According to a recent Jury Verdict Research analysis, based on plaintiffs’ verdicts nationally over the last ten years, the overall median award for foot injuries is $98,583. Multiple fractures to the same foot increase the median to $144,000. In foot injury cases where both feet are fractured, the median rises to $296,940.
Another Jury Verdict Research study found that 39% of the foot injury cases that go to verdict involved auto, truck, or motorcycle accidents. In fact, a full 11% of these injuries were in motorcycle accident cases. This is incredibly high given the number of driver miles on a motorcycle versus the number logged in cars and trucks. Then again, your risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident is 28 times more likely if you are riding a sports bike than if you are enjoying the comforts of a car or truck. (The lesson, as always: don’t ride a motorcycle.)
Overall, according to one study, the average (as opposed to the median) foot injury award was $703,703. Thirteen percent of foot injury awards were in excess of $1 million.
Foot and ankle injury cases command quality verdicts because foot injuries are difficult to diagnose and even harder to treat. The foot is composed of 26 “major” bones that are important to mobility and hard to repair. When you add the fact that there are 56 ligaments and 38 muscles in each foot and there are four distinct ranges of motion in the foot, there is a lot that can and does go wrong for people who suffer a foot injury from trauma.
Types of Foot Injuries Our Lawyers See in Car Accidents
Foot injuries sustained in car accidents can vary significantly in severity and type, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Some common types of foot injuries that may occur in a car accident include:
- Fractures: Bones in the foot can break or crack due to the force of impact in a car accident. Fractures can occur in any of the 26 bones of the foot, including the metatarsals, phalanges, tarsals, or the calcaneus (heel bone). Fractures can range from simple, clean breaks to complex, comminuted fractures. Fractures and dislocations have high settlement amounts.
- Dislocations: A dislocation occurs when the bones in a joint are forced out of their normal positions. In the foot, dislocations can affect the ankle joint, as well as joints between the metatarsal and phalangeal bones.
- Sprains: A sprain is an injury to the ligaments, which are the fibrous tissues that connect bones to each other. Sprains can occur in the foot or ankle when the ligaments are stretched or torn due to the force of the accident.
- Strains: A strain is an injury to the muscles or tendons, which are the tissues that connect muscles to bones. Strains can occur in the foot when the muscles or tendons are stretched or torn due to the impact of the accident.
- Crush injuries: In severe accidents, the foot can be trapped or compressed, leading to crush injuries. Crush injuries can result in fractures, dislocations, nerve damage, or even amputation in extreme cases. These tend to have the highest settlement payouts on average of any foot injury on this list.
- Lacerations and abrasions: Cuts and scrapes can occur from broken glass, metal, or other debris during a car accident. These injuries can range from minor to severe, depending on the depth and location of the wound.
- Contusions and bruises: The force of impact in a car accident can cause blood vessels to break, leading to bruises and contusions. These injuries can cause pain, swelling, and discoloration in the foot.
- Nerve damage: The nerves in the foot can be damaged due to the force of impact or from being stretched or compressed during an accident. Nerve damage can result in pain, numbness, or tingling sensations in the foot.
- Tendonitis: Tendonitis refers to inflammation of the tendons, which can occur due to overstretching or tearing during a car accident.
- Compartment syndrome: This is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when pressure builds up within the muscles of the foot, typically after a crush injury or severe trauma. Compartment syndrome can cause severe pain, swelling, and eventually tissue death if not treated promptly.
What Drives Foot Injury Settlement Amounts
Settlement amounts for foot injury lawsuits resulting from car accidents depend on a variety of factors. These factors can influence the value of the settlement and help attorneys and insurance companies determine an appropriate compensation amount. Some of the factors considered include:
- Strength of the liability case: It all starts here. To win a large settlement or jury payout, you need to be able to win the case. If you cannot win the case, it does not matter how serious your injuries are.
- Severity of the injury: Fractures, dislocations, and crush injuries, as we discuss above, are the Big 3 foot injuries when it comes to settlement payouts. They often require more extensive medical treatment, longer recovery times, and have a greater chance of leading to permanent injuries. That is awful but these are the factors that drive settlement amounts.
- Medical expenses: The cost of medical treatment, including hospital bills, surgeries, rehabilitation, and medication, is a significant factor in determining the settlement amount. Higher medical costs typically lead to higher settlement amounts.
