24,000 verdict for rear-ended driver whose knee hit steering wheel and sustained meniscus tear possibly requiring future surgery.

Valuing an Injury Case

"Valuing" a personal injury case in this context often means coming up with a best guess at what a jury might award the person who is suing for a knee injury (the plaintiff), and then estimating:

  • what the person being sued (the defendant) would be willing to pay, and
  • what the plaintiff would be willing to accept to settle the case before trial.

Regardless of which side is doing the calculating, the two big factors in valuing these kinds of cases are the extent of the plaintiff's injuries and other losses ("damages" in legalese) and how likely the jury is to find the defendant at fault for the accident that led to the knee injury.

Nature, Severity & Duration of the Knee Injury

Knee injuries range from minor bruises and sprains to torn ligaments, bone/joint damage, and meniscus tears. In general, the more severe and long-lasting the knee injury, the higher the compensation in a personal injury insurance settlement or jury verdict. Additionally, injuries like a fractured bone tend to result in larger settlements than soft tissue injuries, and any injury that can be verified by x-ray, MRI, or other imaging evidence will likely be taken more seriously. Learn more about how the nature and extent of injuries affects claim value.

Similarly, injuries requiring treatment by physicians—as opposed to chiropractors, or even physical therapists—are given more weight by many insurance adjusters. Learn more about how the "right" medical treatment increases injury settlement value.

Estimating the Plaintiff's Damages

Estimating financial recovery with any degree of accuracy is quite difficult for one main reason: at trial, it will most likely be a jury that ultimately decides just how much money the defendant must pay the injured plaintiff.

Medical bills and lost wages, are easier to predict and quantify, while subjective, less concrete damages like "pain and suffering" are at best an educated guess based on awards in similar knee injury cases in the past and the plaintiff's particular circumstances. For example, if the plaintiff was a very active person who enjoyed participating in a variety of sports and outdoor activities, damages based on "loss of quality of life" will likely be higher in the eyes of a jury.

Similarly, if a plaintiff had a preexisting knee injury, damages might be reduced because the defendant's conduct was likely not entirely responsible for the entire spectrum of the plaintiff's physical pain and suffering. Finally, many people are required to be mobile (at least to some extent) for their employment. If the knee injury temporarily or permanently prevents the plaintiff from making a living, the defendant could be liable for not only lost wages, but also lost future earning ability.

The Liability Factor

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 knee injuries, 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 his or her chances at trial if the issue of fault is up in the air. Learn more about determining fault in a personal injury case.

If someone else was at fault for the accident that led to your knee injury, the best way to get information that's tailored to your situation is to talk to a lawyer. Get tips on finding the right personal injury lawyer for you and your case.

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