Being suddenly thrust into the world of personal injury law can be overwhelming and come with lots of confusion. How is fault determined? What is a claim? Is there a difference between a claim and a lawsuit? The answer to the last question is yes, though some people may incorrectly use them interchangeably. A personal injury claim is designed to help a victim of a personal injury accident with their incurred damages by filing with the insurance company. If this doesn’t work out or the offer from the insurance company is not adequate, a lawsuit can be filed against the negligent party.
No matter what legal action you decide to take, it’s best to discuss your options with a dedicated attorney first. The team at Feller & Wendt has devoted many years to the art of personal injury law and possesses the knowledge and compassion necessary to get you the financial compensation and justice you deserve after your accident.
3 Differences Between a Claim and a Lawsuit
To help decipher the individual pros and cons of both a claim and a lawsuit, we’ve highlighted three major differences between the two forms of legal action:
The overall purpose of both actions is the same: to recover compensation for your damages due to the negligence of another. This negligence can be in the form of a motor vehicle accident, a slip-and-fall, a malfunctioning product, or more. A claim does this by working outside of the court system. Your personal injury claim will be filed directly with the insurance company, which will accept, deny, or negotiate the amount of compensation. During this process, you rarely if ever deal directly with the party that caused your injuries.
A lawsuit usually follows a denied insurance claim or an unreasonably low settlement offer. Insurance companies are not likely to offer a high settlement out of the gate and will use tactics to offer as little money as possible. A lawsuit’s purpose is to force the insurance companies into a negotiation and hold them accountable to the contracts that they have with their insureds. This does require us to serve a complaint on the responsible parties. Those parties will then turn the complaint over to their insurance companies who will then hire lawyers to defend the claims.
The claims process is much quicker than the average timeline for a lawsuit. For a claim, you must follow your insurance company’s processes for filing a claim. Then, you must also file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company. Once the correct paperwork has been submitted, the insurance company will make a decision based on the evidence. If denied, your lawyer can help you file for reevaluation.
This process is fairly straightforward and quick compared to a lawsuit, which can take over a year. A lawsuit is a legal action with the intent of settling a dispute between two parties: the defendant and the plaintiff. It will involve hearings, discovery, and motions, all overseen by a judge. They can also take up a large portion of your time and be quite expensive. The litigation process must be started prior to the statute of limitations deadline.
The desired outcome for both a claim and a lawsuit is legal recourse for your accident. This means the negligent party is held liable for their actions, and you are given the appropriate compensation for your injuries and expenses. If a victim files a claim on their own, the compensation is not often as large as it would be with knowledgeable legal representation experienced in negotiations.
Speak to a Qualified Attorney About Your Best Legal Options Today
At the end of the day, Feller & Wendt is here to help you get the outcome you need to start fresh after your accident. We will sit down with you for a free case evaluation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your injuries and which method of legal recourse would be the most beneficial to your case. From that point forward, you will have a qualified attorney by your side every step of the way, including the final settlement.
Don’t try to navigate this process alone. Give yourself the best possible chance at financial restitution today by scheduling a free consultation by calling (801) 499-5060 or through our contact form.