The Value of Personal Injury Cases: A Jurisdictional Comparision

May 24, 2007

In the last couple of weeks, the Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer blog has put out a lot of data on compensation awards in medical malpractice cases and in auto and truck accident cases. In my research on these posts, I found some other data comparing different states’ verdicts. Although this data is a little dated (1994-2000), I thought it was interesting for lawyers in different jurisdictions to compare verdicts:

New York ……….. $275,000

South Dakota ….. $120,913

Minnesota ………. $111,488

New Jersey …….. $104,750

Pennsylvania …… $100,000

Louisiana ……….. $ 95,000

Georgia ………….. $ 12,000

Oklahoma ………. $ 10,282

Tennessee ……… $ 10,891

Arkansas ……….. $ 10,000

North Carolina …. $ 10,000

South Carolina ….$ 10,000

National overall … $ 45,000

This data is arguably misleading because to the varying thresholds to get to a jury trial in a particular jurisdiction. If a jurisdiction allows, or even requires, jury trials for cases where the plaintiff’s lawyer is seeking, for example, over $10,000, the awards are going to be a lot lower.

In Maryland, for example, where the average verdict in personal injuries cases is around $12,000, many small claim type personal injury cases find their way to Maryland juries. This is because defense lawyers in personal injury cases in Maryland have the ability to remove a case to the Circuit Court from the District Court (if the plaintiff seeks more than $10,000 but less than $25,000). Defense lawyers often do primarily to increase the burden on Maryland personal injury lawyers in jurisdictions where juries are less favorable (counties other than Baltimore and Prince George’s). Still, I think the data is interesting because it gives personal injury attorneys some idea of the jurisdictional differences.

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