How Much Is My Case Worth?

The first question our clients ask is: "What is the settlement or trial value of my case?" This article answers that one burning question. You have come to the right place to research the value of YOUR claim and how much you can expect to receive in your settlement.  

Values of Serious Personal Injury Cases

Many factors can affect the value of a case, and more importantly, how much money you will get to compensate you for the harm done. The settlement value of a case is a prediction of what a jury will decide your claim is worth. Different juries will arrive at different verdicts under the same set of circumstances.

Jurors have their personal biases that can either help or hurt you. This unpredictably leads to a wide range of results. So, for settlement purposes, we guess at what we think the jury would award to calculate a possible settlement. 

The settlement value of a claim increases over time. More than 95% of the time, the value of a case will rise from the time before suit is filed to trial. We have had many cases where the pretrial offer was more than 50 times greater than the pre-suit offer.

This is particularly true in medical malpractice cases. These are virtually impossible to settle without filing a lawsuit. In other injury cases, we have settled cases for millions of dollars when the pre-suit offer was zero. (You can find a few examples here.)

Who decides whether to settle the case? Our attorneys present the facts to the client and let them make the call. There are two choices: (1) settle the case, or (2) move forward with the litigation process.

If you have a personal injury or wrongful death claim, you can get a free, no obligation case review by filling out this brief case review form today.

Studies Looking at Value of Personal Injury Cases

There is data available to give victims some idea of the size of personal injury awards in Maryland. The nationwide median jury award in a personal injury case was approximately $40,000, and plaintiffs won 48% of jury trials. The average personal injury verdict, as opposed to the median verdict, is $985,675.

Verdicts in Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuits

In Maryland cases, the median compensation award in personal injury trials was $12,813. The median motor vehicle accident claim recovery at trial in Maryland was $11,925. That sounds awful. But, as we explain below, these numbers are very deceptive and particularly illustrative in estimating the compensation you might get in your case.  The good news for Maryland victims is that the plaintiff prevailed in 69% of the cases (as opposed to 55% nationally). Traffic collision cases had an every higher rate of victory: 83%

In contrast, plaintiffs prevailed in only 8% of medical malpractice cases in Maryland (bearing in mind that most meritorious cases often settle before trial), but the average jury award in medical malpractice cases was $808,772. The average payout in medical malpractice claims - whether a verdict or settlement - was $374,121.

The study does not break down the jury verdicts by county, but the larger jury awards in Maryland are in Baltimore and P.G. County.

Miller & Zois' Results in Personal Injury Casesmoneydamagestrial

If the data above is discouraging, you might be comforted to know that our firm's average is over 20 times that of the Maryland average. We rarely lose. We have won over 98% of the cases we have taken to trial. We have won over 80% of our medical malpractice claims compared to the state average of 8%.

More importantly, most of our cases end in a favorable settlement. Our very best cases often settle out-of-court. Insurance companies typically settle the best cases. They often let the weaker cases go to trial.

Having a lawyer with a history of getting big verdicts can drive settlement values in personal injury cases.

Having quality counsel often makes a difference not only if the case goes to trial but when the case reaches a pre-trial settlement.  Insurance companies need to believe there are repercussions when offering an unfair deal. You need an advocate the insurance companies know will come after them and look for a big verdict. 

Further, you need an advocate who has a history of getting those big verdicts. Paradoxically, attorneys that frequently try cases and get big verdicts are the same lawyers getting the best confidential settlements. Why? Because insurance companies want to resolve cases before history repeats itself.

So if you have a good case, hire experienced counsel with a real track record. You need a personal injury lawyer who is willing to fight for you.  The best attorney is your best chance of pushing past the verdict and settlement averages. 

Remember, included in that data are cases handled by lawyers who have no clue how to handle a severe injury or death claim. Your best bet to rise above those averages and maximize the value of your claim is to get an aggressive attorney who specializes in personal injury cases and knows how to win. 

The Factors That Matter in Personal Injury Cases

As we have said above, verdict statistics and our law firm's history of significant verdicts are not predictive of the results in any individual case. It sounds cliché but.... your case is unique. Figuring out what settlement payout or verdict you can expect cannot be determined with an advanced calculus formula.

“My prior lawyer was not able to get the insurance companies to offer a single penny in my case. Then my lawyer referred me to Ron and Laura. My case settled for $1.31 million.”

- A.A (Baltimore City).

You need to discuss with your lawyer the particular facts of your case and the possible defenses to your claim Then, you can come to a conclusion about what is acceptable to resolve your case.

This discussion with your advocates will include:

  • the type of injuries you suffered
  • the economic damages (lost wages and medical bills)
  • the amount of available insurance
  • how clear the causal connection is between your injuries and the accident
  • how strong your liability case is
  • the quality of all of the witnesses
  • the expected jury perceptions of you and the defendant
  • how your pain and suffering from the injuries have impacted your life

What does not matter? A lot of things that should count towards settlement value but do not:

  • You could have died
  • You have gotten behind in paying your bills
  • How you couldn't buy a new car with the money you got for your property damage
  • All of the things that could have happened during surgery but didn't
  • Medical problems you could have that are not likely to occur

These things are not admissible at trial, and the adjuster will not consider them in determining how much money they should offer. Is this fair? No. What can you do? You fight harder to get compensation for those things that you can get compensated for at trial: your medical bills, lost wages, and, most importantly in every case we handle, your pain and suffering.

