Black’s Law Dictionary estimates that only four to five percent of personal injury cases ever make it to trial. Very few cases ever do make it into a courtroom. Most reach an out-of-court settlement. This is due to two things. First, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), about half of all civil cases lead to a positive outcome for the plaintiff. Second, it’s time-consuming. It can take months or even years to battle a personal injury case in the courts.
Even if you do go to court, it’s uncommon to win a large amount of money. The BJS estimates that about 4 out of 100 trials actually result in compensation of more than $1 million. The median award is around $28,000. Personal injury cases involving products tend to have better outcomes.
Does this mean you shouldn’t bother filing a personal injury lawsuit? Not at all. If you’ve been injured or harmed and it’s clearly someone else’s fault, you should never have to suffer financially. It’s important to talk to an experienced attorney about your situation and see what the attorney has to say.
Do Personal Injury Trials Really Last That Long?
One of the longest personal injury cases in history took place in Canada. Christopher Zuber was riding the train from Toronto to Montreal when the train derailed. He was thrown from his seat and allegedly suffered head and neck injuries. X-rays and scans didn’t find any fractures, but the businessman felt severe pain that made it difficult to perform his job. A personal injury case started in 2000 and lasted 17 years with 26 weeks of trial time and a final award of $50,000 for general damages. He did not get awarded loss of past or future wages as he’d hoped.
While 17 years was longer than most, you still need to be realistic. It can take an average of six months to see if injuries sustained in a crash or attack are going to be permanent or to see how much medical care and therapy is needed. After that, it can take time to gather evidence and witness statements and make the initial pleas. A trial date has to be set and this can also take months. There’s also time spent in mediation where both parties try to reach a settlement before the trial date arrives.
What Can You Do to Win Your Case?
From the very moment, you’re injured or harmed in some way, document everything you need to prove the other party was at fault. If you were in a crash with a drunk driver, get photos of your injuries, your vehicle, the area where the crash occurred, and photos of the other driver’s vehicle. Keep copies of all medical bills, invoices for medical equipment you need while you recover, and records of future appointments and therapy sessions.
That’s just one of many personal injury cases. As another example, say you were walking your dog and an unleashed dog ran out of its yard and attacked your dog. Detail all injuries, keep copies of veterinary bills, ask the owner for proof that the dog has been vaccinated and is licensed, and call the police and get the attack documented. Ask neighbors and the town’s animal control officer if there have been other complaints with this dog. The more evidence you have proving irresponsibility on the owner’s part, the stronger your case.
Personal injury cases cover so many things. Crashes with trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, buses, and cars are examples of situations where you may deserve restitution. Falling on an icy sidewalk, getting bitten by a dog, or wrongful death cases are others. When you’re injured in any situation like that, you need to contact an attorney.
What Should You Have in Hand When Meeting With an Attorney?
Get a personal injury attorney with a strong track record. Look for a law group with attorneys who have years of experience in personal injury cases. When you meet with the attorney, bring any bills, reports, and other documentation you’ve collected. If you feel you’re missing something, don’t worry. You’ll have a team of legal advisers by your side.
KJT Law Group is well-versed in personal injury law. Ask questions to see if you have a case. Case evaluations are free, so you can get answers without having to worry about another bill. Contact us or call (818) 873-0181 to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.