Legal Memorandum: Verdicts and Settlements for Comatose State

Issue: What jury verdicts and settlements relating to a permanent or semi-permanent comatose condition occurring in a eight- or nine-year-old girl have recently been reported?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Brain damage resulting in comatose state; Child age seven to ten
Jurisdiction: Federal, Multistate
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 02/01/2000

           A search through jury verdict and settlement files and review of published materials for cases involving children age seven to ten who suffered brain damage resulting in a permanent or semi-permanent comatose condition yielded fourteen verdicts and settlements reports.  Four of the reports showed defense verdicts.  The ten settlements and plaintiffs’ verdicts ranged from $25,000 to $44,679,350, with an average of $9,113,924.  Dropping the highest verdict and lowest figure, a settlement, the average becomes $5,804,362.  The research revealed only two cases in which the plaintiff in the same age group suffered similar injuries as a result of a near drowning.  The reports of Hemmingway v. United States and Sampson v. Moeini and the other twelve reports are described below.

Case valuation information in the Personal Injury Valuation Handbooks coincides with these results.  The Valuation Handbooks indicate that nationwide in 1998 verdicts in personal injury cases resulting in a permanent semi-permanent comatose state for plaintiffs of all age groups ranged from $5000 to $35,000,000.  The median verdict was $2,600,000 and the average verdict was $6,128,031.  The settlement range was from $30,000 to $9,250,000, with a median settlement of $1,350,000 and an average of $2,374,190.

The Valuation Handbooks also provide valuation information based on the specific factors presented.  The starting point is the "basic injury value" for a brain injury resulting in a permanent semi-permanent comatose state in a plaintiff age seventeen and under with medical expenses just under $5,000,000, which is $8,440,000.  This figure is adjusted by […]

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