National Summary of Knee Injury Awards in Auto Cases

Overview and Statistics

Following a typical automobile accident, you are likely to experience a variety of injuries. Many of these will require expensive and extended medical care. They also might force you to miss work or attend to investments either to recuperate or because you can no longer physically do what you used to be able to. Additionally, in the chaos of the incident your vehicle or the personal items inside your vehicle may have been damaged or destroyed beyond repair. For these reasons and others, many choose to file a lawsuit to recover their damages. Over the law 20 years (since 1994) here is the breakdown of recovery (both jury awards and settlement amounts) that plaintiffs have achieved when knee injuries or were a significant or primary injury involved in the crash.

Plaintiffs' Recovery in Car Accidents Involving Knee Injuries
Amount Recovered
$0
$1-$49,999
$50,000-$99,999
$100,000-$199,999
$200,000-$499,999
$500,000-$999,999
$1,000,000-$1,999,999
$2,000,000-5,000,000
>$5,000,000
Percentage of Cases
32%
34%
7%
7%
6%
4%
4%
3%
3%

State Frequency of Car Accidents Cases Involving Knee Injuries as Percentage of the National Total
National Knee Injury Awards and Settlements

Here are some major takeaways from accident cases involving knee injuries around the country:

  • Knee injuries were common in car accidents, with some problem related to the joint arising in roughly 1 in 5 cases.
  • The most frequent states for these awards and settlements were California, Missouri, New York, Texas, and Washington.
  • Again, settlement is rare for these lawsuits but not as rare as other categories of car accidents such as those involving herniated disks.
  • For those obtaining awards or settlements, the 25%-75% range of recovery was $1-$50,000.
Case Summaries and Highlights

Below we have listed some case summaries to give you an indication of why some plaintiffs were more successful than others in obtaining recovery:

CASE NAME: DONAHUE v. JACKSON

STATE: MASSACHUSETTS

RECOVERY: $225,000 SETTLEMENT

SUMMARY:

The plaintiff in this case was a woman in her mid-50’s. She was stuck in traffic, waiting to proceed, when the defendant crashed right into the rear of her car. He was a professional truck driver and was carrying a larger than normal weight which precluded him from being able to stop in time to avoid the crash. According to the plaintiff, the force of the crash caused her great injuries; she tore her meniscus and rotator cuff. Her medical bills alone were almost $30,000 and she was forced to miss work for nearly a year. The main issue in this controversy was whether the rear-end collision actually caused these injuries or if pre-existing conditions were to blame (arthritis for her knees and bursitis for her rotator cuff). Before this could be tested, the parties settled for $225,000.

CASE NAME: WITTKAMP v. STONE

STATE: GEORGIA

RECOVERY: $790,000 SETTLEMENT

SUMMARY:

The plaintiff, a 41-year-old woman, was initially a mere onlooker to this accident but unfortunately suffered serious injuries. She was sitting in traffic and watching a truck in front of her attempt to make a left turn when he lost control of his vehicle and slammed into hers. In addition to significant property damage, she also suffered wrist, rib, and serious knee injuries. The blatant nature of the truck driver’s negligence negated the need for surgery. Both parties settled for $790,00 prior to trial.

CASE NAME: JOHNSON v. GAMBLE

STATE: NEW YORK

RECOVERY: $1,200,000 JURY AWARD

SUMMARY:

The plaintiff in this case was a 63-year-old police detective. One day, she was driving to work when a car in the opposite lane crossed the yellow line and crashed right into her in a head-on collision. She suffered numerous injuries from this incident but most prominently broken knees and tear knee ligaments. Also, she could no longer work following the crash and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. To all these issues, the defense did not proffer any evidence or testimony of its own denying these injuries, mitigating their effect, or refuting the consequence that she had to quit. Instead, defense counsel merely critiqued the plaintiff’s case in cross-examination. Maybe because she could offer expert testimony and evidence to all of these points, or maybe because of the dramatic nature of her injuries and her case, the jury returned an extraordinary verdict in her favor: $1,200,000.

CASE NAME: MACDONALD v. DOUKAS

STATE: CONNECTICUT

RECOVERY: $1,789,980 JURY AWARD

SUMMARY:

The defendant in this case struck the plaintiff’s car from the rear and caused him great injuries including serious knee damage, a concussion, and various lacerations across the body. The defendant cried that the whole injury was the plaintiff’s fault because he was driving while on the phone, was speeding up and slowing down, and, in any event, was exaggerating the extent of this injuries following the accident. The plaintiff countered that the defendant should have been more alert and slowed his car down to avoid the collision. The jury agreed with the plaintiff and awarded him $1,789,980, broken down into the following categories:

  • Past and Future Medical:
  • Past and Future Wages:
  • Pain And Suffering:
  • Other Compensatory:
  • Punitive:
  • Total:
  • $525,384
  • $285,768
  • $560,427
  • $2,976
  • $415,425
  • $1,789,980

CASE NAME: JOHNSON v. CAMPOS-GARCIA

STATE: NEVADA

RECOVERY: $2,600,342

SUMMARY:

Here, the plaintiff, Ann Johnson, was T-boned by the defendant when he ran a red light and went speeding into the side of her car. Ann was seriously injured. Her knees, spine, and brain were severally affected. In addition to the extraordinary medical bills she racked up in response to the care she received immediately following the accident, she also needed need long-term, ongoing care to treat her wounds. For these and other damages, she sued the other driver. In response, he claimed that her injuries actually stemmed from two prior car accidents and a fall when a dog attacked her. Also, he argued that she was exaggerating her injuries in the first place. Facing overwhelming evidence of injury and blatant negligence, the jury found for the plaintiff and awarded the following damages:

  • Past and Future Medical:
  • Past and Suffering:
  • Total:
  • $2,215,342
  • $385,000
  • $2,600,342

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