Just How Big is the Personal Injury Industry?
(Photo : pixabay)

Firstly what exactly does personal injury refer to?

It refers to damage to your person. Be that to your mind, your body and your emotions. It does not cover personal property. A simple example could be that you were walking into a restaurant that had water on the floors but no hazard signs warning you of the danger. You subsequently slip up and break your wrist along with your expensive smartwatch. Everyone in the restaurant laughs at you. You can make a claim for negligence against the restaurant for the injury sustained and the humiliation you felt but not for the watch.

Attorneys and lawyers that practice personal injury will cover the following:

Workplace injuries, automobile accidents, medical malpractice, airline or marine personal injuries and other personal injuries such as dog bites. Their activities cover tort law services, negligence cases and injuries in the workplace.

How big is the market size measured by revenue for personal injury lawyers?

In 2020 the market size, that is, measured by revenue will be approximately $37.5bn in the United States.

So it is safe to say that the market is very large but just how large? Automobile accidents account for around 2.35 million injuries and 37,000 deaths. Approximately 8,000,000 hospital visits are recorded each year for slips and falls. Over 800,000 injuries caused by aggravated assaults and around 45,000 bicycle accidents.

To break that down a little there are around 30,000 car accidents, 21,000 injuries and 180 deaths alone in Tampa according to Tampa personal injury lawyers.

Is the personal injury market growing or declining?

Over the past five years the market grew at around 1.6% per year. Slightly less than the predicted 1.9% but a growth nevertheless.

There has been a bigger trend in bringing joint liability cases to court because they can generally bring larger settlements meaning larger benefits to both the plaintiffs and the law firms involved. Car accident cases have also increased bringing a higher level of civil cases. However, online legal consultancies have also increased and are more aggressively targeting potential clients. Thishas resulted in a slight slowing down in the growth of the personal injury industry.

To give an idea just how big the personal injury industry is you can take a look at cost per click on Google. The highest cost for clicking on a personal injury ad is over $900. That is everytime you click on that advert it costs that particular law firm $900. That alone gives you an idea of the size and competitiveness of the current market.

How many personal injury lawyers practice?

In the United States there are approximately 800,000 to 1.2 million lawyers depending on which source you refer to. Of these there are about 93,000 to 135,000 personal injury lawyers. There are nearly 60,000 businesses in the US.

Of these lawyers, anyone of them may have a couple of hundred cases at any one time. Yes, that's right, 200! If you were the plaintiff in a personal injury claim and thought your lawyer was dealing with you and just a few other clients you would most likely be wrong. Personal injury is big business.

How big is the average personal injury settlement?

Settlements could be between $1,000 to $1 million (if it was a very serious accident). The average payout for a car accident would be somewhere between $3,000 and $93,000. Most personal injury payouts are around $65,000.

Of course some cases end with million dollar settlements. The highest case being against big tobacco that was worth over $200 billion!

Settlements are decided by many factors including pain and suffering, economic damages and other parts. Did you suffer lost or damaged property? Were you unable to perform your job or did your injuries impact on you permanently.

Ultimately the payout would have to take into consideration what the other party could reasonably afford to pay. If you were suing for $200,000 and the other party had insurance for $150,000 then it would make sense to settle for the lower amount unless they also had considerable assets.

How many personal injury cases are filed each year?

It is hard to get an accurate amount for cases actually filed but most cases settle outside of court. Statistics from the US government show that only around 5% of cases filed actually end up in court. 95% are settled before trial. It can take up to 2 years to get to court so it usually makes sense to find a way to settle before it gets this far.

How much do personal injury lawyers make per year?

In the United States a personal injury lawyer or attorney makes between $70,000 and $145,000 per year. Partners or owners of law firms would be making significantly more as they would be taking money from every claim filed. A lawyer at a larger firm would be looking at around $160,000 per year.

So how do personal injury lawyers actually get paid?

Most lawyers would work on a contingency fee basis. If you don't know what this is, it is basically no-win, no-fee. The lawyer or attorney will only charge you if they win your case and agree to a settlement. The law firm will charge you around 33% if you settle outside of court. However if you go to trial you will be charged 40%

Will the market continue to grow?

Personal injury cases are the most commonly filed type of case in federal district courts. The market is expected to continue to grow 1.3 - 1.6% each year. Essentially people will continue to have accidents and continue to seek compensation. There will be more competition from online legal consultancies and marketing and SEO will be more important but the bottom line is the market will continue to grow albeit possibly at a reduced rate as other factors such as Covid-19 affect the legal system.

The market has slowed slightly but there are opportunities for growth. Medical malpractice is one area that is growing. It would seem then that even with this slowing and with Covid-19 affecting the market in different ways the personal injury industry is only going to grow bigger.

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