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.  

Why?  

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. 

What percentage of personal injury cases go to trial?

Wage Loss Damages In A Personal Injury Dispute

If you’ve been injured due to the fault of another, then the law may give you a right of action to sue and recover damages. If you are employed and are forced to miss work due to the injuries you sustained, then the damages claim is very likely to include what is referred to as “wage loss” damages.

In cases where wage loss damages are available, they tend to comprise a major portion of the total damages claim. Effectively arguing for wage loss damages is therefore necessary to obtain full and adequate compensation.

Let’s take a closer look.

Past And Future Wage Loss

Wage loss can be split into two sub-categories: past and future.

Past wage loss accounts for the wage loss that you — the plaintiff — sustained already due to accident-related injuries. For example, suppose that your legs were seriously fractured in a car accident. As a construction worker, you were forced to take six months off before you could return to work. Your past wage loss claim would account for the income you “would have” earned had you actually worked for those six months.

To support your past wage loss claim, you’ll want to introduce proof that you were forced to take the time off from work (i.e., medical records, testimony from a vocational expert explaining what the requirements of the job are, etc.) as well as how much money you lost as a result (i.e., pay stubs).

Future wage loss accounts for the wage loss that you will sustain. Let’s return to our previous example. Suppose that your injuries are sufficiently severe that you will be forced to take three more months off in order to completely rehabilitate. You haven’t yet taken that time off, but you intend to do so. Though you haven’t yet suffered “damages,” you’ll be able to claim those damages by proving that you will, in fact, have to take the time off in the future due to your injuries.

Loss Of Future Earning Capacity

Claiming loss of future earning capacity is a unique and powerful tool for disputes that involve severe, career-altering injury. Put simply, the loss of future earning capacity is meant to account for career-long shifts in how much you could potentially earn, as the trajectory of your career might have been altered by severe injury.

This can be difficult to understand, so let’s use a brief example for clarity.

Suppose that you are injured in a slip and fall accident at a popular retail store. You suffered serious back injuries. Now, you normally work as a hospital nurse. Due to the back injuries, however, you cannot stand up and walk around for more than 15 minutes at a time. This limitation will follow you for the rest of your working life.

Thus, not only are you forced to miss time for work (past and future wage loss), but your career trajectory is altered. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to work as a nurse again, given your physical limitations. Most clinics and hospitals are unlikely to accommodate your inability to be “on your feet.”

There may still be some options for you to shift into a different career path in the healthcare field. A desk job may be possible, though it may also pay less (on average) and may have fewer promotional opportunities. When claiming loss of future earning capacity, you’ll have to compare your new, alternative career path (earnings potential) with the earnings potential of your previous career path. That difference can and should be compensated by the liable defendant.

Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer In Our Network For A Free Consultation

If you’ve been harmed in an accident that was caused by another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, then you could be entitled to significant damages, including damages for wage loss. Wage loss claims can be surprisingly complicated — as such, it’s important that you work with an attorney who understand how to effectively navigate this challenge.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we are proud to operate a network of hundreds of experienced personal injury attorneys, many of whom have handled disputes centering around complex wage loss issues.

Call us today to connect to a qualified personal injury attorney in your area for a free and confidential consultation — our staff are standing by 24/7, ready to help you connect to an attorney in just 10 minutes or less.

We look forward to speaking with you.

How Do Punitive Damages Work In A Personal Injury Case?

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the fault of another, then you may have a right of action to sue and recover damages. Every case is different, however. In some cases, the defendant has engaged in such egregious behavior that the court sees fit to impose what are referred to as punitive damages.

Punitive damages multiply the total damages that you — the plaintiff — can potentially recover through the lawsuit. In serious accident disputes, a punitive damages award can sometimes lead to a multimillion dollar recovery.

Let’s explore some basics behind how punitive damages work.

What Are Punitive Damages

Normally, damages recovered in a personal injury dispute are compensatory in nature. In other words, they are meant to “compensate” the injured plaintiff for their losses — to put them in a position (financially) that closely approximates where they would have been had they not been involved in the accident.

Compensatory damages account for a number of losses, from medical expenses, to pain and suffering, to wage loss, and more.

