Personal Injury Lawsuit: What Are The Odds Of Winning Your Case?
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the fault of another person (or entity), then you could be entitled to sue and recover damages under the law. Though a lawsuit may seem straightforward at first glance, securing compensation can be a complex and difficult-to-predict process.
With the help of an experienced attorney, however, you can put together the strongest case possible, maximizing your likelihood of success. Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we maintain a network of attorneys who are standing by to provide assistance. Contact us today to connect to an experienced personal injury lawyer in just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential.
While the question often is, what percentage of personal injury cases go to trial, this article will discuss the factors that are likely to impact the odds of winning your personal injury case.
One of the first questions that a personal injury plaintiff has — even before they contact an attorney — is “what are the odds that I’m going to win my case?” Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that question. There are many factors that can influence whether you “win” or “lose” your case.
In fact, whether your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or trial litigation, these factors will impact the outcome.
Let’s take a brief look.
Factors Likely To Impact The Success Of Your Case
Defendant’s Strategic Approach
Defendants often have different strategic approaches to a lawsuit, and that will undoubtedly impact the success of your case (and how the case plays out).
The nature of litigation is that it is public. As such, defendants often prefer to avoid extensive litigation and the potential negative publicity that it could bring — but not all defendants are the same. Some defendants take the strategic position that it’s important to aggressively litigate to discourage others from coming forward with similar cases.
For example, auto manufacturers often prefer to litigate aggressively, as they don’t want other plaintiffs to come forward claiming that they were injured due to manufacturer-related defects in their vehicles. These cases can be more challenging to win, as the defendant will invest significant resources into fighting the case.
By contrast, a discrimination claim may be resolved early by your employer, as they might prefer to avoid the negative publicity of being associated with potential discrimination in the workplace.
Certainty of Liability and Damages
All litigation is uncertain by its very nature. The key to securing a higher settlement offer (or a higher likelihood of success at trial) is to introduce evidence that makes the liability of the defendant more clear. Similarly, the more well-supported the damages claim, the less possible it is for the defendant to successfully challenge it.
For example, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, you can introduce video evidence (perhaps procured from the security footage recorded by a nearby business) of the accident itself. The video evidence may show that the defendant clearly was speeding and through their own negligence caused the accident. With clear liability, you can significantly improve the likelihood of success in securing compensation.
There are numerous procedural issues that can crop-up over the course of litigation, such as statute of limitations issues. For example, if you wait too long to file your injury claims, then you may have delayed past the applicable statute of limitations deadline, thus completely abandoning your right to sue and recover damages in court.
Working with a skilled attorney is critical to avoiding procedural roadblocks, whether those roadblocks are linked to statute of limitations issues or other procedural issues.
Contributory Fault Concerns
Fault principles vary from state-to-state. In some states, like California, you — the injured plaintiff — can be 99 percent responsible for your own injuries, and yet you’ll still have a right to sue and recover damages from the defendant (who is just 1 percent at-fault). In other states, if you — the plaintiff — are even 1 percent at-fault for your own injuries, then you are prohibited from recovery. This is known as contributory fault.
As a general matter, your own contribution of fault will make it more difficult to secure compensation (even if the laws do not prohibit recovery for contributory fault). For example, in California, if you didn’t wear a seatbelt and got injured in a car accident, then the defendant will try to argue that you are mostly responsible for your own damages, and they cannot be held liable. Depending on the evidence, you may still be able to secure damages, but those damages may be reduced by your contributory fault.
Settlement vs. Trial
US Government statistics show that about 5% of personal injury cases go to trial. The other 95% are settled pretrial. Many experts say that 90 percent of cases that do go to trial end up losing. And for cases that go to trial and win, a trial judge is likely to grant more compensation compared to a jury.
These numbers may be shocking to you, and even cause you to question whether a lawsuit is worth it. One of the biggest factors for so many pre-trial settlements is due to the fact that a trial can drag out over the course of several years. In that timeframe, personal injury victims may experience the loss of a job and dire financial consequences due to all the bills they have to pay.
Another factor that causes delays, both for pre-trial and settlement purposes, is that of resources. In criminal cases, multiple detectives are typically assigned to investigate a case. In personal injury instances, one investigator is usually assigned to the case. The injuries, the accident itself, witness statements, and the circumstances that caused the accident are all areas that must be investigated. It may take up to six months or more to get all this work done.
In situations where victims need a settlement as soon as possible for mounting debt, it is important they work with a lawyer they can trust to advise them properly. An attorney may suggest arbitration with an appointed arbitrator in order to move the process along.
Negotiating is usually a time-consuming activity, as there will undoubtedly be back and forth from both sides. If you ultimately decide against their final offer, your case will go to trial. At this point, it’s not unreasonable that two years have already passed!
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in our Network for a Free Consultation
You can ensure your chances of the most successful outcome by working with attorneys who have a strong track record of wins. Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to a qualified attorney in our network for a free initial consultation. After listening to the details surrounding your personal injury occurrence, they will give you valuable advice on how to proceed.