What Are the Chances of Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When the general public thinks of the law, images of lawyers representing serial criminals come to mind. Many people are interested in serious crimes and how the criminal trials play out. However, these trials are not as common as personal injury lawsuits.
It is more likely for the average citizen to become involved in a personal injury lawsuit than a criminal case. This fact is because many situations can fall under the umbrella of a personal injury lawsuit with the help of a personal injury attorney. No one should ever force you to represent yourself after suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence.
Let an attorney review your case and help you fight for compensation for your injuries.
Different Types of Personal Injury Cases
A personal injury case is where the plaintiff experiences an injury to either the body or the mind. Based on this definition, there are many occasions where victims of accidents can seek compensation for their injuries. Here are just a few of the most common personal injury cases experienced personal injury attorneys handle regularly.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
One of the most common personal injury cases is motor vehicle accidents. Regardless of whether the accident occurs from a car, truck, or motorcycle, millions of Americans are injured from motor vehicle accidents annually.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in every major industry. In just one year, 1,270 American workers died in work-related motor vehicle accidents. Victims of motor vehicle accidents can suffer from catastrophic injuries, which are injuries that people can never recover from.
Another typical personal injury case is premises liability. Premises liability accidents happen when a person suffers an injury while visiting another property. These cases hold property owners responsible for failing to provide a safe environment to all visitors. Property owners are accountable to all visitors to provide a safe space and remove any dangerous hazards from their environment.
Common accidents on another person’s premises include swimming pool accidents, animal attacks, slip and fall accidents, and even amusement park accidents. In some cases, victims injured in an elevator or escalator can sue for premises liability.
One of the newest personal injury lawsuits is wrongful death lawsuits. Survivors can file a wrongful death lawsuit from any of the above accidents or any accident resulting in another person’s death.
What makes wrongful death lawsuits unique is that another plaintiff can seek compensation against a negligent defendant for the reckless actions against another party. The deceased victim’s survivors can file a claim against the negligent party and request compensation to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Just like any personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiffs must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions caused the death of the survivors’ loved ones.
Differences Between Personal Injury Trials and Criminal Law Trials
Even though criminal law holds the public’s interest, personal injury cases are some of the most frequent cases in American courtrooms. However, some people confuse the two different types of cases, especially in wrongful death lawsuits. Most people assume that wrongful death lawsuits are similar to murder trials. However, here are some of the key differences between the two.
The ability to pursue financial compensation
Plaintiffs in a personal injury lawsuit have the opportunity to request a certain amount of compensation from the defendants. This ability is a stark contrast to criminal trials, where the state must file charges against a defendant, and the only consequence for the defendant is jail or prison time.
The different goals that the legal representation wants to achieve
A criminal lawyer has one goal: to absolve their client of the alleged charges they are facing. A personal injury lawyer focuses on making their client “whole” again after their accident. Fighting for compensation is one of the ways that a personal injury lawyer can help their client feel “whole” again.
The differences in the areas of law
Criminal lawyers concentrate their practice in one particular area of the law. As a result, they generally do not take on clients outside of their realm of focus. On the other hand, personal injury lawyers represent clients regardless of what kind of personal injury accident they have endured. If the accident falls under the branch of personal injury, the lawyer will represent the client and fight for their compensation.
Different levels of proof
During a criminal trial, the burden of proof determining whether a defendant is guilty of a criminal charge is beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof that a personal injury case must meet is a "preponderance of the evidence." This standard means that there must be at least a 51 percent chance that the defendant was negligent against the plaintiff. Personal injury law contains an easier burden of proof than criminal law.
Chances of Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Even though the burden of proof in a personal injury case is lower than in a criminal case, that does not mean that winning will be any easier. The chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit are dependent on several factors:
The severity of the plaintiff’s injuries
How significant are your injuries? Are you likely to make a recovery? In general, the more detrimental a plaintiff’s injuries, the more compensation they are entitled to from the defendant.
