chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit

Maximize Your Chances of Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 10 minutes

Maximize Your Chances of Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you’ve been injured in an accident, then — before you even move forward with an attorney or a legal proceeding at all — you may be thinking about your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit to begin with. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can significantly improve those chances. That’s entirely reasonable.

Understanding the legal process is crucial to maximizing your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit.

Let’s explore some of the basics of personal injury lawsuits. When you’re ready, we encourage you to get in touch with our team by calling in to 1-800-THE-LAW2. We’ll connect you to experienced personal injury lawyers in our network who can provide a free consultation and case evaluation.

Read on to learn more!

What are the odds of winning a lawsuit?

Your “odds” or chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit depend on a variety of different factors. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Given the complexity of a dispute and the burden of proof required, you’ll want to go through the details with a qualified personal injury attorney who can help you tease apart the facts and the evidentiary record, and piece it back together as a cohesive, well-supported legal strategy. Skilled legal representation can significantly affect the outcome of a personal injury case, maximizing the possibility of success.

Why is it better to settle out of court?

The large majority of cases are settled out of court. In fact, industry observers estimate that as much as 95 percent of cases are resolved through a settlement — trial litigation is remarkably uncommon.

Litigation costs can be prohibitively high, making settlement a more attractive option for many plaintiffs.


Generally speaking, settling out of court is a preferable outcome. That’s because trial litigation tends to be uncertain, costly, exhausting, and potentially damaging to each party’s reputation and brand.

Insurance companies often employ various tactics to minimize payouts and avoid their financial obligations. This makes it crucial to work with a lawyer who can navigate the process and help you obtain fair compensation.

For example, an auto manufacturer would have its brand image tarnished if you were to sue them (and win) for a defective brake system that caused an accident in which you were injured. To avoid this negative publicity, they might prefer to quickly settle the case rather than go to trial. On the other hand, if they feel that others will make similar claims, they might feel that they should defend against your claims vigorously.

Settlement allows parties to negotiate fair outcomes without the hassle of court processes weighing down the discussions. An important aspect of this is that most outcomes are uncertain. Uncertainty is innate to legal disputes. Even if you have a strong case, there’s always a chance that the court finds a different conclusion, or chooses to award a reduced amount of damages than expected.

What is a fair settlement?

What is considered a “fair settlement” changes from case to case in personal injury claims and is ultimately a measure of the compensation amount. It also accounts for the percentage likelihood that you would win the case (and secure the asserted damages) should the case proceed all the way through to trial.

For example, suppose that you are claiming $100,000 in damages after a car accident. You and the defendant have a back-and-forth over several months, where the evidence and legal arguments are discussed in detail. You both agree: should the case proceed to trial, you would have a 60 percent likelihood of securing the claimed damages as compensation.

Thus, a fair settlement would hover around $60,000.

How do lawyers negotiate settlements?

Lawyers tend to maximize a settlement outcome by navigating around certain factors applicable to personal injury cases (and the defendant’s willingness to settle). Lawyers employ various negotiation tactics to maximize a settlement outcome. These factors include:

  • The hostility of the defendant
  • The negative brand damage that will occur if details of the case become public
  • The defendant’s resources
  • The defendant’s willingness to spend said resources in defense of their case
  • The need for the defendant to discourage others from bringing similar claims
  • The likelihood that the plaintiff will succeed if the case were to proceed to trial litigation (in other words, the plaintiff’s chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit)
  • The strength of the evidence in support of the plaintiff’s damages claim
  • And more

For example, suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in which the defendant is a truck driver working for a local trucking company. You sue the trucking company for damages.

The trucking company wants to avoid the negative publicity and damage to its brand should the case proceed to litigation — after all, they could lose business if their delivery partners don’t want to be associated with a company that has not adequately trained its drivers to minimize the likelihood of an accident. Given the potential brand damage, they are willing to negotiate an early and favorable settlement.

Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In a personal injury dispute, you are entitled to compensation for losses, including pain and suffering, that are caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of the defendant(s). Claimable losses include:

  • Wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property loss
  • Medical expenses (i.e., medical bills for medical treatment)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • And more

Medical records and employment records are crucial in providing concrete and relevant evidence of injuries and their impact, documenting the timing and types of injuries sustained, and detailing the treatments and recovery process. Personal injury laws allow quite a bit of breathing room for personal injury victims in terms of case strategy, so you’ll want to explore the possibilities with a skilled personal injury attorney who knows how to craft a well-supported damages claim and legal argument.

