If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be confused, overwhelmed, or curious about the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit and the odds of winning a case, or reaching settlement. We understand completely. The general public holds many misconceptions about personal injury law and the litigation process. In an effort to make it easier to understand, let’s take a moment to explore the concept of personal injury settlements.
You don’t have to worry about “winning.” Compensation is available through a settlement compromise with the defendant, the side that’s at fault for your injuries. Even though popular TV shows and movies have led the public to believe that a courtroom dispute is normal, settlement is much more common than trial litigation in court.
How do settlements work, and why are they so common? Allow us to explain.
What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?
The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled before trial. In fact, industry observers estimate that more than 95 percent of cases end in settlement, not trial. But, why is there such a large discrepancy?
Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
To better differentiate the settlement process from litigation process, it is important to know that trial is usually a burden for both the defendant and plaintiff. It is:
- Time consuming
- And most of all, uncertain
Settlement Is One Way to Measure Personal Injury Cases Won
In order to minimize the cost and risk of trial litigation, most parties will simply agree to a sensible settlement amount. This allows them to avoid trial while achieving a result that isn’t unacceptable. Uncertainty is fundamental to any trial. Even if you have an excellent case, there is uncertainty surrounding:
- Whether the court will find that the defendant is liable for your injuries, and
- How much the court will award in damages
It is entirely possible for you to win your case but receive the award of a lower damages amount than expected. For example: $50,000, versus the $100,000 that you desired. This uncertainty is rather significant. Reaching a settlement compromise helps both parties avoid this, and it has the added benefit of saving time, effort, and financial resources.
How to Increase Your Odds of Winning
The key to a successful personal injury dispute, then, is to maximize the amount that you recover through a negotiated settlement. If you can bring a persuasive claim for liability and damages, then the defendant will offer a higher settlement amount, as this reflects the changed risk profile of the case.
Confused? Let’s explore how personal injury settlements are actually calculated by experienced attorneys.
Personal Injury Settlement Calculator: the Basics
How Much Should You Ask for in a Settlement?
There is no objective calculator used to determine how much you could make through a settlement. If you understand how settlement negotiations work, you may have a better sense of what to expect.
As a general rule, settlement amount correlates to three factors:
- Success of your claim
- Defendant liability
- Damages attached to your claim
This can be a bit difficult to understand, so we’ll use a quick example to explain. Suppose that you are injured in a car accident with another driver. Your claimed damages are $100,000. You and your accident attorney gather all the necessary evidence, and formulate a persuasive legal argument. Now, suppose that the evidence is strong, so you have an 80 percent likelihood of proving liability at trial. Your damages claim is also cautious, so the court is likely to agree with the damages potential.
A fair settlement would account for that 80 percent likelihood, and so both parties consider a settlement amount of $80,000, or around that amount, reasonable. In this instance, both parties avoid the hassle and cost of trial litigation, and you are able to, mostly, get what you want.
Find an Attorney to Help You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to significant damages. Bringing a lawsuit doesn’t have to result in a courtroom trial, however. In fact, most legal cases resolve through a negotiated settlement.
Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Consultation
Settlements are win-win for both parties, assuming that the dispute hasn’t turned too hostile.
To ensure that you maximize your settlement, it’s important that you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we maintain a large network of experienced attorneys who can help. Call us today for a free consultation. We’ll connect you to an attorney in just 10 minutes or less.