Discover which personal injury cases typically end up going to trial.

Mind-Blowing Statistics: What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?


Navigating the world of personal injury law can often feel overwhelming, especially when faced with the stress of physical or emotional recovery. One question that many plaintiffs and their families grapple with is: What percentage of personal injury cases actually go to trial? Understanding the likelihood of going to court can significantly impact your legal strategy and mental preparedness.

What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?

Recent statistics indicate that the majority of personal injury cases settle before reaching the courtroom. Yet, each case is unique, and several factors can tip the scales toward a trial. Whether you’re dealing with an auto accident, medical malpractice, or a workplace injury, it’s crucial to grasp the dynamics of trial probability to effectively navigate your legal journey.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the hard numbers, examining verified statistics to answer the pressing question—what percentage of personal injury cases go to trial? We’ll also explore various types of personal injury cases, the average time and costs associated with them, and the pros and cons of settling versus going to court.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer picture of what you might expect in your own personal injury case, equipping you with the knowledge to make informed decisions every step of the way.

What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?

Few personal injury cases go to trial, but many are filed.

The majority of personal injury cases never reach the trial phase, with only an estimated 3% to 5% actually proceeding to trial, as indicated by various sources. In fact, as many as 95% of these cases are resolved through out-of-court settlements. The preference for settling stems from several factors: the significant expenses associated with trials, the inherent risks of unpredictable outcomes, and the emotional and mental strain trials can place on all parties involved. While it’s crucial to understand that only a minority of personal injury cases go to trial, it’s equally vital to recognize that this statistic doesn’t reflect the total number of tort claims initiated or filed in court.

For an in-depth look at 16 statistics that shape the field of personal injury, click here to read more.

What Makes a Personal Injury Case Strong?

Strong injury claims have good evidence and witnesses.

Navigating the landscape of personal injury cases can be complex, but understanding what makes a personal injury case strong can be invaluable for potential plaintiffs. Typically, the strongest personal injury claims are those backed by solid evidence, compelling witness testimonies, and legal precedents.

Whether you’re dealing with common personal injury cases like car accidents, medical malpractice, or premises liability, a well-prepared case can increase your chances of either winning in court or securing a favorable settlement without ever stepping into a courtroom. Remember, only a small percentage of personal injury cases go to trial, but your goal should be to build a case so strong that the insurance company would rather settle than face you in litigation.

Key Elements That Strengthen a Personal Injury Case:

  • Clear Evidence: Gathering irrefutable proof of negligence, intentional harm, or gross negligence is crucial. Photographs, accident reports, and medical records can serve as compelling evidence.

  • Witness Testimonies: Eyewitness accounts can strongly support injury claims, particularly in motor vehicle accidents or premises liability cases.

  • Medical Treatment Records: Your medical treatment documentation will quantify your personal injuries, lending weight to your claims for financial compensation.

  • Expert Opinions: In medical malpractice cases or product liability cases, expert testimonials can bolster your case significantly.

  • Legal Representation: An experienced personal injury attorney or personal injury lawyer can guide you through the legal system, advising on whether it makes sense to go to trial, and how best to navigate the court calendar. Most offer a free consultation or even a free case evaluation.

So, whether you’re dealing with a negligent driver in an auto accident or suffering damages from defective products, fortifying your personal injury lawsuit with these elements can help you within the court system. Even in a scenario where so few cases go to trial, having a robust personal injury claim prepares you for every possible outcome.

Personal Injury Settlement Statistics

Most injury cases settle out of court.

The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court through negotiations, with settlements making up about 67% of all personal injury payouts. These settlements can either be structured over time or given as a lump sum, and their value is determined by various factors such as the severity of the injury and potential trial costs. Contrary to popular belief, only around 5% of these cases actually go to trial.

Despite this, about 70% of plaintiffs in personal injury cases receive some form of financial compensation, whether through an out-of-court settlement or a court award. In summary, most personal injury cases are resolved through settlements rather than trials, and the majority of compensation is paid out of court.

