- Back strains: 33%
- Disc injuries: 15%
- Spinal nerve injuries: 10%
- Head injuries: 10%
- Shoulder injuries: 4%
- Knee injuries: 3%
- Brain damage: 3%
- Vertebra injuries: 3%
- Everything else (including wrongful death): 2%
At Miller & Zois, we do not handle many simple back strain cases so that 33% probably gets knocked by at 5%. A lot of our cases come from attorney referrals from other personal injury lawyers who are keeping these types of cases for themselves, as they well should. Our website constantly underscores “serious injury only” which keeps away a lot of those smaller cases. We do this because our business model which requires us to work up every case like it is our only case (self-serving, sure, but true) does not work well with smaller cases economically.
The downside of not taking these smaller cases is that we often have more fights on our hands when it comes to liability. Most back and neck strains come from rear-end crashes which make up 44% of motor vehicle collision cases that go to trial (and I’m sure a larger percentage of cases that do not). The injuries in these cases are generally not as severe, mostly because of the metal and space between the driver and the impact. But they are, thankfully from the plaintiffs’ attorney’s perspective, easier to prove. Sure, your State Farms and GEICOs are going to fight liability in these cases. But good lawyers are not going to lose many of these cases given Maryland’s presumption of negligence in rear-end collision cases. [Incredibly, there are national statistics that show that plaintiffs win only two-thirds of auto tort cases. I have to think a lot of these are plaintiffs representing themselves or lawyers that shouldn’t be handling the case. Because there are just not that many scenarios where you should lose a rear end accident motor tort case in Maryland.]
But if you spread that extra 28% from back stains around to the other injury types (probably disproportionately to wrongful death cases and, I would think, shoulder injury cases which I think has to be 10% of our practice), this is not a bad estimate of what our practice looks like both in terms of total clients and in terms of those cases that go to trial. I don’t really notice a difference between some type of injury cases that actually go to trial more often than others.
What’s odd about these statistics – which I got from Jury Verdict Research – is that there is no mention of soft tissue neck injury cases. We also have some of these soft tissue injuries cases as well, usually former clients who we feel compelled to take care of based on the past relationship.
What Does This Information Do For Us?
Most of what I write about on this blog is to educate readers (and me). A minority of posts are of the “this is interesting” variety. This clearly falls in the latter category. This is not really news you can use but I do think it is interesting to think about this data and compare to your own practice.