When a victim dies as the result of someone's mistake, the last thing they are thinking about is how much money they will get for their loss. Almost invariably, they focus on their pain and grief and the anguish of others they love dealing with the loss.
But after that, the survivors turn to their desire for at least some measure of justice and how they will survive economically. From this, their question becomes, "How much money will I get to compensate me for this loss?" Are their statistics and data on Maryland wrongful death verdicts that will help me better understand the range of compensation I can expect?
This page will provide answers for you to these questions.Average Wrongful Death Settlement/Verdict
More on Wrongful Death
There are a lot of statistics that provide information on the average value of a wrongful death claim, both in Maryland and nationally. Here are a few useful statistics:
- The average fatal accident or malpractice claim for an adult man is $4.1 million ($1.4 million median); for an adult woman, it is $3.1 million ($1.4 million median)
- The average verdict for a minor male is $4.3 million ($2 million median); for minor girls, the average is $3.4 million ($1.5 million median). No, we can't explain the difference.
- The average verdict for deaths over 65 is $1.3 million.
- The average settlement/verdict (combining the two) in Maryland traffic accident death claims is $500,000.
The last statistic seems out of place. Why does the average value fall to $500,000 when settled cases are thrown into the mix. Two reasons:
- There are many car accident deaths where the insurance policies are not large enough to cover the loss.
- The cap on pain and suffering damages limits the settlement value of the case to less than the average of what a jury might give. Accordingly, if a jury awards $10 million in pain and suffering, for example, that verdict would be reduced to between $680,000 and $2 million, depending on the details of the case and the year of the fatality.
So, to give you a better idea of the value of a case, we provide below some verdicts and settlements - most handled by our law firm, Miller & Zois - in Maryland wrongful death cases. Keep in mind, especially when there is a fatality, you can't perfectly compare verdicts. No two verdicts are alike. The results in one case cannot accurately predict the results in another. Yes, these settlements and verdicts are helpful to understanding the value of these claims. But you need to take these with a pinch - and sometimes a handful - of salt.
- 2017 Maryland Settlement of $1.65 Million. Our client's son ran out of gas on the side of the road. A friend delivered gas to him near his stranded vehicle. On his walk back to the car, a distracted truck driver drifted into the shoulder and killed him.
- 2016 Maryland Settlement of $1.5 Million. Victim in his 20s had a flat tire and was killed while preparing to change the tire when a truck came off the road and hit him.. Miller & Zois represented the child's mother in the case.
- 2015 Maryland Settlement of $3.8 Million. Hospital malpractice case where the victim needed ongoing care.
- 2015 West Virginia Settlement of $3.25 Million. Maryland resident lost his wife after she miscarried their child. The woman, a medical doctor herself, presented to the emergency room with an infection that went untreated and led to her death. Miller & Zois handled this case.
- 2013 Maryland Verdict of $5.5 Million: A woman died after open heart surgery when wires were removed from her chest after a successful surgery. The evidence at trial was that when the pacing wires were pulled, they lacerated or cut her newly placed vein graft, causing her to bleed to death. Miller & Zois handled this case.
- 2013 Maryland Settlement for $300,000 – Horrific accident involving an 18-year-old girl who is tragically killed when the vehicle in which she was a passenger travels the wrong way on a highway, striking another vehicle head-on. Her 19-year-old driver and another 18-year-old passenger were also killed, as well as the 55-year-old driver of the vehicle that they struck. Both drivers were determined to be intoxicated. This case settled for a total of $300,000. Liberty Mutual, the insurance carrier for the driver of the vehicle that was struck, contributes $50,000, and another $100,000 is provided by USAA as the insurance carrier for the other driver and $150,000 also from USAA as the uninsured motorist carrier. Ron Miller and Laura Zois from Miller & Zois handled this case, which was profiled by CNN and hundreds of other newspapers and television outlets. This case also showed the depths that you have to go to sometimes to find insurance coverage. Half of this settlement came from a car insurance policy issued in Germany. This is the classic example of hunting down insurance policies in the least likely of places.
- 2012 Maryland Settlement for $1,000,000 – An eighteen-year-old girl is horrifically killed by a pick-up truck, in front of several witnesses, while pushing her infant in a stroller. Miraculously, her child is unharmed. The suit is filed in Baltimore City. The defendant's insurance company, Allstate, tried to move the case to Baltimore County where the accident happened but they failed. The defendant driver has a commercial policy with a million dollars in coverage. The case settles for policy limits. Ron Miller from our law firm handled this case.
- 2012 Maryland Verdict for $760,000 – A beautiful 24-year-old girl is killed when another driver runs a red light in Baltimore and strikes her vehicle in the intersection. The tortfeasor offered their policy limits immediately, and the case went to trial against the uninsured carrier. A lot of drama was involved with this claim against Progressive, who tendered their $100,000 policy after the jury’s verdict of $760,000.
- 2012 Maryland Verdict for $805,000 – A woman in a motorized wheelchair is traveling down the street in Anne Arundel County when she is struck by a truck exiting a local business. She passes away from her injuries shortly after being struck. Suit is filed, and a jury finds the defendant driver to be negligent. The decedent’s family and her estate are awarded $805,000 by the jury.
