Settlement Amounts: With Attorney vs Without

Did you know that personal injury victims represented by lawyers receive significantly higher settlements?
Clayton T. Hasbrook

Written by Clayton T. Hasbrook. Last modified on December 18, 2023

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Numerous studies and research show that accident victims represented by an attorney receive higher settlement amounts than those who attempt to handle their claims independently. Is this surprising?

It shouldn’t be. Personal injury attorneys have the advantage of having worked on previous cases. Experienced attorneys likely also track jury verdicts and have more information available on “What a case is worth.”

Sometimes, just filing a lawsuit will result in a higher settlement offer from an insurance adjuster.

Insurance Research Council Findings

According to the Insurance Research Council, accident victims with legal representation receive settlements nearly 3.5 times higher than those without. This research, first published in 1999, has been updated in subsequent years and continues to hold.

In addition to higher settlement amounts, the Insurance Research Council found that 85 percent of all insurance payouts for bodily injury claims went to individuals with an attorney. This statistic demonstrates that having an attorney can result in a higher settlement and improve the likelihood of a claim being approved.

Other Key Studies on Settlement With vs. Without Plaintiff’s Attorney

  • American Bar Association: Plaintiffs with lawyers in medical malpractice cases received, on average, 6.4 times more compensation (American Bar Association).
  • University of Michigan Study: Workers’ compensation claimants with legal support secured substantially higher settlements (University of Michigan).
  • Texas Bar Association Study: Injury plaintiffs with attorneys received 2.4 times more compensation on average (Texas Bar Association).
  • California Study: Medical malpractice plaintiffs with lawyers received 5.4 times more on average (PubMed).
  • National Center for State Courts Study: Legal representation in small claims court led to higher winning odds and awards (NCSC).

Lawyers.com Study Results

An internal study conducted by Lawyers.com supports the findings of the Insurance Research Council. The study revealed that 91 percent of participants who had a lawyer received a payout, compared to 51 percent who did not. Furthermore, even after accounting for the attorney’s contingency fee, claimants with legal representation still walked away with approximately three times more compensation than those without a lawyer. Lawyers.com updated the study in 2023, noting that the average compensation is $52,900, with personal injury settlements and verdicts typically between $3,000-$75,000.

Factors that Impact Car Accident Settlement Amounts

Several factors can influence the amount of a car accident settlement, including the severity of the injuries sustained, the amount of property damage, and whether the victim was partially at fault for the accident. Additionally, the victim’s ability to effectively negotiate with the insurance company can play a significant role in the settlement amount.

Severity of Injuries and Extent of Damages

The severity of the injuries sustained in a car accident is a primary factor in determining the value of a settlement. More severe injuries, such as traumatic brain or spinal cord damage, typically result in higher settlement amounts due to the increased medical expenses and long-term care needs associated with these injuries. The extent of property damage, such as damage to the victim’s vehicle, can also impact the settlement amount.

Comparative Fault

In some cases, the victim may be partially at fault for the accident, which can reduce the overall settlement amount. In states with comparative fault laws, the victim’s settlement will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a victim is found to be 25 percent at fault for an accident, their settlement will be reduced by 25 percent.

Negotiation Skills

The ability to effectively negotiate with the insurance company can significantly impact the amount of a car accident settlement. Insurance companies often attempt to minimize their payouts by offering low initial settlement offers, and accident victims who lack negotiation experience may be more likely to accept these offers. An experienced personal injury attorney can help counteract these tactics by negotiating on behalf of the victim and ensuring they receive a fair settlement.

