Do Most Personal Injury Claims Settle Out of Court?
While many personal injury claims settle out of court and prior to a trial, that doesn’t mean you can count on a fair settlement offer. In some instances, the defendant’s insurance company will eventually offer a reasonable and satisfactory settlement. But in many cases, this only happens because the victim hires an experienced personal injury lawyer who takes an aggressive, trial-ready approach from day one.
If you want to help yourself or your injured loved one get a better settlement offer, you can do that in a few different ways:
- Gathering as much evidence as possible from the scene
- Proactively seeking medical treatment immediately after the injury occurs
- Reaching out to authorities and witnesses for records and testimony
- Contacting a skilled and experienced Texas personal injury attorney with a proven track record of success, both in and out of the courtroom
Keep reading to learn the percentage of cases that settle before trial and what you should consider when debating whether to settle or take your personal injury claim to court.
What Percentage of Injury Cases Settle Before Trial?
This is a complicated question. Available data indicates that 2–3% of civil cases go to trial. Based on this information, you may see some sources on the internet that say 95% or more of civil cases end in a settlement.
However, this statement is inaccurate, because not every case that doesn’t go to trial will end in a settlement. Many of those cases will terminate without a trial or a settlement. For example, many plaintiffs choose to drop the case prior to trial or have the statute of limitations elapse before they have their day in court.
Most of the information we have about the percentage of cases that settle before trial is anecdotal. There is no agency or organization that gathers official nationwide data for civil case settlements in the United States. So, no one really knows the exact percentage of injury cases that settle. However, we can say without any doubt that many more cases resolve each year due to settlements than due to jury verdicts.
Should I Settle Your Personal Injury Claim Out of Court?
Going to court can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive for both sides. As a result, many civil claims (especially personal injury claims) get settled before trial. However, any experienced personal injury attorney who is truly committed to achieving the best results for their clients will take a case to court if they feel the insurance company’s settlement offers are not satisfactory.
When considering whether to take your civil case to court, you should take the following factors into account.
- The settlement offer: Usually, this is the number one factor that should determine whether you prepare for a trial. Attorneys don’t take cases to trial just for the fun of it, and if the insurance company makes a fair settlement offer, your attorney should recognize it and advise you to take it. However, insurance companies rarely make reasonable settlement offers until an experienced, aggressive lawyer gets involved and lets the insurance company know they will take the victim’s case all the way to a jury verdict if need be.
- Legal expenses: Legal costs may include attorney fees and costs related to pretrial motions, discovery, and depositions. However, many personal injury attorneys and firms (including Crosley Law) operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that the plaintiff does not pay legal fees unless their personal injury attorney achieves compensation on their behalf. Once the settlement or jury verdict finalizes, the attorney will take their fees out of the compensation from the insurance company.
- Stress and anxiety: Going to trial can create additional anxiety in a post-injury existence that is already difficult. So, if you feel that a personal injury trial might be too much to handle, you should talk with your attorney and let them know how you feel. Ask what they are doing to get the best possible settlement.
- Work and family: Most of us already have plenty on our plate dealing with work and family issues. Going to trial can sometimes aggravate work-related issues or household tensions. Make sure you’ve fully considered your work and family situations before committing to a civil trial in your personal injury case.
- Trial type: In civil cases, there are two distinct types of trials: judge trials (also known as bench trials) and jury trials. In general, juries are more likely to rule in favor of the defendant. So, if you are the plaintiff in a jury trial, you should talk with your lawyer about the strength of your case and make sure they feel confident about the outcome before proceeding.
- The expected outcome: When considering whether to accept a settlement offer or proceed to a civil trial, you need to ask yourself (and your lawyer) whether you are reasonably confident of a positive outcome in your favor. Personal injury trials can take a lot out of a person and their family, so if it doesn’t appear that you have a strong chance to win your lawsuit, you should have a serious conversation with your attorney about achieving the best possible settlement.
Thankfully, whether to settle or go to trial is not an either-or proposition. Many cases settle during the early stages of a trial, while both sides are still preparing. Some cases even settle “on the courthouse steps” as the trial is about to start or even during the trial.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim?Read More
There are also other possibilities besides a trial that can get stalled settlement negotiations moving again. Many civil claims end up in mediation, which is a process where the plaintiff and defendant work with a neutral third-party mediator to try and reach a fair settlement. Be sure to ask your attorney about their track record with mediation and whether they’ve considered this option for your case.
Crosley Law Has a Long History of Successful Settlements
Crosley Law has a reputation throughout Texas and beyond for using cutting-edge legal strategies, nationally recognized experts, and innovative investigative techniques to uncover and preserve essential evidence. Based on these methods and our aggressive litigation strategies, we’ve put together a strong track record of success of successful settlement agreements and trial outcomes for our clients.
“Crosley Law has a reputation throughout Texas and beyond for using cutting-edge legal strategies, nationally recognized experts, and innovative investigative techniques to uncover and preserve essential evidence. Based on these methods and our aggressive litigation strategies, we’ve put together a strong track record of success of successful settlement agreements and trial outcomes for our clients.”
A few examples include:
- $28 Million Jury Verdict: Ed Souza, a husband and father, was hit and killed by a drunk driver while working on his car in front of his home. Crosley Law took the case to trial and secured a $28 million jury victim on behalf of Tom Crosley’s clients. This was one of the top 100 largest jury verdicts in America in 2006.
- $6 Million Settlement Agreement: Jerry was nearly killed in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler semi-truck. He continues to live with devastating symptoms from the severe traumatic brain injury he suffered in the wreck. Our firm was able to reach a settlement agreement of $6 million for Jerry and his family thanks to advanced investigative approaches and expert medical witnesses.
- $9 Million Mediation Settlement: Our client, a 24-year-old man with autism, was struck by a distracted delivery driver. The crash inflicted two broken legs, a mild traumatic brain injury, and numerous cuts and abrasions. Thanks to our relentless investigation, we were able to settle at mediation for $9 million, which was one of the highest U.S. settlements of that year for this type of case.
Crosley Law: Fighting for San Antonio’s Accident Victims
Request Your Free Consultation
If you have been injured due to someone else’s reckless behavior and you need help, please reach out to Crosley Law today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney from our team. Our personal injury attorneys and support staff have decades of experience investigating accidents and injuries, negotiating favorable settlements, and litigating tirelessly on behalf of our clients.
The statute of limitations on personal injury claims in Texas is only two years from the date of the incident, so please call 210-LAW-3000 │210-529-3000 or complete this brief form to schedule your free consultation today.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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