In this video, Ron Miller talks about the key factors that impact the settlement value of a typical car accident personal injury case in Maryland. No matter what type of case or how serious the injury, the one closest to the heart of our clients is usually “how much is my car accident case worth?”
This is absolutely the right question to ask. I know we are not supposed to talk about money, right? Our salaries are secret, we don’t talk about how much we pay for things. We need to set all of that aside.
Why? Our civil justice system only awards monetary damages for injuries. So the very purpose of bringing a personal injury case for an auto accident is to get as much money as possible for the harm that has been done to you. Look, nobody in this game is trying to be fair except the judge and jury. The insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible. Lawyers like me, if they are doing their job correctly, are trying to get you even more money than your case deserves. That is how the system works. Some people say it is not a good system and they might be right. But it is the best one we have come up with in the last 500 years.
This video is directed to Maryland lawyers and victims but most of the principles are applicable to any jurisdiction.
The Three Factors That Drive Settlement Value
There are 3 factors that really drive the value of a car accident case: the scope and extent of the injuries, the available insurance coverage, and the jurisdiction of your case (i.e. which county are you in).
SCOPE OF INJURY
By far the most significant factor in the value of an auto accident case is the level of injuries that were sustained in the accident. The more serious and more permanent the injuries, the more the case will be worth. So an accident case involving whiplash or a herniated disc is going to have a much lower value than an accident case resulting in a fractured leg, brain damage, or even death. For example, the median jury verdict in whiplash cases is just $7,500 and the median for a herniated disc case is $80,000. By contrast, if you have a fractured leg the median verdict award goes up to $141,000.
As promised in the video, here is a great link to better understand the value of cases that are similar to yours:
AMOUNT OF COVERAGE
The second factor that will impact the potential settlement value of your auto accident case, is who the defendant is and how much insurance they have to cover the accident. If the defendant in your auto accident only has a $100,000 policy that can sometimes act as a cap on the value of your case (if you do not have a higher uninsured motorist policy). The more insurance there is to cover the accident, the greater the settlement value your case if your injuries are signficant.
What also makes a difference is who the bad guy is. If the bad guy is a corporate defendant like Amaxon or Uber, that would suggest a greater value of the case than if Joe Doe was driving his Toyota Prius.
The third and final factor that will dictate the value of your auto accident case is what jurisdiction or venue your lawsuit would be filed in. In Maryland, Baltimore City and Prince George’s County are where our lawyer would prefer to be. But in Maryland’s more rural areas, jury awards are often more conservative.
Insurance companies fear P.G. County and Baltimore City and know they are on favorable turf in places like Anne Arundel or Howard County. Settlement offers reflect this, particularly in larger cases.
Here is a link that takes a look at Maryland county and Baltimore City when it comes to how that jurisdiction impacts settlement value:
These are some of our thoughts on the settlement value of cases. To dig a little deeper or to get a lens of values in other states, this is a good link:
Agree? Disagree? Give your thoughts in the comments and please subscribe to our channel if the content is helpful.