After being injured in an accident or slip-and fall, you may want to file a personal injury case. You may be wondering: How do I get fair compensation for my medical expenses and other losses? Do I need to hire a lawyer or do I have the ability to handle this on my own? What can I do to improve my chances of success? What is the time frame?
We surveyed readers from across the United States to find out their personal experiences with personal injuries claims. Here are the results.
Settlements: The Most Common Outcome In Personal Injury Claims
In total, 70% of personal injury claims received compensation (an out-of court settlement or award after a trial). Nearly 67% of those who had a personal injury claim received a settlement. Only 4 percent of readers saw their case go through trial. This is common in personal injury cases. Trials can be costly, time-consuming, and dangerous for all parties. Insurance adjusters, as well as lawyers representing injured people, are often motivated to settle personal injury claims.
What is the average amount of compensation in personal injury cases?
Our readers received payouts of between $3,000 and $25,000. More than half of them were paid. Another 26% received more than $25,000 and the average payout was $52,900. Keep in mind that our readers accessed our websites to learn more about their claims and find a lawyer. You might find that the people with the most severe injuries, which could lead to a higher settlement/award, retained a lawyer immediately and did not take part in our survey.
What Effects Does Personal Injury Claims Have on the End Results?
There are generally general patterns in how an insurance company values an injury case. Some factors can be affected by these patterns but you cannot control them.
Your injuries. Serious injuries can result in higher medical costs and more “pain-and-suffering” damages, which generally leads to higher payouts.
The insurance policy of the defendant. The insurance company will not offer settlements beyond the policy limits.
Our survey results show that there are several things you can do to increase your chances of a successful outcome and the amount of compensation you receive. These include hiring a lawyer, negotiating settlements (rather than accepting the first offer) and taking steps to involve a court.
Legal Representation: The Advantage
According to our survey, hiring a personal-injury lawyer is one of the best steps you can make to increase your chances for getting compensation for your injuries. Nearly nine in ten of the ten respondents who retained legal counsel received an award or settlement, compared with half of those who did it on their own.
Personal injury payouts can also be significantly affected by legal representation. The average compensation received by readers who retained a lawyer was $77,600, while the average amount for those who handled their own injuries claims was $17,600.
It’s evident that those who have hired lawyers came out on top when we combine the survey results regarding compensation and attorney’s fees.
After subtracting the average 32% contingency fees reported by our readers they received net payouts that were almost three times greater than what unrepresented clients received. These results are not surprising. Lawyers are familiar with how to create a strong personal injury case, gather evidence and deal with insurers. Find out when you might need a personal attorney and how to choose the right one for your case.
Negotiating Settlement Offers
Although it may seem obvious, negotiating is more effective than accepting an offer from the other party. Although it may not always be true, this is still one of the best strategies to get more money. 70% of our readers waited for a better deal. They received settlements that averaged $30,700 more than those who accepted the first offer from the insurance company. Learn how to negotiate a fair settlement for personal injury.
A Personal Injury Lawsuit can be filed or threatened
Over half of our readers resolved or other resolved their personal injuries claims without ever filing a lawsuit. However, readers who took one of these steps were twice as likely to get a settlement or an award than those who didn’t file or threatened lawsuits.
What is the average time it takes to resolve personal injury claims?
Half of our readers settled their personal injury claims in two to one year. 30% waited more than a year. Average time to resolve personal injury claims was 11.4 months. While it is natural to desire a fast payout, a quicker resolution does not necessarily guarantee a better outcome.
One reason is that claims with a positive outcome (a settlement or court order) took longer to resolve than those without one. Many of the factors that increase the chance of successful outcomes and larger payouts also make it more difficult to resolve claims. This includes hiring an attorney, filing or threat of a lawsuit and negotiating with insurance companies.