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases and Associated Statistics

Car crashes frequently serve as the basis for personal injury claims.
  • Car Accidents: Motor vehicle accidents are among the most common types of personal injury cases, accounting for a significant percentage of claims.

  • Medical Malpractice: These cases, although less frequent than car accidents, often result in higher settlement amounts due to the severe consequences involved.

  • Premises Liability: Slip and fall accidents, often occurring on someone else’s property, make up a sizable chunk of personal injury claims.

  • Product Liability: Cases involving defective or dangerous products are less common but can result in substantial payouts.

  • Workplace Accidents: Occupational hazards can lead to personal injuries, and these cases often involve workers’ compensation claims.

Statistical data shows that the majority of these cases are settled out of court. For instance, only a small percentage, around 5%, ever make it to a courtroom. Furthermore, compensation for personal injury claims is primarily disbursed through settlements rather than court awards. Understanding the statistics and types of personal injury cases can provide valuable context when navigating your own personal injury claim.

Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts

Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts

The average settlement amount in personal injury cases varies significantly based on the particulars of each case, but some general figures can provide an overview. For example:

  • Auto Accidents: The average settlement amount is approximately $41,783.

  • Truck Accidents: For truck-related injuries, the average is about $42,910.

  • Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcycle accidents see a higher average settlement at around $62,564.

  • Pedestrian Accidents: The average settlement for pedestrian incidents is around $36,254.

  • Workers’ Compensation: In workplace injury cases, the average settlement is approximately $21,947.

  • Pain and Suffering: In states like Florida, this category can range from $650,000 to $1,000,000.

These figures are just examples and not guaranteed payouts for every case. Settlement amounts depend on various factors like injury type, emotional impact, and trial costs. When considering a settlement, it’s important to account for not just medical expenses but also lost wages and quality of life.

Average Time to Settle a Personal Injury Case

The time required to settle a personal injury case is influenced by several steps and factors:

  • Filing a Lawsuit: After filing, the defendant typically has 30-60 days to be served and a further 30-45 days to respond. Generally, it takes around three months from filing to get the insurer’s initial response.

  • Pre-Trial Discovery: This stage, which follows the initial response, involves evidence collection, depositions, and information exchange between parties. It can be time-consuming.

  • Mediation and Trial: If parties don’t reach an agreement in mediation, the case proceeds to trial. Trials can span four days to two weeks, with intricate cases stretching even longer.

  • Settlement: Out-of-court settlements hinge on the insurance company’s readiness to offer a reasonable amount. For severe injuries backed by a solid case, settlements might come quickly, sometimes within days or weeks.

  • Overall Duration: While personal injury cases, on average, take 12 to 14 months to settle, this period fluctuates based on injury severity, recovery time, and disputed amounts.

Each personal injury case is distinct, with timelines varying based on multiple factors. For clarity on your case’s specifics, it’s best to engage with a lawyer.

Key Factors That Affect What Personal Injury Attorneys Charge

Legal fees for personal injury cases vary based on case complexity.

Personal injury attorneys often base their fees on various factors that relate to the complexities and nuances of the litigation process. Not all personal injury lawsuits are alike, and as such, the charges can differ based on:

  • Contingency Fee vs. Hourly Rate: Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, taking a percentage of the settlement or court award. Some, however, may charge an hourly rate, especially in complex cases like medical malpractice trials or intentional tort cases.

  • Nature of the Case: Some cases, like medical malpractice trials or product liability, might require more specialized knowledge and therefore might incur higher charges.

  • Litigation Process: The length and intricacy of the trial, whether it’s a jury trial or another form, can influence fees.

  • Involvement of Insurance Companies: The dynamics and negotiations with insurance companies can add layers of complexity, affecting lawyer fees.

  • Potential Payouts: If the lawsuit can lead to substantial punitive damages or if the negligent party is a major corporation, the attorney might adjust their fees in anticipation of a significant payout.

