Aspects that influence knee injury settlement values
The most common question for all parties in involved in a knee injury claim is – How much is the claim worth? While it is nearly impossible for any two people to value a claim the same, understanding the factors involved can help the injured party known if it is worth filing a lawsuit, when it is time to settle, and when it is time to go to trial and let the jury decide.
The first thing to understand for any plaintiff is that in almost any knee injury lawsuit, the defendant will be an insurance company. And, deciding the value of your claim is the insurance adjuster. The adjuster has one job and that is to pay the plaintiff as little as possible. This is why an experienced and hard working attorney is important.
While there are some factors that affect the claim total that a plaintiff cannot control (medical bills, days of work missed, etc), a good attorney will know how to maximize the factors that are not so concrete. For example, an unmarried truck driver will generally suffer less due to a knee injury than a single mother of four active children who finds her sanity during her morning run. The adjuster initially views the truck driver and single mother the same. However, a skilled attorney will develop this particular part of the damage model by getting to know the client and the client’s family. With this knowledge, an attorney may not be able to make the adjuster care, but they will be able to demonstrate to the adjuster how a jury will care.
However, the attorney is not the only one that can increase the value of claim for a plaintiff. A plaintiff who is organized and has documented their injuries and recovery via photographs helps immensely when it comes time to show anyone exactly what a knee injury looks like. When it comes to convincing a jury or adjuster that the plaintiff has suffered, pictures are worth more than a thousand words.
Finally, it is very common that plaintiffs think that their knee injuries are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, it is important to understand that juries do not see it that way. In fact, lawsuits over knee injuries are so common that the adjuster and the attorney can most likely find what juries have awarded in the past for similar injuries and circumstances. These previous decisions are known as jury verdict research and this research should be used in evaluating the low and high end of any knee injury.
CASE 1: Motorcycle accident knee injury
When Mitch and Barb Grayson climbed aboard their Harley-Davidson motorcycle in July of 2013, it was to be one of many Sunday summer day trips. Mitch had been a rider since before the pair was married 23 years ago. Barb was hooked after her first ride sitting behind her future husband. Now in their late forties, the two had purchased the Harley Fat Boy they had always wanted a week earlier and were ready once again for the road.
About an hour into the ride, the couple came to an intersection with a four-way stop. After first allowing the vehicle to their right to move through the intersection first, the pair began to accelerate through the stop sign. It was then, a pick-up truck coming from their left, clipped the Grayson’s rear wheel, sending the couple and their bike to the pavement.
While Barb’s injuries were relatively minimal, Mitch suffered leg and knee damage that required surgery and causing him to miss work for almost two months. The driver of the pick-up truck claimed Grayson’s motorcycle had suddenly stopped while accelerating through the intersection, causing him to barely catch the rear tire. The investigating police officer did not issue any citations or warnings as he was unable to determine fault.
Mitch and Barb came to Haymond Law after they were left with $22,000 worth of unpaid medical bills, and had lost Mitch’s income for months. Mitch didn’t understand why he was still suffering financially and physically when he knew the pickup driver was at fault. He was right to share his concerns. Mitch and his family became very well acquainted with the Haymond Law Firm as they spent many hours getting to know him, his wife and children. The lawyers at Haymond Law visited Mitch at his home on numerous occasions and they truly understood how this injury impacted not only Mitch’s life but how it impacted the lives of his entire family.
Claims by the truck driver that Mitch was somehow at fault and didn’t know how to properly operate his new bike were absurd. Furthermore, Grayson, an experienced rider, had never even laid a bike down in his decades of riding. Haymond Law established through evidence that the bike was more than half way through the intersection when the collision took place. Further, the police officer failed to take into account that at an intersection drivers on the right have the right of way. We proved that the officer and truck driver were wrong.
Finally, with a check of driving records, we were able to determine the pick-up truck driver had been involved in a similar incident at that same intersection two years earlier. In that incident he also tried to “time” his acceleration through the intersection, clipping the rear of a passenger vehicle. Although this was not admissible in court it was used as additional ammunition in negotiating a successful result.
With this added information the experts at Haymond Law were able to resolve the case for $430,000. Mitch and his family were thrilled with the results especially when they discovered that it was “tax-free”.
CASE 2: Slip and fall knee injury
On a cold morning in February, Abby saw her kids off to school and went off to work in a New England hill town. Unfortunately, Abby did not make it back home that day or the next. Abby slipped on ice on a walkway at an elderly living complex and fractured her knee cap. It would be two days before she was released from the hospital which was an eternity for her children.
Although it had snowed that morning, it was not the snow that caused her fall. It was untreated ice that had remained without salt or sand for days. The property management company may have decided a little more profit and less money for salt and sand would make a better year for the company. The property managers failed to act reasonably, as they failed to salt and sand the ice long before the snow had fallen and covered which created a dangerous hidden hazard.
Abby’s children were young and needed their mother’s daily care. Her son, Elijah, was born autistic and was coupled with severe obsessive and repetitive behavior. Abby was terribly worried as she knew that she needed to care for her children and especially Elijah. Abby’s consistent daily routine with Elijah gave him much needed comfort and the sequence he craved to face his world of challenges.
The family reached out to The Haymond Law Firm for help and within hours of the initial consultation assigned a skilled legal team with experience handling snow and ice accidents. Photos of the ice and witness statements concerning the ice were obtained immediately. Abby claimed that when she did return home she could not walk on her leg for days and she had to endure the screams of Elijah as he suffered, striving for his routine that her husband tried his best to replicate.
From the start, Attorney Haymond instructed his legal team that this case was not just about Abby’s pain and suffering, but the entire families. The family did not have to pay out of pocket for her medical bills, and although her knee is never going to be the same within months she was back to her daily routine with Elijah. Abby is grateful that her husband Rick called The Haymond Law Firm who fought for a $200,000 recovery in Abby’s case.