What are Your Chances of Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit in NY?

If you are seriously injured, you may be considering filing a personal injury lawsuit to get compensation and justice from the party that hurt you. Indeed, despite the fact that lawsuits are often lengthy and stressful, many injured plaintiffs will sue anyway, either because they want to see a party in the wrong held accountable because they need financial compensation to deal with their injuries or for any other reason. One of the things you may be wondering about when filing a personal injury lawsuit is your chance of success if the matter goes all the way to trial.

The answer, unfortunately, and somewhat frustratingly, is that it is impossible to predict the chances of somebody winning a personal injury lawsuit because of many reasons. Each case is different, with varying facts, witnesses, and legal arguments. Moreover, there is no guarantee that a jury will decide one way or another on the day of a trial. It is impossible to say what someone’s chances of winning a lawsuit are without further information.

To get a free case review, call our Westchester personal injury lawyers from The Martello Law Firm at (914) 685-6950.

Can You Really Know Your Chance of Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York?

Sometimes, legal outcomes may seem like the luck of the draw. This could not be farther from the truth. There is an astronomical amount of preparation and rehearsal that goes into each and every lawsuit. It may be surprising, then, to learn that there is very little that can be done to predict how any given lawsuit is going to play out. This is because each case is different, with unique plaintiffs, defendants, facts, and circumstances. Therefore, just because one case turns out a certain way does not mean that your case will turn out a certain way.

Moreover, statistics and trends that you find online about lawsuit success chances are not helpful for a number of reasons. First, many lawsuit and settlement details are kept private. This means that any public lawsuit amount or average does not take into account the full, real picture. Settlements are the vast majority of personal injury cases, and their amounts are virtually unknown to the public.  Second, damages awards and settlement amounts lawyers publish on their websites do not represent the full picture, either. This is because they are likely cherry-picked to display favorable outcomes and high compensation awards in order to attract prospective clients.

Factors That Affect Personal Injury Lawsuit Outcomes in New York

While it is impossible to know the “chance” of how any one case will play out, there are factors that can increase or decrease your chance of being successful in a personal injury lawsuit. Some of these factors may be more favorable in a settlement than in a trial, and our lawyers will explain as much in this section. Below, we’ve compiled some factors that can help or hurt your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit in New York.

General Factors

Some things that can make a case more or less likely to succeed can be applicable to any kind of personal injury lawsuit.

Stronger Evidence

Concrete, strong evidence is a good indicator that a personal injury lawsuit is going to be successful. For example, if you have video footage of the defendant injuring you that they cannot dispute, that will increase your chance of being successful either in a settlement or at trial.


Witnesses can work both for and against your case at trial. If you have many witnesses with air-tight testimony that the defendant is liable, your case becomes better. However, if you do not have any witnesses to an incident, or if those witnesses have hazy recollections or contradicting accounts of what happened, your case will suffer.

Seriousness of Injuries

The seriousness of your injuries can play into the potential success of a case. If your injuries are serious, you may be more successful at trial since the jury will see you as a sympathetic plaintiff. However, serious injuries may dissuade the defendant from trying to settle and instead push them to take their chances in court.

Mild injuries have the opposite effect. You can be seen as greedy by a jury for suing over trivial things, and defendants may be more willing to settle and make an issue go away if they do not need to pay out as much for mild injuries.

Car Accident Factors

Car accidents have some special factors that can greatly strengthen or hurt your case.

Police Reports

A police report is a formal recollection of events recorded by a police officer after an accident happens. This usually includes statements from people involved in the accident as well as witnesses. Police reports are generally available around a week or less after an accident takes place. IF a police report has details favorable to your argument, it can help your case.

Video Footage

Video footage of the accident can be extremely helpful to your case. For example, if you have dashcam footage from your vehicle, that can help the jury understand better how the accident took place. You can also use footage from witnesses’ mobile phones or from cameras on the outside of stores or other areas nearby.

DUI Conviction

If the driver who hit you was convicted of a DUI for the same events, that can help your side of the case. This is incredibly powerful information because it means the driver already admitted to the DUI or was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by another jury.

