What Percentage of Injury Claims Go To Court?

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According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent study on tort cases in large counties across the country, approximately 75% of tort cases settled during the pre-trial phase, only 3% went to trial, and the rest concluded in dismissal. Overall, an annual average of 3% to 5% of personal injury cases go to court. Those that reach the courtroom are typically complex cases, such as medical malpractice or product liability. Additionally, personal injury victims overwhelmingly receive a better settlement with the help of an experienced attorney.

Common Civil Cases Involving Personal Injuries

The same study by the USDJ referenced above also reported that a majority of personal injury cases involve auto accidents. Minor auto accidents with clear evidence of negligence are relatively straightforward. You may not even require the assistance of a personal injury attorney. However, the cases that make it to the lawsuit phase are typically more severe, sometimes with significant damages and multiple parties involved. This can include commercial truck accidents, accidents involving motorcyclists or pedestrians, and passenger vehicle accidents with one or multiple vehicles.

Other common personal injury cases include:

  • Premises liability cases from slip and fall accidents. Premises liability specifically refers to a property owner’s duty to keep their property reasonably safe for visitors. For example, if a homeowner failed to place a sign next to a loose step at the entrance of their home, and someone slipped, fell, and suffered an injury, the homeowner could be liable for damages related to medical care and lost wages.
  • Medical malpractice casesThe basis for a medical malpractice suit can be injuries from birth or surgery, prescribing the wrong medicine, misdiagnosis, nursing home abuse, and more. Proving that a doctor, nurse, or anyone working in the healthcare industry negligently caused injury or death can be challenging. As a result, these cases often go to trial and require medical experts to provide witness testimony.
  • Product liability cases. Victims of personal injury from a product sold with a defect can sue the manufacturer for damages. These cases can also be complex and difficult to prove, but the more significant cases involve multiple plaintiffs with the same complaint, strengthening the claim. 
  • Workplace injury cases. Business owners have a legal obligation to maintain OSHA-regulated safety standards to protect employees from injuries. Failure to fulfill that obligation could result in a personal injury lawsuit.

These or other types of personal injury cases could result in wrongful death. For example, if an immediate family member died from injuries sustained in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you have the right to file a wrongful death case against the at-fault driver. The same is true for a medical malpractice case or premises liability. However, the process may be different.

Role of Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases can be the result of negligence or intentional harm. However, most civil cases are filed based on negligent behavior by the defendant. When you file a lawsuit making a personal injury claim, you must prepare to prove the following:

  • The defendant had a responsibility to show care to you and others.
  • The defendant either intentionally or negligently failed to uphold that duty, leading to the accident.
  • The accident then resulted in bodily harm and other damages.

The goal is to show a direct correlation between how the defendant behaved during the accident and your injuries. The methods you use to create that link depends on the type of personal injury case.

Ways To Reach a Settlement Before Trial

The ultimate goal for any personal injury case is to reach a settlement during the pre-trial phase. Trials are often expensive, and the process will significantly delay your chance of receiving compensation. Insurance companies rarely allow a case to go to trial, especially if the plaintiff presents a strong case with evidence. Once both parties complete the discovery phase, during which you exchange evidence, request interrogations, and complete depositions, the negotiations will begin. If you come to an impasse, you can attempt mediation.

A typical mediation process contains three discussions. First, both parties speak to a mediator together. Then, both address each other in the presence of the mediator, who will help resolve conflicts as they arise. Finally, the plaintiff and the defendant get to speak with the mediator alone. The process is much like a formal discussion with the end goal of coming to an agreement. Generally, this works, but when it does not, the case may carry on to the trial phase.

Recoverable Damages From a Personal Injury Case

Damages specifically refers to the financial compensation owed to you for your losses. In personal injury cases, there are two types of damages, compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages also include two categories, specific and general damages.

Specific Damages

Specific damages refer to the financial losses caused by the accident. They include:

  • Payment for medical treatment for injuries, including current and future care
  • Payment for lost wages caused by missed work and future missed work
  • Loss of earning ability caused by permanent disability hindering you from holding the same job position you did before the accident
  • Payment for property damage
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Any other costs related to the accident and injuries

You must provide proof of your loss to receive compensation for these damages. For example, your attorney will collect medical records and bills, pay stubs from before and after the accident, past tax filings, and any evidence of property damage.

General Damages

General damages differ from specific damages because they can be more subjective. Examples include:

  • Pain and suffering from physical injuries
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of consortium, typically referring to the death of a spouse
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of reputation, typically the result of a defamation personal injury
  • Mental anguish or emotional distress
  • Diagnosed mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder

The monetary value of general damages can vary significantly depending on various factors. However, an essential role of your personal injury attorney is to help you adequately value them.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages do not compensate the plaintiff for any losses, general or specific. Instead, the court may determine that the defendant’s behavior warrants financial punishment beyond what they rightfully owe. For example, suppose you lost a loved one in an accident with a commercial truck because a defective tire blew out, causing the truck driver to lose control. In that case, the court may order the manufacturer to pay punitive damages for gross negligence.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Attorney

The financial and emotional losses you face in the aftermath of a personal injury can place a heavy burden on your life. If you suffered harm as a consequence of someone else’s negligent actions, you do not have to battle the insurance company alone. When you hire Mike Morse Law Firm to represent you, you have a team of legal professionals with combined decades of experience fighting for people in similar positions to yours. We keep a manageable caseload to ensure you get the attention you deserve. Contact Mike Morse Law Firm today for a free case evaluation. You can call (855) MIKE-WINS or complete our online case evaluation. We will let you know within two hours if you are ready for a lawsuit.

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