What to Know About Work Injury Settlement Amounts in 2024

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Written By Rocky Horton

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Work injury settlement amounts vary based on the circumstances of each case. Settlements provide compensation to people who’ve been hurt on the job, either in an accident or by a chronic injury. Employers are required to offer avenues of compensation for these injuries in the form of workers’ comp. However, not all injury claims will be paid, and work injury settlement amounts can vary widely based on the type of injury, the available evidence, and the negotiations with your employer’s workers’ comp attorneys.

If you were hurt on the job, contact an experienced work injury lawyer to learn more about your eligibility for a settlement. In this article, we review different types of work-related injury settlements so that you can get a better idea of the compensation you deserve in your situation. However, every situation differs depending on the circumstances of the accident, the severity of your injuries, and more, which is why an experienced work injury attorney is essential for calculating and filing a successful claim.

Common Types of Work Injuries

Work injury settlement amounts vary based on the type of injury, the circumstances of the accident or diagnosis, and the severity of the damage. The most common types of injuries differ across different industries depending on what workers are typically exposed to and the behaviors required to complete their jobs. Overexertion and strain injuries, for example, occur most frequently in maintenance, material transport, and service industries while carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in truck drivers and office workers.

Depending on the type of injury you sustained, workers’ comp may require different types of evidence to validate your claim and may offer different compensation depending on the standard payout for those injuries. It’s significant to be able to broadly categorize your injury because your actions following the accident or diagnosis as well as your doctor’s determination of its severity can directly impact the compensation you eventually receive.

Here are broad categories that represent the most common injuries, both acute and chronic, that a work injury settlement is likely to concern.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls represent 18% of all work injuries. They are most common in the service, material moving, construction, and installation industries.

Overexertion, Sprains, and Strains

Overexertion, sprains, and strains account for 21.7-22.7% of all work injuries and are most common in jobs that require lifting or walking on walkways.

Exposure to Harmful Substances or Environments

Exposure to harmful substances only accounts for around 1% of work injuries, but they tend to be severe due to the nature of the illnesses (including cancer) that can result from them. They can also be more difficult to prove since exposure to a harmful environment often results in a chronic illness rather than an acute injury.

Contact with Objects or Equipment

Situation where workers were caught in equipment or struck by an object account for 2.5-3.8% of workplace injuries, though the injuries that result can be severe, depending on the weight of the object and the behavior of the worker before the injury.

What Factors Affect Work Injury Settlements?

The primary factors that impact work injury settlement amounts include the type and severity of the injury, the effect the injury will have on your ability to work, the expenses you must pay to treat the injury, and your work history. Your work history may even include your age since a younger worker who becomes disabled will be more likely to need a large settlement than an older worker, who may have been more predisposed to such an injury.

As detailed below, the type of injury you sustain has a direct impact on the settlement amount due to how different injuries have a greater or lesser impact on a worker’s ability to continue in their job, as well as how much they typically cost to treat.

Notably, workers’ comp only settles with workers for the monetary damages they sustained because of their injury, including predicted future expenses such as medical treatments and lost wages. Pain and suffering, anguish, and other non-monetary costs are not covered by workers’ comp, so they are not factors in your settlement amount.

How to Calculate Work Injury Settlements?

To calculate a work injury settlement, add up the current and future expenses you will have to pay due to your injury. These include:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital bills, ambulances, prescription medication costs, therapy bills, testing costs, and more
  • Predicted medical expenses, such as surgeries, treatments, or medications you may need in the future
  • Lost wages, including any work you have already missed or will likely miss in the future due to your injury
  • Retraining costs, such as when an injury is so severe that you cannot keep your current job and need to be retrained for a new one
  • Specific loss, which refers to any loss of function due to an injury such as the loss of a limb, an eye, a loss of hearing, etc.

Note that lost wages are based on your weekly income, and the amount of these wages that you will be compensated by workers’ comp depends on eligibility requirements decided by your state’s workers’ compensation laws. You may also be able to receive disability payments while your workers’ comp settlement is being decided.

While no average work injury settlement amount adequately accounts for every case, just know that a workers’ comp attorney may try to offer you a settlement based on their own calculations. It is highly advised that you speak with a work injury attorney before accepting such a settlement.