  • Experienced Attorney: More seasoned personal injury lawyers, having handled diverse cases like automobile accidents to intentional tort cases, might have higher fees due to their expertise.

  • Time and Resources: How much effort is required to gather evidence, engage with witnesses, or prepare for the court case, can affect charges.

  • Projected Duration: The average time a lawsuit is expected to take, from initial filings to potential jury trials, can impact attorney fees.

In essence, while many injured victims aim to get the best representation, understanding these key determinants can offer clarity on what one might expect to be charged in a personal injury lawsuit.

The Role of Insurance Companies

They collect early evidence for future legal talks or trials.

Insurance companies have a significant role in the dynamics of personal injury cases, influencing various aspects such as:

  • Initial Investigation: They often conduct the first investigations, collecting evidence that might be used later in negotiations or court.

  • Settlement Offers: Insurance companies usually make the initial settlement offers, aiming to resolve the claim as economically as possible for them.

  • Expertise in Legal and Medical Matters: They have specialists who scrutinize claims, sometimes challenging the extent of injuries or liabilities involved.

  • Resource Allocation: With extensive legal teams and financial resources, they are often well-equipped to contest claims aggressively.

  • Claims Denial: In some instances, insurance companies might deny claims outright, requiring injured parties to go through a legal process for compensation.

Understanding the role of insurance companies is crucial, as their actions and strategies significantly impact the outcome of personal injury lawsuits. Therefore, injured victims are advised to seek their own legal representation to counterbalance the influence of insurance companies.

DIY Vs. Hiring a Lawyer

Injury lawyers often work on contingency fees.

When it comes to navigating a personal injury case, individuals often ponder the pros and cons of going the DIY route versus hiring a lawyer. While taking the DIY approach might seem cost-effective initially, personal injury law is complex and requires specialized knowledge that most laypeople don’t possess. From filing the initial paperwork correctly to understanding the intricacies of negotiation and possibly going to trial, each step can be daunting.

A lawyer not only brings legal expertise but also has experience dealing with insurance companies, gathering evidence, and negotiating settlements. They can potentially secure a much larger compensation amount than you might achieve on your own.

On the flip side, legal fees are a consideration, but most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you do. In summary, while DIY might seem appealing, the risks usually outweigh the benefits, making hiring an experienced attorney the safer and often more fruitful option.

Why choose Hire Jared?

Hire an attorney for expert help from start to finish.

Choosing “Hire Jared” for understanding the percentage of personal injury cases that go to trial is a wise decision for several reasons:

  • Expertise in Personal Injury Cases: Jared’s extensive experience and specialization in personal injury lawsuits ensure you’re getting insights from a seasoned professional.

  • Detailed Statistical Analysis: “Hire Jared” provides an in-depth breakdown of statistics, allowing clients to understand the intricacies of how many cases go to trial versus those settled out of court.

  • Personal Approach: Jared believes in a personalized touch, ensuring that every client is given individual attention, understanding their unique needs and concerns.

  • Updated Knowledge: With the legal landscape constantly evolving, Jared ensures he’s abreast of the latest changes, providing clients with the most current data and interpretations.

Choosing “Hire Jared” offers not just expertise, but a commitment to excellence and personalized service, ensuring you make informed decisions in your personal injury case.


A remarkably small percentage of personal injury cases—only about 3-5%—actually proceed to trial. The vast majority are settled out of court through negotiations between legal teams and insurance companies. This statistic emphasizes the importance of having an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the often complex and nuanced negotiation process.

At The Law Offices of Jared Spingarn, P.A., we specialize in personal injury cases and understand the dynamics of going to trial versus settling outside of court. Our team provides personalized, expert guidance every step of the way—from the initial consultation to the final verdict or settlement.

Armed with up-to-date knowledge and statistics, we can offer a comprehensive view of your options and odds, allowing you to make an informed decision. Whether your case is one of the few that go to trial or one of the many that settle, we are committed to securing the best possible outcome for you. Choose us for an effective, client-centered approach to your personal injury case.

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