- 2011 Maryland Settlement for $300,000 – A 57-year-old man is tragically killed when his Toyota 4Runner is violently rear-ended at a stop light. The accident occurred in Montgomery County. Unfortunately, the driver responsible had an out of state policy with a $15,000 limit. Thankfully there was another $285,000 in uninsured benefits available through the decedent’s GEICO policy. Ron Miller from our law firm handled this case.
- 2010 Maryland Settlement for $50,000 – A 20-year-old man is struck and killed while attempting to cross the road. He is pronounced dead at the scene. The driver is uninsured. The case settles for the deceased’s parents’ policy limits of $50,000 with whom he resided. The UIM carrier was Encompass Insurance Company. This case underscores the worst case wrongful death claim scenario. You have a young man in the prime of his life. A wonderful mother with an unbelievably forgiving spirit. But the recovery is only $50,000. Again, the take-home message is that sometimes, you turn over every stone, and there is still no real coverage. Ron Miller from our firm handled this case.
- 2010 Maryland Settlement for $100,000 - An 18-year-old girl is tragically killed when she is rear-ended while stopped and waiting to make a left-hand turn. After an extensive search for all available insurance policies is conducted, the case settles for the tortfeasor’s limits of $100,000. State Farm is the at-fault insurance carrier. Ron Miller from our law firm handled this case.
- 2008 Maryland Settlement for $750,000 – A 37-year-old motorcyclist is struck and killed by a Freightliner truck who failed to yield the right of way. The deceased is survived by his mother and minor daughter. The case settled in mediation. Ron Miller&Laura Zois from Miller & Zois handled this case.
- 2008 Maryland Settlement for $80,000 – A 65-year-old pedestrian is struck and killed while trying to cross the road. MAIF is the tortfeasor’s insurance carrier, and the case settles before trial for $80,000. Our firm handled this matter. Ron Miller and Rod Gaston from Miller & Zois handled this case.
- 2007 Maryland Verdict for $8,005,000 – Horrific case. A 23-year-old man was instantly killed when the car in which he was a passenger crossed the center line, and was t-boned on the passenger’s side by a tour bus. The driver of the vehicle was drunk and ran from the scene. The case went to trial, and the jury awarded the man’s mother and his estate an incredible $8 million. Ron Miller and Laura Zois from Miller & Zois handled this case.
- Medication error wrongful death malpractice verdicts
- Valuing nursing home malpractice cases
More on Wrongful Death
Listed below are some of the most recent verdicts from other wrongful death cases in Maryland not handled by our firm. Keep in mind that these cases are not necessarily reflective of the average value of a wrongful death case.
- Jones v Zibell (2018 Baltimore County) $273,026 – Nursing Home Neg: Deceased male in this case was relatively at just 56, but he had a host of very serious health problems including myotonic dystrophy, missing teeth, dysphagia, and a history of problematic swallowing. His health conditions were so bad that he was living in a nursing home. While in the nursing home he was given regular food and ended up choking and eventually dying. His estate sued the doctors for malpractice alleging that they were negligent in not putting the decedent on a soft food diet in light of his history. Defendants denied wrongdoing and the case went to trial. The jury found the defendants negligent, but only awarded $273k in damages. Most of those damages ($248k) were for the wife’s loss of services. The small amount of the award was probably due to the fact that the decedent was in extremely poor health and probably would not have lived much longer anyways.
- Delovich v Kassamali (2016 Baltimore County) $3.9 million - Failure to Diagnose: In this wrongful death case the deceased was a 28-year-old male who had a heart attack and died from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Prior to his death the decedent had consulted with defendant cardiologist on multiple occasions for chest pain, but was never diagnosed with any cardiac condition despite the chest pain and numerous risk factors indicative of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, being a former smoker, and having a sedentary lifestyle. The estate sued the cardiologist for malpractice alleging that the doctor failed to perform a complete and appropriate workup, including a stress test. The jury awarded $3.9 million in damages, but that award was later reduced by the Court to $882k.
- Netro v GBMC (2016 Baltimore County) $451,956 – Surgical Negligence: Deceased was an older female who underwent hip replacement surgery at defendant GBMC hospital. After the surgery decedent began to experience numbness, tingling, sensory changes and weakness in her legs. The decedent's condition allegedly worsened until she was unable to move her feet and legs, but she reportedly was not sent for an MRI until hours later. The MRI eventually revealed a hematoma at the site her epidural block. By the time the hematoma was discovered it was too late save her and she died. Her estate sued GBMC and the anesthesiologist for negligent post-operative care. Jury awarded $450k.
- Ragan v Advanced Radiology (2017 Baltimore County) $465,000 – Misdiagnosis: In this case the deceased was a middle aged male who died after his kidney cancer went undiagnosed and spread to his lungs and bones. His estate sued Advanced Radiology for medical malpractice alleging that its radiologists failed to properly read, interpret and report the findings of chest, abdomen, and pelvis CT scans and failing to report two masses on the decedent's kidney which resulted in delayed diagnosis and treatment. Defendants denied that they did anything wrong but the jury ultimately awarded $465,000. The low amount of the award was probably due to the fact that timely diagnosis would have only increased decedent’s chances of survival, not guaranteed them.
If you live in the Baltimore-Washington area someone you love has been killed, we can help you. Get a free online no obligation consultation with our lawyers or just call us at 800-553-8082.More on Death Claims in Baltimore-Washington Area