Average Upper Body Work Injury Settlement Amounts

According to the National Safety Council, upper-body work injuries occur more frequently than lower-body injuries, with 246,910 reported In 2020. The most common types of upper-body work injuries are sprains, strains, tears, and lacerations.

The industries most affected by upper-body work injuries are the service, transportation, material moving, installation, repair, and production injuries. Floors and walkways were the locations most prone to these injuries, especially when machinery or hand tools were involved. Shoulder injuries also accounted for the most days lost on average (28) of any body part.

Here’s a breakdown of the average work injury settlement amounts for each upper-body injury type. But remember that every settlement differs depending on the factors discussed above.

Head Work Injury Settlement Amount

Head injury settlements include head trauma, eye injuries, concussions, and more. The average settlement amount is around $92,500.

Neck Work Injury Settlement Amount

Neck injuries can have a nervous system component and sometimes result in partial or permanent disability. The average settlement is around $61,500.

Arm and Shoulder Work Injury Settlement Amount

Arm and shoulder injuries, including torn rotator cuffs and other ligament damage, pay an average settlement of $46,200.

Chest Work Injury Settlement Amount

Chest injuries, often the result of a fall or a crushing injury, settle for an average of $42,300.

Upper Back Work Injury Settlement Amount

Upper back injuries most commonly result from overexertion, lifting, or falling, and are compensated around $33,200 on average.

Hand, Finger, and Wrist Work Injury Settlement Amount

Hand, finger, and wrist injuries are settled differently depending on the severity of the disability they cause. On average, these injuries settle for around $25,000, but injuries involving severe carpal tunnel syndrome can settle for $50,000 or more.

Average Lower Body Work Injury Settlement Amounts

Lower-body work injuries typically happen in the transportation, material moving, construction, extraction, and service industries. Falls, slips, trips, overexertion, and contact with equipment are the primary events that cause lower-body work injuries, according to the NSC.

Serious injuries to the lower body often result in a loss of mobility, either permanently or temporarily. A torn ligament will be a far different settlement amount than the loss of a leg, so there is no accurate average for all lower-body work injury settlements.

However, here is a breakdown of the different sub-categories of lower-body injuries to give you a better picture of the settlement you can expect based on your situation.

Lower Back Work Injury Settlement Amount

Lower back injuries usually result from improper lifting techniques or falls and settle for around $37,000 on average, but it could be more if a permanent disability is indicated.

Hip, Thigh, and Pelvis Work Injury Settlement Amount

Hip, thigh, and pelvis injuries settle for around $58,200 on average, owing to the high possibility of disability.

Leg Work Injury Settlement Amount

Leg injuries (not including knees) can vary widely in severity, but they are usually compensated $57,500 on average due to the worker’s loss of mobility.

Knee Work Injury Settlement Amount

Knee work injuries result in 18 days of work absence on average according to the NSC, nearly the highest of any body part, and are compensated $33,200 on average.

Ankle Work Injury Settlement Amount

Ankle injuries as distinct from leg injuries settle for around $30,500.

Foot and Toe Work Injury Settlement Amount

Foot and toe work injuries vary depending on the toe, but they settle for $27,600 on average.

Should You Hire a Lawyer after a Work Injury?

You should hire a lawyer after a work injury due to their expertise in filing for compensation, their knowledge of state labor laws, and their negotiating power. While employers often support their employees by filing their workers’ comp claims right away, sometimes employers delay or even deny their employees’ injury claims.

In that case, a work injury attorney will be instrumental in getting your settlement or filing a work-related lawsuit against the employer to get additional compensation. Additionally, since state-specific statutes of limitations and other labor laws can impact your case, an experienced attorney is critical for navigating these requirements.

While you can always represent yourself, unrepresented workers can sometimes be tricked into a lowball settlement amount by their employer’s lawyers. Having an attorney in your corner is the best way to ensure you get the settlement you deserve.


There are many types of work injuries in different industries, but they share the same workers’ comp process when settling for the medical costs of treating those injuries. An accurate calculation of your medical expenses and lost wages ensures that you know the settlement you are entitled to when dealing with the workers’ comp attorneys. However, the best way to receive your full settlement is to hire an experienced work injury lawyer to gather the right evidence, file on time, and fight for your case.

Rocky Horton

Rocky Horton


Rocky Horton is a health and safety expert from Chapel Hill, NC. He is the founder of AccidentAdvisor and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, and other publications. Learn more.