- Lost income: If the victim is unable to work due to their foot injury, they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. The amount of lost income is determined by factors such as the victim’s salary, their time away from work, and the potential for future lost earnings due to the injury.
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for pain and suffering takes into account the physical and emotional distress caused by the injury. Pain and suffering damages almost always eclipse all of compensation in a foot injury lawsuit from a car accident.
- Future medical needs: If the foot injury requires ongoing treatment or is likely to result in long-term complications, the settlement may include compensation for future medical expenses.
- Impact on quality of life: Obviously, the effect of the injury on the victim’s daily life, including their ability to participate in activities they once enjoyed, can be considered when determining the settlement amount. This is really a subset of pain and suffering.
- Insurance policy limits: You need money standing behind a verdict or settlement. So the available insurance coverage of the at-fault party can have a great influence the settlement amount. If the policy limits are insufficient to cover the damages, the victim may have no other path to justice.
Foot Injury Settlements and Verdicts
Below are summaries of recent tort cases in which the plaintiff was alleging a foot injury as their primary injury.
$20,000 Verdict (Washington 2023): The plaintiff was rear-ended while slowing down to exit a highway. He suffered a closed fracture of the second metatarsal bone in his right foot, along with back sprains and a concussion. The jury awarded him $20,000, which was less than half of what he was seeking.
$16,250 Verdict (Oregon 2022): The plaintiff suffered a non-fracture injury to her left foot and back and neck sprains when she was struck from the rear when slowing down to make a right turn. The verdict was reduced by 10% based on comparative negligence.
$150,000 Settlement (Missouri 2022): The plaintiff suffered a fractured left foot which required several surgeries and the use of a medical boot and crutches for several month. The accident was allegedly caused by the defendant’s negligent failure to yield before making a turn.
$24,500 Verdict (Alabama 2022): The defendant caused an accident when he failed to yield before making a left turn. The plaintiff was a minor riding as a passenger with his mother. He suffered a fractured left foot and damage to two of his toes as a result of the accident.
$35,000 Settlement (Pennsylvania 2022): The plaintiff suffered a fractured foot (no surgery required) when an unsecured display shelf collapsed onto her leg and foot while she was shopping the defendant’s store. She brought a premises liability action alleging that the defendant was negligent in maintenance of the store.
$650,000 Settlement (Washington 2021): The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when the defendant attempted to pass him and clipped the back right side of the motocycle causing plaintiff to fall over to the right and slide down the road. The plaintiff suffered a fractured right foot requiring surgery and his toe had to be surgically removed then reattached. Case settled in mediation for $650k.
$6,500 Settlement (New York 2021): The plaintiff claimed that he suffered a sprained left foot and bruising when he tripped and fell over a defective condition on a sidewalk maintained by the defendant. This case is representative of the lowest end of the foot injury value scale.
$15,000 Settlement (New Jersey 2021): The plaintiff, a minor, was riding her bicycle through an intersection when a vehicle driven by defendant Alexander M. Powers struck her, running over her left foot and ankle. She suffered unspecified injuries to the foot and the case settled for $15k.
$6,733,518 Verdict (Minnesota 2021): The plaintiff was working in a road construction zone when a lose hose on the defendant’s truck caused a manhole cover to come loose and nearly sever the plaintiff’s leg. The plaintiff suffered the near amputation of his foot and lower leg which required fusion surgeries at the left foot and ankle and resulted in chronic pain and permanent diminished function, as well as aggravation of a lower back injury.
$15,000 Settlement (Idaho 2020): A 45-year-old male plaintiff was at an outdoor supply store A store associate cut the bands off a large bundle of horizontally-stacked fence posts when the logs began to roll. A log rolled from the top of the bundle and crushed the plaintiff’s foot. He suffered a fractured foot but it did not require surgery.
$55,000 Settlement (Wisconsin 2020): The plaintiff, a minor, suffered severe injuries when a heavy radiator came loose and fell on his right foot. The incident resulted in a fracture of multiple bones in the foot, although surgery was not required.
$61,969 Verdict (Maryland 2019): A woman in her mid-60s was walking up the steps of her grandson’s elementary school for a field trip. The concrete in the steps crumbled underneath her foot and she suffered a right foot fracture during the incident.
Hiring a Lawyer
We handle accident and medical malpractice cases not only in Maryland but throughout the United States, achieving victories by settlement and at trial.
If you have suffered a serious foot injury as the result of the negligence of someone else, call 800-553-8082 or click here for a free consultation.