While average personal injury claim settlement amounts range from $3,000 to $75,000, the average payout is $52,900.
Whether the case involves a defective product, a car accident, or another form of accidental injury, most personal injury claims are settled out of court. In fact, only four to five percent ever go to trial.
But, it’s the court cases that tend to produce the most dramatic results, where claimants can receive huge amounts or nothing at all.
Read on to find out more about the personal injury cases that resulted in some of the biggest payouts of all time.
The Biggest Personal Injury Claim Settlement Amounts
Although there are many factors which affect compensation amounts, claimants represented by a personal injury attorney Los Angeles are nearly twice as likely to get compensation. And, those armed with a lawyer receive 340 percent more than those who try to represent themselves.
Check out the huge settlements awarded in these five history-making personal injury cases:
1. $206 Billion for the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
The UK might be one of the few countries to experience significant success in the battle against smoking. But back in 1998, 46 US states joined together to wage a different kind of war against Big Tobacco.
The personal injury suits were brought about by the 46 states against America’s four largest tobacco companies – Philip Morris Inc., Lorillard, R. J. Reynolds, and Brown & Williamson. The case sought to recover the cost of caring for long-term smokers, as well as punitive damages for unethical business practices and misleading advertising.
In a case that gripped the nation, the jury found Big Tobacco at fault. Their punishment was to pay $206 billion over the course of 25 years. This money provided financial help for hospitals, as well as funding for an anti-smoking organization.
2. $150 Billion to the Family of Robbie Middleton
Violent crime cases don’t come much more horrific than that of eight-year-old Robbie Middleton.
In 1998, 13-year-old Don Wilburn Collins sexually assaulted Middleton, who was his neighbor at the time. Two weeks later, in an attempt to cover his previous crime and silence his victim, Collins tied Middleton to a tree, soaked him in gasoline and set him on fire.
Although Middleton survived, he received third-degree burns over 99 percent of his body. Then in 2010, in an even more tragic turn of events, Middleton died of skin cancer, attributed to the countless skin grafts he had endured.
Following a deathbed video where Middleton named his attacker and the motive for the attack, Middleton’s family filed a civil lawsuit against Collins for causing Robbie’s death.
A jury found Collins guilty of felony murder and he was sentenced as an adult. Robbie’s family received a symbolic personal injury settlement of $150 billion in punitive damages.
3. $1.2 Billion to the Anderson Family
In 1993, a drunk driver hit a Chevrolet Malibu containing six members of the Anderson family. The Anderson’s fuel tank caught on fire and exploded as a result of the impact, causing severe burns to all six members of the family, which included four children.
The family sought compensatory damages from their car’s manufacturer, General Motors. The case went to trial and the family was awarded a total of $4.9 billion. Of this amount, $107.6 million was for compensatory damages and $4.8 billion was for punitive damages.
GM appealed and the Superior Court Judge reduced the settlement to $1.2 billion. Although, even this reduced figure is still one of the largest personal injury settlement amounts ever.
4. $90 Million to Tracy Morgan
In 2014, Walmart truck driver Kevin Roper hit a minibus containing several passengers and caused a six-vehicle crash. Passengers in the minibus included the comedians Tracy Morgan, Ardie Fuqua, and James McNair.
James McNair died as a result of the crash, while Morgan sustained a traumatic brain injury, as well as several broken ribs, a broken nose, and a broken leg. A criminal court case found that Roper hadn’t slept for over 24 hours and was close to the federal limits of 14 hours per day and 11 hours behind the wheel.
Later that year, Tracy Morgan sued Walmart for negligence on behalf of himself and several other passengers. The suit alleged that Walmart either knew or should have been aware that Roper was sleep-deprived and in no fit state to drive at the time of the accident.
In 2015, Walmart settled the lawsuit out of court for an undisclosed amount. But, comedian Damon Wayans stated on Charlamagne the God’s show that Morgan’s personal injury settlement was around $90 million.
5. $60 Million to Donald French
In 1997, a 38-car train operated by Norfolk Southern derailed and crashed into a track-side gas station in Gainesville, Virginia.
Gas station manager Donald French was working in his office at the time of the crash. When the train careened into the service station, it trapped and crushed French between two jack-knifed train cars. And, although French survived the accident, he sustained severe injuries to his legs as well as a traumatic brain injury.
In 2000, French was awarded a total of $60 million. This included $46 million in damages and $14 million in interest.
The Largest Personal Injury Settlement Amounts
As some of the largest payouts in history, these personal injury claim settlement amounts are extreme. But they do go to show how much payouts can reach when injured parties pursue lawsuits like these.
And, while there are many factors which influence the potential settlement amount, it’s clear that without legal representation, these and most other personal injury suits wouldn’t have been as successful.
If you think you may be due compensation following a recent accident, check out this guide explaining what to do if you’ve suffered a personal injury.