It is always interesting for a personal injury attorney to hear about trial verdicts in accident cases. We subscribe to Metro Verdicts Monthly which summarizes primarily personal injury accident cases in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. Basically, Metro Verdicts Monthly calls the attorneys involved in the case and tries to get as the key details of the case from them. One of the most interesting facts is the pretrial demand and offer. (Sometimes, the lawyers cannot even agree on that which does not make you wonder how the case went to trial!) Metro Verdicts Monthly will also – for a fee, of course – conduct research of similar cases to your facts. Our accident lawyers have used this on a few occasions in fighting motions from defense lawyers to reduce the jury’s verdict in personal injury cases.
Another interesting resource that looks more to individual cases is Jury Verdict Research which looks not only at individual cases but collects data from as many personal injury cases as it can around the country. In 2005, they reported on jury awards in accident cases. Nationally, it found that the median jury award in a personal injury case was $38,461 and the nationwide plaintiff recovery probability was 55 percent.
In Maryland accident cases, the median compensatory award in personal injury trials was $12,813. The good news for injury victims and Maryland accident lawyers is that the injured party prevailed in 69% of Maryland accident cases (as opposed to 55% nationally). Specifically, in Maryland auto accidents, the injury victim prevailed on liability at trial in 83% of the cases. The average jury award in Maryland car accident personal injury cases was $11,277. This study did not consider the jury verdicts by Maryland county but certainly the larger jury awards in Maryland are in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City.
From reading Metro Verdicts, I suspect that one of the reasons Maryland verdicts are relatively low compared to the national average is because so many Baltimore accident lawyers are filing 10-104 cases (where you do not need a medical expert to testify that the medical bills and treatment were reasonable and necessary, but the plaintiff is limited to $25,000 in damages). These cases should be in district court but most Baltimore personal injury lawyers fear filing suit in Baltimore City District Court in small cases because the verdicts are traditionally very low in comparison to other state district courts in Maryland.