How well a personal injury lawyer can prove that the defendant was negligent
Four elements must prove a defendant’s negligence. The more evidence that a personal injury lawyer can prove the defendant’s negligence, the greater the chances of winning a lawsuit.
Whether the defendant carries insurance that can cover the plaintiff’s damages
In many personal injury lawsuits, the defendant will cover the plaintiff’s damages through their insurance company. If the defendant does not carry any insurance or the defendant’s insurance policy does not provide enough coverage, it can present a problem for the plaintiff when trying to recover compensation.
What Are The Success Rates of Personal Injury Cases?
Many employees in the legal field will tell you that many cases do not make it to trial, and personal injury lawsuits are no exception. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, many personal injury cases settle out of court.
If the personal injury case results in a bench trial, plaintiffs have a 68 percent chance of winning compared to jury trials. Bench trials are trials where a judge makes the final ruling decision. If a plaintiff’s injury case involves a jury, the plaintiff has a 54 percent chance of winning. When personal injury lawsuits make it to trial, it can result in an unfavorable outcome for the plaintiff.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Increase A Plaintiff’s Chances of Winning a Lawsuit
Although the results of a personal injury lawsuit can go either way when the case makes it to trial, there are several ways that a personal injury lawyer can increase a plaintiff’s chances of winning.
Gathering As Much Evidence As Possible
Whether the personal injury lawsuit stems from a premises liability accident or a workplace accident, evidence is a crucial aspect of any case. The more evidence that a plaintiff can bring that can prove that the defendant was negligent, the greater the plaintiff’s chances of winning their lawsuit.
A personal injury lawyer knows how to gather the right evidence to establish the defendant’s negligence. Lawyers are used to collaborating with police officers, accident construction experts, product experts, and medical experts to present the best case possible for the plaintiff.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim Within The Statute of Limitations
Personal injury lawyers can also increase the success of a lawsuit by filing a claim within the appropriate statute of limitations. Although many accidents fall under personal injury, every accident has a particular statute of limitations that the plaintiff must follow for their lawsuit to be valid.
The statute of limitations is an appointed period that a plaintiff has to file a personal injury claim. One of the most common ways insurance companies attempt to refute a plaintiff’s claim is by stating that the plaintiff filed the lawsuit after the statute of limitations.
Once this happens, plaintiffs miss their opportunity to hold the negligent parties liable for their injuries. A personal injury lawyer can avoid this issue by filing a claim for the plaintiff.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies On The Plaintiff’s Behalf
Another benefit of hiring a personal injury lawyer is having someone skilled in negotiation. When speaking with insurance companies, personal injury lawyers can use these negotiation skills to settle.
Because settling is a step in the process that will happen anyway, a personal injury lawyer may recommend that the plaintiff consider a settlement to avoid taking the matter to trial.
A personal injury lawyer can also recommend adding particular types of compensation to the settlement offer before accepting the agreement.
Offering The Best Representation At Trial
Unfortunately, there are occasions when an insurance company still refuses to settle, no matter what the plaintiff agrees to. In this case, the plaintiff has the right to take their injury claim to trial.
A personal injury lawyer can provide the best representation for the plaintiff at trial. Most of the preparation for the trial has already occurred leading up to the settlement process. Personal injury lawyers can help meet the burden of proof by providing eyewitness testimonies and additional evidence for the trial.
Keeping The Plaintiff’s Best Interest At Heart
Many people have a particular bias towards lawyers and assume that they are only interested in their bottom line. Personal injury lawyers focus on what is in the plaintiff’s best interest throughout the personal injury process.
A personal injury lawyer will not recommend that a plaintiff accept a settlement if it does not benefit the plaintiff or match its compensation. A personal injury lawyer will also not recommend that the plaintiff take their claim to trial if the plaintiff does not have a successful chance of winning.
Consult With a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Whether you or your loved one suffered from a motor vehicle accident, product liability accident, medical malpractice accident, or workplace accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries.
If someone else's negligence injured you or a loved one, you need an experienced and compassionate personal injury attorney by your side. Contact a personal injury attorney today for your initial consultation about your case.
David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.