Motorcycle Accident Factors

Like car accidents, motorcycle accidents have special factual considerations to take into account when assessing the merits of a lawsuit.

Helmets and Safety Attire

If you were wearing your helmet and other proper attire while riding a motorcycle, that can be very beneficial to your case. There is a (somewhat incorrect) view of motorcyclists as irresponsible risk-takers, so if you can present yourself as responsible, it can help your case.

Following Traffic Rules

Just like for car accidents, if you are following traffic rules like stopping at red lights, properly using turn signals, and following speed limits, you will appear in a more favorable light at trial. However, if you were doing something that goes against traffic rules and the defense brings it up, while it may not completely destroy your case, it will hurt it to some degree.

What You Need to Prove in a New York Personal Injury Lawsuit

In order to win a personal injury lawsuit in New York, you have to prove either that someone intentionally set out to hurt you or that you were injured because of negligence. It is difficult to prove intent in a personal injury lawsuit unless the evidence you have is rock solid. In most cases, our New Rochelle personal injury lawyers will be looking to prove that you got injured because the defendant was negligent. In law, negligence means that someone else was careless, and their carelessness caused your injuries.

To prove negligence, you need to establish four “elements” in court. These elements are duty, breach, causation, and injury. We’ll go into those elements briefly below.


A duty is an obligation one person or entity has to another. In general, people have a duty to avoid conduct that has a good chance of harming other people. For example, people driving cars have a duty not to speed and must follow other rules of the road as well.


A breach happens when someone does not uphold their duty. Returning to our car driver example, a driver can breach their duty to drive safely and follow traffic laws by speeding, ignoring stop signs, driving aggressively, or making other bad driving decisions.


Causation means that the defendant caused your injuries. This is a tricky element that is often contested by the defense. You must prove not only that they actually caused your injuries but that they are the “proximate” cause. A proximate cause is something that is closely related to your injuries. For example, suppose our hypothetical motorist cuts off a third driver, and that third driver speeds up and hits you crossing the street. Here, the third motorist would be liable because their speeding up is a cause of your injuries that cuts off the conduct of the other motorist from liability.


Finally, you need to prove that you were injured in order to win a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, this is not a difficult thing to do. You can prove that you were injured through evidence like photos, medical records detailing your treatment, eyewitness testimony, and anything else that can lend credibility to your claims.

“Winning” Vs. Settling a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York

When somebody thinks of winning a lawsuit, they will likely picture a jury delivering a verdict in their favor and the defendant being compelled to pay damages by the court. Indeed, many lawsuits do end that way. However, taking a case all the way to trial is not the only way to be successful in a personal injury lawsuit. You can also settle the case outside of a trial with the defendant.

During a lawsuit, a settlement is when both sides agree to terms before a trial and cooperatively resolve the dispute. Settlements are more common than you might think. In fact, most cases do not make it to trial because they are settled or otherwise dropped beforehand. In a settlement, one side, usually the defendant, offers compensation as well as other terms that they think are acceptable, and the plaintiff gets to accept or reject the settlement offer.

When going through the legal process, it is important to define what a “win” is for you. For many people, winning entails getting the financial compensation they need and are entitled to and nothing more. In those cases, it may be a good idea to accept a settlement offer and avoid a lengthy trial. Moreover, trials are always a coin toss, while settlements have a guaranteed outcome.

However, some plaintiffs may want to see justice done in a more direct manner, in which case going to trial may be preferable. That being said, do not misconstrue a settlement offer for the other side, admitting that they have a weak case. Many defendants will offer to settle in order to save their reputation or as a gesture of goodwill. They, too, may be trying to avoid a lengthy trial but are fully prepared to see one through should it come to it.

While our Port Chester, NY personal injury lawyers can provide counsel and advice as to what we think is the best way to proceed for your situation, only you can decide whether you want to settle or not, and we will assist you as best we can – no matter what your decision is.

Talk to Our New York Personal Injury Lawyers About Your Case

Our Yonkers, NY personal injury lawyers from The Martello Law Firm can be reached to discuss your case at the number(914) 685-6950.

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