Damages can vary from case to case quite a bit. For example, if you are unemployed, then your wage loss claim would be near zero. By contrast, if you are gainfully employed, then your wage loss claim will be substantial if you are forced to take significant time off from work after the accident.

Can I still recover compensation if I’m partially at fault for my injuries?

It depends on the state law that applies to your claims, particularly the doctrine of comparative negligence.

In some states, the doctrine of pure comparative fault applies. Under pure comparative fault, an injured plaintiff may sue and recover compensation for their injuries, even if they are partially at fault — and they can do so even if their fault contribution is 99 percent. That being said, their damages recovery will be reduced by the percentage fault that they’ve contributed.

For example, if your damages are $100,000, but the court finds that you are 70 percent at fault, you would be entitled to recover $30,000. So there’s a recovery, but it’s reduced by your own fault contribution.

In other states, the doctrine of modified comparative fault applies. Under modified comparative fault, an injured plaintiff may sue and recover compensation for their injuries, even if they are partially at fault — but they can only do so if their fault contribution is 50 percent or less. In other words, they are prohibited from pursuing compensation if they are more responsible for their injuries (than others). As with plaintiffs operating under the pure comparative fault doctrine, modified comparative fault plaintiffs will have their recovery reduced by their percentage contribution of fault.

In a minority of states, the doctrine of strict contributory fault applies. Under strict contributory fault, an injured plaintiff may not sue and recover compensation if they are even 1 percent at fault. Any amount of partial fault precludes a recovery. This may seem like a strict barrier, but there are ways around it (i.e., arguing that the lack of a seatbelt was not a contributing factor to your injuries in a car accident dispute).

Is there a deadline for my personal injury claim?

Every personal injury claim comes attached to a filing deadline under personal injury law. This statute of limitations acts as a strict deadline by which you must bring your claim — if you fail to do so, then the court will automatically dismiss the claim on the basis that you have abandoned it or relinquished the right to pursue compensation under the law.

In other words — you won’t have a legal option for securing compensation to cover your losses.

For example, suppose you are injured in a car accident in California, due to another driver losing control while speeding and colliding with your vehicle. You’d have two years from the date of injury to bring your claim. If you don’t bring your claim before the two-year deadline passes, then a court will automatically dismiss your claim if you were to attempt to bring the lawsuit later on.

Given the significant consequences that you could be exposed to (i.e., being unable to secure compensation) should you delay too long, it’s important that you consult with experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you navigate the legal process in a timely manner.

Many people mistakenly believe that hiring a lawyer has to be costly, or even that they need to have money set aside to work with a personal injury lawyer. In truth, however, a plaintiffs’-side personal injury lawyer doesn’t typically cost anything upfront or out-of-pocket. That’s because they often operate on a contingency basis.

This arrangement minimizes the financial risk for plaintiffs who may not have the means to pay for legal representation up front.

Contingency fee arrangements work as follows: the personal injury attorney takes a percentage cut of whatever compensation they successfully secure on your behalf, whether it’s paid out by the court or by an insurance company, or through any other means. This percentage can vary quite a bit (from 25 percent to 40 percent or more). Most personal injury cases are brought by attorneys who offer contingency fee arrangements.

In a contingency fee arrangement, the attorney or law firm doesn’t get paid unless the accident victims get paid. If you don’t win, you don’t pay. It’s that simple. This is fantastic for those who have suffered serious injuries but who do not have the financial means to litigate through an hourly fee or some other costly arrangement.

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was not your fault, or that was only partially your fault, then you could be entitled to sue for compensation under the law. That being said, navigating a personal injury lawsuit isn’t always straightforward — the chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit vary depending on a number of different factors, and can be complicated by new issues that arise during litigation. It’s important that you connect with a skilled personal injury lawyer for guidance throughout this process.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free legal consultation and case evaluation with a skilled attorney in our network. During this initial consultation, you’ll be able to discuss your case in detail and get advice on how best to proceed to maximize your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit, and how best to maximize your compensation, too.

We look forward to assisting you.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can assist you no matter when your accident occurs.

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