[Note: This post was originally written in 2006 and then updated in 2014 and 2018.]
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 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.
Average Value of Injury Verdicts
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. These statistics have risen in 2018. But not significantly. I believe the last average personal injury verdict in the United States that I saw was around $55,000 (but don’t quote me on that).
Remember, the type of case really matters. Soft tissue injury cases are worth much less than wrongful death cases, as they should be.
- How to calculate the value of your injury case
- Value of medical malpractice cases based on the type of claim
- My book on maximizing the value of your case
Average Personal Injury Verdicts in Maryland
In Maryland accident cases, the median compensatory award in personal injury trials was $12,813. That is awful, right? You do not see this statistic cited often because it is actively misleading, as we explain below. The average personal injury settlement or verdict in Maryland has not been calculated but it is a lot more than the median. I guess but I think our average personal injury verdict over last few years is over $1 million. Of course, some big verdicts push up that average. Still, the median is awful low. If our firm takes a case a trial and we get a $12,000 verdict, we get a $4,800 fee. But we would lose money on that case in every scenario. It costs more than that to get the case to trial.
Chances of Winning at Trial in Maryland
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.
Why the Maryland Average Verdict Is So Low
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 $30,000 in damages). These cases should be in District Court (for smaller claims with a judge instead of a jury). 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. So the numbers are distorted by itty bitty cases that never should have gone to a jury in the first place.