It’s been some time since the numbers have been crunched, but periodically, the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics accumulated data on a national basis showing the value of, and chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit. The last national report was done in 2005. While these numbers only tell us what was true at the time, they may no longer be completely reflective of the current environment. However, it is educational to have an understanding of what the landscape was in the not too distant past. They study gives us local numbers as well. It not clear that another similar study will ever be undertaken.
The numbers showed that, in a civil claim, a plaintiff has slightly better odd of winning than if someone flipped a coin. Plaintiffs prevailed in 56% of the some 26,000 trials analyzed.
An effective personal injury attorney may be able to tip the scales in your favor. You may want to consider employing an experienced personal injury litigator, rather than relying on the laws of chance.
The more interesting numbers show that the median award, to those that won their tort [e.g. negligence] case was $24,000. The significant thing about a median is that there are just as many numbers above it as below it. Applied to this study, it means that of the people that won, half received a total award, prior to deductions for attorney’s fees, costs, and the like, of $24,000, or less.
An effective personal injury lawyer may be able to ensure that your claim falls on the right side of that median.
Frankly, I believe a lot of people would be shocked when they hear that they’ve got about a 50% chance of winning a disputed liability case, and, if they do, a 50% chance of getting more than $25,000. Of course, every case is different, and no one suggests that if you suffer a severe injury with a $100,000 in medical bills that you have only a 50% chance of winning more than $25,000. But those are the way the numbers crunched out, across all claims, nationwide, on average. The question I always had about those statistics were what was the role of the personal injury attorney? Was there one handling the lawsuit, or was the Plaintiff pro se? While having a skilled attorney is no guarantee of success, it improves your chances of success. Another, somewhat dated studyis frequently cited for there proposition that settlement for those represented by a personal injury lawyer
are three times higher than those received by unrepresented individuals.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 6/19/20.