Legal Memorandum: Verdicts for Head Injuries

Issue: Jury verdicts and settlements from New York County and the surrounding area involving head injuries leading to cognitive problems or behavioral changes.

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Jury verdicts and settlements; Head injuries leading to cognitive problems or behavioral changes
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: 670 N.Y.S.2d 615; 681 N.Y.S.2d 661; 240 A.D.2d 904; 248 A.D.2d 905; 671 N.Y.S.2d 737; 256 A.D.2d 839
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 06/01/2000

A search through jury verdict files, from 1995 to the present, involving similar injuries for similar plaintiffs yielded verdicts and settlements ranging from $50,000 to $2,549,675.

Information in the Personal Injury Valuation Handbooks (1999) based on national studies of recent similar cases indicates that the basic injury value (BIV) for a mild brain injury[1] to a child, assuming medical expenses are between $10,000 and $19,999, was $102,150.  For adult males, assuming the same range for medical expenses the BIV is $57,600.  Those figures are based on the verdict median in such cases ($200,000).[2]  The verdict probability range[3] for mild brain injuries was $35,000 to $781,775, the actual verdict range was from $1 to $30,593,831, and the verdict mean[4] was $734,298.  Twenty percent of all awards exceeded $1,000,000.

The Handbooks also provide statistics relating to settlements, noting that difficulties in determining the number of settlements affects the data sampling and the reliability of the results.  Arbitration and mediation awards are not included in the sample.  Nevertheless, the Handbooks report that the settlement median for mild brain injuries is $250,000, and the probability range is between $80,000 and $800,000.  The settlement range stretches from $107 to $22,500,000, and the mean settlement is $688,663.

Using the BIV for male adult plaintiffs, $57,600, certain adjustments may be for a variety of factors relating to the case.  For example, when a case is venued in New York county, the BIV is adjusted upward by 18%.  If […]

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