The Value of Personal Injury Cases: A Jurisdictional Comparison

In the last couple of weeks, I have 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.  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

Why Are State to State Comparisons Misleading?

This data is arguably misleading because of 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 will be a lot lower.  New York is a great example.  So many garbage soft tissue injury cases in Baltimore City go to trial and get verdicts below $10,000.  Those cases never see their way into a courtroom in New York or Florida, and that really helps those states keep their averages up.  (Or, I’m rationalizing why I don’t pick up and move.  I can’t be sure.)

In Maryland, for example, where the average verdict in personal injury cases is around $12,000, many small claim type personal injury cases find their way to Maryland juries. This is because defense lawyers in tort cases can 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. Still, I think the data is interesting because it gives some indication of the jurisdictional differences.

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