Important Legal Disclaimer: These dollar values are from past results and do not guarantee or suggest that your matter will have a similar outcome. The facts and circumstances which led to your injury are likely to be different, and an attorney can provide specific guidance only after engaging in a fact-intensive analysis. Furthermore, the worth of your personal injury case will ultimately be decided by a jury.
We rely on full use of our hands for virtually everything we do throughout the day. When a person’s hand, wrist, or finger is crushed or amputated in an accident, such as an auto accident or a workplace industrial accident, the physical and financial effects are devastating. In addition to being burdened with huge medical bills and suffering through intense pain, the victim might also lose a lifetime of earning potential, particularly if the injury is to the dominant hand.
The Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook have created this short and simple guide to help educate hand injury victims and their loved ones about some practical and financial aspects of civil litigation. It explains the factors that go into calculating compensation, provides examples of verdicts and settlements from cases around the U.S., and discusses an important deadline known as the statute of limitations. To set up a free and private legal consultation, call Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 today.
How is Compensation Calculated for a Plaintiff in Oklahoma?
There are two ways a personal injury victim can be compensated for an accident: through a verdict awarded by a jury, or, more frequently, through an out-of-court settlement with the defendant’s insurance company. Settlement negotiations may take place months, weeks, or mere days before the scheduled trial date.
Regardless of whether a case culminates in a verdict or a settlement, numerous factors are evaluated when determining what sort of compensation, or damages, the plaintiff should receive. In order to help ensure that the amount of compensation is adequate, economists and medical professionals are frequently called upon to provide expert testimony regarding not only the injury victim’s current medical bills and financial losses, but also their projected bills and losses extending into the future.
There are many different types of compensation in the legal world. For the sake of brevity and simplicity, we have excluded certain damages, such as nominal damages, which are not relevant to personal injury matters. Accident victims are primarily affected by punitive and compensatory damages, as described below:
These are special damages arising in cases where the defendant engaged in such gross and egregious misconduct that punishment is merited. Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, send a message that people and businesses who engage in such conduct will face serious financial repercussions. Oklahoma’s laws state that punitive damages may be limited, or “capped,” at $100,000 or $500,000 depending on the circumstances.
Compensatory damages are more common than punitive damages, because they are not contingent upon extreme underlying circumstances. Compensatory damages have no punitive element: they are meant solely to compensate the plaintiff, hence the term.
Damages can also be described as “economic” or “non-economic.” Economic damages are those which can be clearly calculated, such as current and future surgery bills or lost wages. Non-economic damages are those which cannot be clearly calculated, such as the victim’s pain and suffering.
Settlements and Verdicts in Wrist, Finger, and Hand Injury Cases
To reiterate the disclaimer posted at the top of this page, the following settlements and verdicts should not be interpreted as guaranteed results. We have included them in this guide for informational purposes only. Results are always subject to variation, because they are impacted by so many unique factors specific to each individual case. With that in mind, below are some examples from around the country:
- $2.25 million verdict awarded to a Pennsylvania plaintiff whose left hand was nearly amputated by an industrial machine.
- $1.2 million verdict awarded to a 51-year-old New York woman whose dominant hand was permanently injured in a door-slam accident causing reflex sympathy dystrophy (RSD).
- $1 million verdict awarded to a New York man whose ulnar nerve was lacerated.
- $725,000 settlement for a Wyoming man whose hand was injured in an industrial accident.
- $625,000 settlement for a 24-year-old Pennsylvania plaintiff whose hand was degloved by an industrial machine.
- $450,000 settlement for a Washington man. Three of the fingers on his right hand were amputated when he attempted to sharpen a bladed machine aboard a boat.
- $400,000 settlement for a New York woman who was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross the street, resulting in knee and wrist injuries.
- $390,000 settlement for a Maryland man who required medical pins to repair a metacarpal fracture in his left thumb. The man also sustained rib and leg injuries.
- $377,000 verdict awarded to a Maryland nurse who fractured her wrist in a slip and fall accident involving snow and ice.
- $200,000 settlement for a Florida woman who needed wrist surgery after another driver ran a red light and collided with her vehicle.
- $50,000 settlement for an Oklahoma plaintiff whose wrist was fractured in a motorcycle accident.
- $40,000 settlement for a North Carolina plaintiff who sustained a severe hand injury in a roll-over traffic accident.
- $22,500 verdict awarded to a Maryland woman whose right hand was injured in a car accident.
- $10,000 settlement for Florida security guard who broke his wrist in a golf cart accident.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit?
We simply cannot overemphasize the importance of timing in any personal injury matter. If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit, but have not yet made a decision, we urge you to discuss your options with an attorney as soon as possible. If you delay the decision for too long, you may miss your opportunity forever.
If a plaintiff misses an inflexible deadline called the statute of limitations, his or her case will be prevented from moving through the court system. When time runs out, the statute is said to have “expired.” While the discovery rule extends the deadline in cases where discovery of the injury was delayed, it is never wise to rely on this exception for a deadline extension, because in many cases, it does not apply.
Speak With An Oklahoma City Personal Injury Attorney
If you’re not sure what to do, the safest course of action is to talk to an attorney right away. Even if you decide not to file a lawsuit after your consultation, it is better to get information early on in the process, so that you do not inadvertently miss the deadline if you do decide you would like to take legal action. Moreover, consulting early on will allow greater time to prepare the strongest possible case on your behalf. To set up a free, completely confidential legal consultation about your hand, wrist, or finger injury, call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 any time of day or evening, including weekends and after-hours.