Punitive damages are fundamentally different. Punitive damages are not meant to be compensatory — instead, they are meant to “punish” the defendant for engaging in extremely problematic behavior, and to discourage others in society from engaging in similar behavior.

By imposing bonus damages in the form of punitive damages, the court is thereby punishing the defendant and discouraging others in society from doing the same.

Calculating Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are calculated by multiplying the baseline compensatory damages available in the dispute. The multiplier can go as high as seven times the compensatory damages amount.

How does this work?

Suppose that you’re injured in a slip and fall accident. Your total damages are roughly equivalent to $100,000. After further investigation, your attorney discovers that the business owner knew that there was a spill on the floor of their retail store, but actively discouraged their employees from cleaning it up because they wanted to see a customer slip on it — they thought it would be “funny.”

The court finds this behavior malicious, and they decide to award punitive damages. The court decides that the punitive damages should be $800,000 (seven times the compensatory damages amount). Your total recovery would thus be $900,000.

Qualifying for Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not available in the large majority of personal injury cases. Where they are potentially available, however, it’s important that you and your attorney push hard for a punitive damages award.

Under what circumstances are punitive damages available?

In most states, punitive damages are only available if you — the plaintiff — can show that the defendant acted maliciously, intentionally, and/or egregiously. Mere negligence is not enough to qualify for punitive damages. The defendant’s conduct must be significantly more egregious for punitive damages to be available in the case.

Recall that punitive damages are awarded as an attempt to discourage such behavior in society. As such, the behavior must be especially problematic to justify the attempt to discourage it through punitive damages.

In the car accident context, illegal street racing that led to an accident would very likely qualify for punitive damages, but mere speeding would not (unless the defendant was speeding well over the speed limit, and speeding to such an extent that they displayed a reckless disregard for human life).

Drunk driving may also qualify for punitive damages, though the circumstances have to point to particularly egregious conduct. So, for example, if the defendant was warned to stop drinking because they might endanger others, and they laughed it off and said they “don’t care,” that would likely be enough to make punitive damages available.

It’s worth noting that even if punitive damages are available, the court is not required to award them. Courts have discretion whether they will impose punitive damages. It is up to your attorney to develop a persuasive enough argument that will “win” the court over.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Our Network for a Free Consultation

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we have hundreds of skilled attorneys in our network, standing by to provide assistance. Call us today to get connected to an experienced personal injury lawyer in just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential, so there’s absolutely no downside to speaking with one of our in-network attorneys about your case.

We believe that effective legal help should be easily accessible. To that end, our staff are available 24/7, and can communicate in both English and Spanish. We look forward to speaking with you further.

Punitive Damages In A Personal Injury Case

Pain And Suffering Damages In A Personal Injury Case

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, then the law may entitle you to damages. The losses can be quite varied in a personal injury dispute, but they are very likely to include pain and suffering damages.

Many first-time plaintiffs do not fully understand what pain and suffering damages are, the unique challenges associated with pain and suffering damages, and how best to maximize these damages.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our staff are standing by to connect you to a qualified attorney who can help you move forward with your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate the case comprehensively, and determine an effective strategy for securing the maximum possible damages (including pain and suffering damages).

Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding the Damage Categories

In the personal injury context, compensatory damages for a lawsuit can be split into two relatively broad categories: 1) monetary losses and 2) non-monetary losses.

Monetary losses account for those damages that are financial in nature. They include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property loss
  • and more

Non-monetary losses account for those damages that are not directly tied to your finances. In general, non-monetary losses involve problems with your quality of life — whether that occurred for a brief period, or is now a lifelong issue. They include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of guidance
  • and more

Pain and suffering fits into non-monetary losses, and as such, can be somewhat more difficult to “prove” to the court. If you claim $100,000 in pain and suffering damages, for example, you will have to introduce expert testimony and other evidence — and be persuasive in your legal arguments — that show your losses should qualify you for a $100,000 pain and suffering recovery.

It’s worth noting that damages are meant to “compensate” the injured plaintiff by putting them in a position where they would have been had they not been involved in an accident.

In the pain and suffering context (non-monetary), there is really no way to measure — with perfect accuracy — what amount of damages would put you in a position where you would feel fully compensated for the losses suffered. As such, success will often be determined by your attorney’s ability to argue the issue persuasively.