The Role of a Personal Injury Attorney in Car Accident Cases

A personal injury attorney plays several essential roles in a car accident case, including:

  • Investigating the accident and identifying all liable parties
  • Gathering evidence to establish liability
  • Calculating the full extent of the victim’s damages
  • Reviewing all applicable insurance policies
  • Filing a claim or lawsuit on the victim’s behalf
  • Negotiating a fair settlement
  • Representing the victim in court, if necessary

Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

There are numerous benefits to hiring a personal injury attorney in a car accident case, including:

  1. Expertise in the Law: Personal injury attorneys have extensive knowledge of the laws and regulations that govern car accident cases. They can review the facts of the case, analyze the evidence, and prepare legal arguments to fight for fair compensation.
  2. Navigation of the Legal System: The legal system can be complex and difficult to navigate, particularly for individuals without legal training. A personal injury attorney can guide victims through the process, ensuring that all necessary deadlines are met and legal requirements are satisfied.
  3. Access to Resources: Personal injury attorneys often have access to a network of professionals, such as medical experts and investigators, who can help build a strong case on behalf of the victim. Additionally, attorneys may cover upfront costs associated with the case, such as filing and expert witness fees.
  4. Support Throughout the Process: A personal injury attorney can provide strategic and practical support throughout the claims process, answering questions and providing guidance at every step.
  5. Evaluation of Options: A personal injury attorney can help the victim evaluate all available options, such as settling the claim, continuing to negotiate, or proceeding to trial. The attorney can provide insight into the pros and cons of each option, allowing the victim to make an informed decision.
  6. Protection of the Victim’s Financial Future: An experienced personal injury attorney will consider the victim’s immediate losses and potential future losses, such as reduced earning capacity or ongoing medical expenses. The attorney can structure the settlement to minimize tax implications and protect the victim’s financial future.
  7. Time and Money Savings: Hiring a personal injury attorney can save the victim time and money by ensuring the claim is handled efficiently and effectively. The attorney can help the victim avoid costly mistakes, such as missing filing deadlines or accepting a low settlement offer, and negotiate a fair settlement that accounts for all of the victim’s losses.

When to Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

Often, it is advisable to consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following a car accident. This allows the attorney to begin collecting evidence and building a solid case on behalf of the victim while the accident details are still fresh. Additionally, seeking legal representation early in the process can help ensure that all necessary deadlines are met and that the victim’s rights are protected.

Finding the Right Personal Injury Attorney

When searching for a personal injury attorney, finding one with experience handling car accident cases and a track record of success is essential. Recommendations from friends, family, or online reviews can help you find a reputable attorney. Additionally, most personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations, allowing the victim to discuss their case and evaluate the attorney’s expertise before deciding to move forward.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyer

1. Experience and Expertise

It’s essential to choose a car accident lawyer with extensive experience handling cases similar to yours. This ensures they have the knowledge and expertise to navigate the complex legal process and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

2. Reputation and Reviews

Consider the lawyer’s reputation in the community and the legal profession. Read online reviews and testimonials from past clients to gain insight into their experiences working with the lawyer. A respected and highly rated car accident lawyer is likelier to provide exceptional representation and achieve favorable results.

3. Communication and Availability

Select a lawyer who is readily available to answer your questions, address your concerns, and keep you informed about the progress of your case. Effective communication is essential for a successful attorney-client relationship.

4. Legal Fees and Costs

Inquire about the legal fees and costs of hiring a car accident lawyer. Many lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they successfully recover your compensation. This fee arrangement can help reduce your financial burden and ensure that your lawyer is motivated to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

The Legal Process for Car Accident Cases in Oklahoma City

1. Initial Consultation

The first step in the legal process is to schedule an initial consultation with an Oklahoma City car accident lawyer. During this meeting, you will discuss the details of your case, ask questions, and determine whether the lawyer is the right fit for you.

2. Investigation and Evidence Gathering

Once you’ve hired a car accident lawyer, they will investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your claim. This may include obtaining police reports, medical records, and witness statements.

3. Filing a Claim

Your lawyer will then file a claim with the appropriate insurance companies, providing them with the necessary documentation and evidence to support your case.

4. Negotiation and Settlement

In most cases, a settlement can be reached through negotiation with the insurance company. Your car accident lawyer will work diligently to negotiate a fair and just settlement on your behalf.

5. Litigation and Trial

Your case may proceed to trial if a settlement cannot be reached. Your car accident lawyer will represent you in court, presenting your case to a judge or jury and advocating for the compensation you deserve.

Fact-Checked

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Clayton T. Hasbrook who has years of legal experience as a personal injury lawyer. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.