After my blog entry about New Hampshire verdicts a few days ago, I received a few emails from Maryland lawyers asking if I knew the data for Maryland plaintiffs. In Maryland the accident victim is successful at trial in 83% of auto accident personal injury cases.
This is a very high success ratio given the fact that among the remaining 17%, many are brought by lawyers that did not understand what factors were required to bring a successful personal injury case. My wife, Lisa Miller, used to defend cases as an attorney for Nationwide Insurance. She handled too many cases where there was a fatal flaw in the case: the Plaintiff did not have an expert, the liability argument would be illogical, etc.
I have to think these types of cases make up a decent portion of the 17% of the auto accident cases in Maryland that are not successful. In personal injury cases generally in Maryland, which includes medical malpractice, slip and falls and other non-vehicle accident cases, the average falls to 69% (as opposed to 55% nationally).
In terms of value, the data is also interesting. Nationally, the median jury award in a personal injury case is $38,461. In Maryland, the median compensatory award in tort trials is far less: $12,813. Specifically, in auto accident cases in Maryland the median verdict is $11,277. I think this data is a bit misleading because too many small claims type cases end in front of juries in Maryland. Defense lawyers have the ability to remove cases to Circuit Court if the plaintiff seeks more than $10,000 (but less than $25,000, which qualifies it for District Court which they frequently do, primarily to torment plaintiffs’ counsel.
The story in medical malpractice cases if very different. Plaintiffs prevailed in only 8% of medical malpractice cases in Maryland. This number is misleading because the best malpractice cases typically settle. The last data I saw on average medical malpractice settlements in Maryland came from The Daily Record on April 28, 2006. This article quoted T. Michael Preston, executive director of MedChi, the Maryland state doctors’ association, who said that the average paid medical malpractice claim in Maryland was $387,077 in 2003. Although his source was Medical Mutual, the leading medical malpractice insurer in Maryland, I do not have any reason to quarrel with this data. According to Jury Verdicts Research, the average jury award for successful medical malpractice cases is $808,772.