What percentage of personal injury cases go to trial?

What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?  

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 5 minutes

What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?  

If you’ve suffered bodily harm in a personal injury accident, then you may be curious: “What percentage of cases go to trial?” or “What are the chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit?”

After all, you may not be sure how long it will take for your case to resolve. It might also not be clear whether an early settlement compromise is possible, or whether the case will move forward to trial.  

Generally, it’s better for your case to resolve in a “favorable” settlement and not go to trial. This may be confusing. So, let’s take a closer look at the dynamics of a personal injury lawsuit and why a settlement is preferable in most cases.  

Related article: Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friend; What You Need to Know Before Speaking with an Insurance Adjuster 

Dynamics of a Personal Injury Lawsuit  

Including medical malpractice, auto accident, and slip and fall accidents, the majority of personal injury claims in the United States are settled before trial. That’s right, most cases settle and never even make it to the trial phase. Industry observers estimate that up to 95 percent of personal injury cases reach settlement, as opposed to trial.  


Simply put, trial litigation is emotionally and financially demanding. And, it is also uncertain. Even if you’re sure you’ll win your case, the jury could disagree with the damages amount and award lower compensation than what you feel you’re entitled to.  

As trial litigation is uncertain and expensive for both parties, it’s preferable to negotiate a settlement that “makes sense” for both parties given the circumstances.  

How long do personal injury cases take to settle?  

The time-to-settle can vary from case to case, and ultimately depends on how willing the parties are to negotiate fairly. In very hostile disputes, settlement can take some time (or may not be possible). Skilled attorneys know how to be strong advocates while maintaining a polite, professional relationship with the opposing attorney.   

Negotiating the Settlement for a Bodily Injury Claim  

So, you’re negotiating a settlement for a bodily injury claim. How much compensation should you receive? 

What is a reasonable settlement offer?  

The strategy surrounding accident law and reasonable settlement offers is nuanced, but we’ll do our best to simplify.  

Reasonable settlements fairly account for the uncertainty of the case. What this means is that winning a personal injury case is impacted by:  

  • proof that the defendant is liable, and  
  • proof of damages, like medical expenses and so forth.  

Related article: Why Medical Records Are Key to a Personal Injury Case

Personal Injury Settlement Amount Example 

Suppose that you have injuries from a motor vehicle collision. You sue the defendant, who denies any wrongdoing. Your car accident claim includes $100,000 pain and suffering damages.  

Now, based on the evidence presented in early negotiations and pre-trial hearings, you estimate that you have a 50 percent likelihood of proving that the defendant engaged in wrongdoing and is liable. When accounting for the uncertainty of trial, your claimed damages could be pared down to $50,000.  

What Are the Chances of Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit? 

Back to our example. You know that the defendant claims that even if they did cause harm, your damages total $20,000. You believe that the chances of winning are 50 percent and the jury will agree with that amount. So, the $50,000 is further pared down to $35,000.  

In this instance, a reasonable settlement offer would likely hover around $35,000, given the uncertainties surrounding the case and type of personal injury.  

What separates an effective personal injury lawyer from a “standard” attorney is their ability to persuade the opposition (and the court) that the case is more obviously favorable to you. This puts pressure on the defendant to settle for a higher amount.  

Related article: Choosing the Right Attorney to Handle Your Personal Injury Case

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Consultation  

If you have injuries from an accident, then you might have a legal bodily injury claim. It’s important to get in touch with a qualified attorney for legal advice and a case evaluation. A personal injury attorney will also provide guidance on how best to proceed with your car accident, wrongful death, defective products, or other personal injury claim.  

Read about: 5 Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our attorneys skilled in Personal Injury Law are ready and willing to help. We maintain a large network of experienced personal injury attorneys and law firms, who provide free and confidential consultations.  

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to connect with an attorney in our network in just 10 minutes or less.  Remember, there is no downside to having a conversation about your case. And, the consultation is free.

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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