Statistics Paint a Bleak Picture for Personal Injury Victims

Nov 2, 2022 | Medical

A surprisingly small number of personal injury claims are filed in the U.S. compared to the total number of injuries suffered. A review of cases to come through the court system in 2021 paints an interesting portrait of the state of personal injuries in the U.S. For the year, there were roughly 400,000 personal injury claims made. 

Fear of lengthy litigation certainly dissuades some victims from pursuing claims, but many people are simply ignorant of their rights when they are injured by other people. Typically, a victim is not objective in assessing their role in the injury. Many victims assume their fault, real or imagined, contributed to the injury. Most do not understand personal injury law and the notion of recovering financial losses suffered, especially loss of wages.   

In addition, many personal injuries are not properly diagnosed either because the victim does not demand a thorough medical screening or because the equipment used in the assessment is technologically obsolete. If an injury is not properly documented, an attorney’s chances of prevailing are scant. This argues strongly for contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible once an injury occurs. 

To highlight the full scope of personal injury in the U.S., we can examine the following statistics compiled by the U.S. court system in 2021, as reported by the Probinsky & Cole law firm. 

The first noteworthy fact is how few personal injury cases make it to trial. Only about 4% of claims, approximately 16,000 cases, go to trial each year. The other 96% are settled out of court. 

The claims made across the United States cover a wide range of activities, including falls, motor vehicle crashes, physical assaults, dog bites, alleged medical malpractice, product liability charges, injuries incurred while playing sports or recreating, and much more. 

Motor vehicle accidents made up 52% of the personal injury cases across the country. The next largest source of claims was the catch-all category labeled “Other,” which includes assaults and premise liability cases. Medical malpractice claims were 15% of personal injury cases, and product liability claims were about 5%.  

When it comes to settlement and compensation, the data shows that vehicle accident cases are successful 61% of the time. Premise liability cases succeed 39% of the time, 38% of product liability cases are successful and 19% of medical malpractice cases. 

The average compensation awarded by case type were as follows: 

  • Product Liability: $748,000
  • Medical Malpractice: $679,000
  • Motor Vehicle Accident: $16,000
  • Premise Liability: $90,000
  • Intentional Tort: $100,000 (intentional actions that result in harm to the plaintiff, e.g., assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress)

Emerging Trends in Personal Injury Cases

Distracted driving has become one of the primary activities leading to personal injury cases. Driving while using a mobile phone has resulted in some of the worst crashes in recent years, and individuals are 23X more likely to crash while texting. Drivers who use their phones while driving seem unable to grasp the danger of taking their eyes off the road for even a few seconds when traffic is moving 70 miles per hour. In recent years, many states have made it illegal to handle a phone while driving, yet this type of behavior persists. 

Another trend in vehicle crash cases is drivers are impaired during a significant percentage of their wrecks – up to 40% of the time. Impairment like this can lead to speeding and reckless driving, both of which increase the risk of an accident. 

The final trend is that many cases are settled without going to court. Both sides can be well served by settlement; it relieves the parties of the time, energy and legal fees they would otherwise commit to the case. 

The downside risk is primarily to the plaintiff. Consider the demand made against the insurer. Does the insurer’s offer cover most of the demand? Rather than accepting an offer in haste, consult with legal representation that can consider your best interests and negotiate as necessary. 

Getting the Most Value from Your Personal Injury Case

If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim, follow these two critical steps: consult with an experienced personal injury attorney, and advocate for the proper medical screening assessments using the most up to date diagnostic technologies to help avoid low settlement value. Together, these elements can get you the most for your case.


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