Now let’s turn the kaleidoscope and look at the median. If you remember from the 9th grade, the median is found by ranking the data from biggest to smallest, and then identifying the middle of the data so that there is an equal number that is larger and smaller on each side. If you had 1001 data points, the 500th biggest number would be in the middle.
For many groups of data, the gap between the average and the median is the same or very close to it. With personal injury verdicts, they are usually light years apart. This is reflected in this new study that just came out in Pennsylvania. The median compensatory award in Pennsylvania in the study was $45,000.00
Which number is more useful. Most personal injury outcome watchers view the median as the more useful number. Why? Because the highest Pennsylvania verdict in the study was $85,000,000.00 This skews the data across the board. The $85 million case involved a Penn medical student who stepped into an uncovered manhole in Philadelphia. He collected, pursuant to a high-low agreement, $18,000,000. But that $85 million remains the statistical number and skews that data. From a statistical standpoint, we see that the average can be significantly skewed by a few values what are not remotely representative of the jury verdicts. So the median generally provides a better representation of the Pennsylvania verdict data.
One other thing worth mentioning for context: this is only Plaintiffs’ verdicts where the Plaintiff received a monetary award from the jury. This happens in on 38% of personal injury cases in Pennsylvania, according to the study.
What Verdict Statistics Mean for Your Case
I think statistics like this tell us a lot about the big picture of personal injury cases in Pennsylvania. I think it is helpful for Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers who practice over a large swath of the state.
What do these verdict statistics mean for your case? The answer is clear: absolutely nothing. There are so many — SO MANY — factors that make up the value of a personal injury case. There is no settlement calculator or formula. The true value of your case is so disconnected from the average or median settlement or verdict statistics. Hundreds of people come to our website every single day looking for information on the settlement value of their claim. We break down jury and settlement data by venue and injury type — the two most reliable factors in predicting how much your case is worth. But even those are just pieces of the mosaic that scratch the surface of estimating the value of the case. You can also look at sample verdicts (here are some from Pennsylvania in 2015). But when you add all of these things up, without the experience or the general understanding of how cases are valued by insurance companies and juries, you will be left with a broad range.
How do you narrow that range? Only an experienced lawyer who has settled thousands of cases in that jurisdiction will be able to get you there.
Pennslyvania Personal Injury Jury Verdicts
- 2020, Pennsylvania: $120,000 Verdict. This premise liability case involved a woman who slipped and fell on ice on the sidewalk of a commercial property. The ice was hidden in the cracks and depression of an uneven and broken sidewalk. She suffered serious head, neck, and lower extremity injuries. The woman sued the property’s owner for failing to maintain the sidewalk and failing to adequately design it. A Philadelphia jury awarded $125,000 in damages.
- 2019, Pennsylvania: $2,500,000 Verdict. A 75-year-old man died from an anoxic brain injury caused by a spinal cord injury and subarachnoid hemorrhage. This occurred two weeks after his wheelchair fell down a set of concrete stairs. Before the fall, he had his pupils dilated, which impacted his vision. He initially arrived to the emergency department, complaining of pain and tearing to his eyes. The hospital staff diagnosed him with a right cornea abrasion and dilated his eyes. They also administered antibiotic treatment and discharged him home. His estate alleged that his eyes did not fully recover from dilation at the time of his discharge. The hospital denied negligence, claiming that the eye examination did not cause his subsequent fall. A Philadelphia jury awarded the estate $2,500,000.
- 2019, Pennsylvania: $50,000 Verdict. A man was a business invitee to a Philadelphia-based wholesale foodservice supplier. He slipped and fell on water while walking around the produce area. The man sustained multiple disc bulges as a result. He sued the business for failing to keep the floors dry and failing to properly inspect the premises. The supplier denied liability, claiming that the man’s actions alone caused his injuries. A Philadelphia jury apportioned 55.6 percent liability to the business and 44.4 percent liability to the man. They determined the damages amounted to $50,000, while the recovery was $27,800.
- 2019, Pennsylvania: $200,000 Verdict. A man suffered undisclosed injuries after his vehicle was rear-ended while at a red light. The other driver was on his cellphone at the time of the accident. He sued the other driver for driving too fast, failing to yield right-of-way, and driving distracted. He also sued his UIM insurer, Geico, for refusing to pay UIM benefits. The Montgomery County jury awarded $200,000.
- 2019, Pennsylvania: $2,780,000 Verdict. A sheet metal mechanic helped install a stainless steel exhaust duct system at a baseball park. The employee of another subcontract operated a motorized pallet jack and backed into his right heel. He was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and chronic pain. The man underwent a planar fasciotomy and tarsal tunnel release within an eight-month period. He continued to experience sharp foot pain that was treated with cortisone injections. The man testified that he can no longer work as a sheet metal mechanic. He was out of work for two years but returned to full-time work with restrictions. The subcontractor contested the injuries, claiming that his pain complaints were subjective. They also claimed that his diagnostic films showed no fractures or tears. The Dauphin County jury awarded the man $2,780,000. He would receive a molded verdict of $3,782,722 from delay damages.
- Malpractice data from Pennsylvania
- Old Pennsylvania verdict data from 2010
- PA medical malpractice cases are dropping.