Pain And Suffering Basics

Pain and suffering represents a number of different, related losses. Boiling it down into its simplest components, pain and suffering damages are meant to compensate you — the injured plaintiff — for the physical and mental harm that you sustained due to the accident.

Pain and suffering damages can include everything from the physical pain you experienced after a car accident, to the mental pain you experienced due to feeling humiliated and embarrassed by your post-accident disabilities.

Calculating Pain And Suffering Damages

Perhaps the biggest challenge in claiming pain and suffering damages is evidentiary. In other words, you’ll have to “calculate” a reasonable damages amount based off your physical, mental, and emotional suffering.

This is ultimately a fact-based, subjective endeavor, making it quite difficult to arrive at a number that the defendant is likely to accept.

To get around this conflict, most attorneys ultimately rely on a “multiplier” methodology for calculating pain and suffering damages.

Put simply, the pain and suffering damages are “estimated” at roughly 1-to-3 times the monetary losses. How high the multiplier goes depends on the particularities of your case. If your case involves significant physical, mental, or emotional suffering, then the multiplier is likely to be higher (i.e., up to 3 times the monetary losses).

So, for example, if your monetary losses (i.e., wage loss, property loss, medical expenses, etc.) add up to $100,000, and you were horribly disfigured by your injuries and are unable to engage in any recreational activities, then the physical, mental, and emotional trauma might give rise to a $300,000 pain and suffering claim, for a $400,000 total damages claim.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in our Network for a Free Consultation

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a large network of qualified, skilled personal injury attorneys who are standing by to provide legal assistance. Call us to get connected to an experienced personal injury lawyer in our network — during this initial discussion, they will evaluate your case and provide guidance on how best to proceed.

We believe that friendly, accessible legal representation is critical to success. As such, our staff are available 24/7 (in both English and Spanish) to take your call. Consultation is free and confidential, so don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible to get started with the process.

We look forward to speaking with you further!

Pain And Suffering Damages In A Personal Injury Case

The Enforceability Of Liability Waivers In A Personal Injury Dispute

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the fault of another, then the law may entitle you to damages as compensation. Every legal dispute is different, however. In some personal injury cases, there may be a liability waiver that — at least on the surface — seems to prevent you from suing the defendant and obtaining compensation for your losses.

For example, if you were injured while bungee jumping, the defendant is likely to point to the fact that you signed a liability waiver before you put on the equipment and jumped. This can lead to a lot of confusion for plaintiffs. Does the liability waiver actually apply to their case, or is it unenforceable?

The truth is that many liability waivers are unenforceable. Though businesses will often attempt to minimize their liability by forcing people to sign waivers, that does not necessarily mean that the waiver will be enforced. In fact, there are many exceptions to enforcement.

Let’s take a closer look at some liability waiver basics.

Liability Waiver Basics

Waivers allow businesses to contract around liability — in other words, to reduce their potential liability by adding on new, stricter limitations on injury liability. Worth noting: liability waivers are legal regardless of the applicable state jurisdiction.

What might a liability waiver look like?

Suppose that you’ve been injured in a recreational boating accident. The boating tour operator made all passengers sign a waiver, however, which states that they have given up the right to sue the business for related injuries. More specifically, the waiver states that the business is not responsible for any harm sustained on the boat or due to the boat.

How does this actually work in real-world scenarios?

Generally speaking, courts are uncomfortable with allowing businesses to redraw the bounds of liability to a significant degree. Courts do not want businesses to be able to circumvent their duty of care entirely. As such, they tend to be quite careful not to enforce overly broad liability waivers.

Exceptions To The Enforceability Of A Liability Waiver

A significant percentage of liability waivers are unenforceable, for a number of different reasons. States tend to impose different rules when it comes to liability waivers, but there are some general principles that remain true between states.

Liability waivers must be:

a) Sufficiently specific as to the harm that is covered by the waiver (i.e., limited in scope);

b) Not be coerced and must not be between parties with a significant difference in relative bargaining power; and

c) In accordance with public policy.

So, for example, a liability waiver that shields a boating operator from liability for all harm sustained due to the boat will likely be considered too broad. The waiver is not sufficiently specific or limited in scope, and this “over broadness” is most likely violative of public policy, too.