We already touched on the other huge variable that the insurance company considers right from the beginning: the location of the trial. In Maryland, Baltimore City and Prince George's County are he most favorable venues for plaintiffs. Conversely, in more rural areas of Maryland, jury awards are often more conservative. This is true not just in Maryland, but throughout the United States -- jury awards are typically higher in urban areas than in rural areas.

How the Insurance Companies Estimate Value in Accident Cases

In motor vehicle crash claims, most of the insurance companies our lawyers deal with utilize computer software to determine the value of claims. They don't care about you, your agony, your pain and suffering, or the tragedy of you never being yourself again. They care about hanging on to their money. There is no sense getting mad about it. You just have to find someone willing to buckle their chin straps and fight for you.

Most insurers use a computer system called Colossus or a similar program. The insurance adjuster inputs the data from your case, and it spits out a range of settlement outcomes.

Tips on Each Insurance Company

Colossus then specifically looks to the causes of your pain described in your medical records. One of the most critical questions is whether the injuries are permanent. The computer gives higher values for objective injuries, like broken bones and herniated discs than for soft tissue injuries. Colossus also gives higher value when the patient went to the hospital for initial treatment immediately after the collision.

While Colossus and similar programs do have some value, the problem is they cannot grasp the complexity of a human's pain and suffering. A computer cannot place a dollar value on pain and suffering or how an injury impacted a person's life. How much is it worth to not be able to pick up your newborn baby without extreme pain? How does it feel to lose your only living parent? 

There is no way a computer can answer these questions. Colossus does not try to bake that into its settlement payout formula. It just assumes pain and suffering have little value.

This is why your counsel must fully explain to the insurance company why your injuries are different. Otherwise, a lawsuit is the only path to obtain fair value for your case. When your lawyer files a lawsuit, the insurance companies will sometimes take a second look at the real trial value of the case, particularly when they know that the attorneys handling the case are willing to go to trial.

While Colossus cannot appreciate pain and suffering and the real impact of the injury on the victim, judges and juries do. They consider many factors that Colossus ignores. It is only a formula. Juries make distinctions on how much your case is worth based upon whether or not they think the plaintiff is a good and honest person who has suffered.

The settlement value of the same injury can vary. If your injury is a scar on your face, the amount of compensation will depend on the victim. Sex, age, pride in appearance, are going to matter in determining how much money you are going to get for your case.

The same goes for ankle and leg injuries, where the victim can no longer run. If you are a couch potato, the value is less than the client who can tell a jury they ran a marathon last year. These details matter to every juror. But the computer tunes them out completely. Juries are the polar opposite of computers. Juries respond to human pain and agony. An algebraic equation responds to raw data.

Let's take an example case we brought to trial. A mom who used to be a shopaholic with her three kids but now cannot get off a bench at the mall -- or even get to the mall -- because of the harm caused to her. A computer cannot understand or calculate this kind of impact on a person. Thankfully, the real decider is not a computer but human beings. They understand all too well what real human suffering is (and what it is not).

Picking a Lawyer: Why It Matters So Much Even for Settlementcourt

Claims adjusters and even their computers consider whether your attorney has a history of winning at trial. They also look to see if plaintiff's counsel settles all of their personal injury cases (or has no history at all). This is an important reason the quality of your attorney matters even if you intend to settle your case without filing a lawsuit.

Our law firm handles serious personal injury cases. If you have been hurt, or a loved one has been tragically killed by someone else's negligence, call to speak to one of our attorneys at 800-553-8082 or get a free no obligation consultation.

Sample Demand LettersValues of Specific InjuriesWrongful DeathTruck Accident CasesCar, Motorcycle and Pedestrian Accident CasesMalpractice, Premises Liability, and Product Liability CasesSpecific JurisdictionsRelated Articles
  • More information you can use in valuing personal injury claims
  • You May Be Entitled to More Lost Wages Than You Think
  • Handling Your Motor Vehicle Claim Without Hiring Counsel: tips on proceeding without a lawyer
  • Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): personal injury victim FAQs
  • Everything a Personal Injury Victim Needs to Know
  • Is There a Formula to Calculate Personal Injury Accident Settlement Value: discussion of whether there is a formula to calculate settlements
If You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

We handle personal injury accident and malpractice cases in Maryland. If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed as the result of the negligence of someone else, call us now at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.

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Client Reviews

They quite literally worked as hard as if not harder than the doctors to save our lives.
Ron helped me find a clear path that ended with my foot healing and a settlement that was much more than I hope for. Aaron Johnson
Hopefully I won't need it again but if I do, I have definitely found my lawyer for life and I would definitely recommend this office to anyone! Bridget Stevens, Google User
The last case I referred to them settled for $1.2 million. John Selinger
I am so grateful that I was lucky to pick Miller & Zois. Maggie Lauer, Google User
The entire team from the intake Samantha to the lawyer himself (Ron Miller) has been really approachable. Suzette Allen, Google User
The case settled and I got a lot more money than I expected. Ron even fought to reduce how much I owed in medical bills so I could get an even larger settlement. Nchedo Idahosa