Now, it’s also worth noting that liability waivers can only cover simple negligence. Even an enforceable liability waiver cannot apply to reckless or intentional misconduct.

Though intentional misconduct is obvious (i.e., if a boating tour operator intentionally crashes your boat to cause you injuries), reckless behavior can be more difficult to understand. As a rule, reckless behavior is when a defendant acts in a way that they know has a substantial risk of causing harm to others, but they disregard this substantial risk and engage in that behavior anyway.

For example, a boating tour operator that does not stock enough life vests is likely engaging in reckless conduct, as they are aware that failing to stock enough life vests on-board is a substantial risk that could lead to injury/death for the passengers.

Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer In Our Network For A Free Consultation

If you’ve been harmed in an accident (in which you may be subject to a liability waiver), then it’s important that you consult a qualified personal injury lawyer for guidance on how best to proceed with the legal dispute.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a large network of attorneys who are standing by to provide skilled assistance. Call us today to get connected to an experienced personal injury attorney in just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential, so there’s no downside to contacting us as soon as possible.

Our staff are available 24/7 in both English and Spanish. We look forward to speaking with you.

Liability Waivers In A Personal Injury Dispute

5 Questions To Ask A Personal Injury Lawyer During Consultation

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the fault of another, then you may be entitled by law to sue and recover damages.

As you explore your legal options, however, there are a number of issues that you’ll want to have clarified by your attorney. Let’s explore some basic questions that you should ask a personal injury lawyer that you’re considering working with.

1) Are there any potential conflicts of interest?

In personal injury litigation, there are potential conflicts-of-interest that could prevent an attorney from being able to effectively advocate on your behalf. It’s important that you discuss this possibility with prospective attorneys.

For example, there are attorneys who represent plaintiffs and defendants in litigation. This can lead to a potential conflict-of-interest, as the attorney might have represented the defendant in your case before (or they might be interested in taking on that client later). They might not be incentivized to advocate aggressively on your behalf if they believe that there is more money to be made by “playing nice.” As such, you’ll want to assess this before you agree to be represented by the attorney.

2) What are the possible consequences and outcomes?

Perhaps the most obvious initial question you’ll have for an attorney is what you can expect to happen in your case.

Though most litigation is quite complex, and there’s no “certain” answer, an attorney will have an idea of what you can expect under ideal and non-ideal circumstances, from damages to likelihood of proving the defendant’s liability (given the case evidence that they’ve been made aware of).

Understanding what could happen in your case can help you decide whether and how to proceed.

3) What legal strategies are we considering if we move forward?

Though the initial attorney consultation is not necessarily going to lead to a set-in-stone case strategy, your attorney will likely have an idea of what potential legal strategies you can pursue (and are likely to pursue) going forward.

Ask your attorney about the strategic approach. This will give you a clearer understanding of your case and will empower you to request a different approach should you feel uncomfortable with the current one.

4) What will you need from me (i.e., documentation, behavior, etc.) as we litigate the case?

Plaintiffs are a fundamental part of personal injury litigation. As the plaintiff, you aren’t meant to take a backseat.

While your attorney will handle most communications and will take steps to gather evidence and develop your case, they may need you to provide additional information on the case. They will also want to consult you as to what your concerns are and what your goals are throughout the process.

Generally speaking, involved plaintiffs are a positive. Attorneys who more actively engage with plaintiffs are better equipped to effectively litigate the case.

5) Could you highlight next steps, and how long you expect the case to take?

Attorneys cannot necessarily predict how long a case is going to take due to complexities in the legal proceedings, including procedural disputes. But they’ll be able to give a rough estimate for how long the case “should” take. This can be valuable, as litigating a case can be demanding mentally. It’s important to know how long you can expect the fight to last.

You’ll also want to be fully aware of the next steps that your attorney is planning on taking the case. A skilled personal injury attorney should have a “plan of action” in place and should be able to highlight specific steps that they want to take to secure a positive outcome for you.

Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer In Our Network For A Free Consultation

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a network of experienced attorneys who are standing by ready to assist you.

Call us today to connect to a skilled personal injury lawyer in just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential, so there’s no downside to getting in touch to schedule an initial consultation with one of our in-network attorneys!

Our staff are available 24/7, in English and Spanish. We look forward to speaking with you further.

Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer