There is plenty of confusion surrounding the differences of a personal injury claim versus a personal injury lawsuit. These two terms, while heavily related to one another, are very different in terms of the process – and potentially, the compensation value.
If you were injured in an accident, you would have medical costs, continuing treatment costs, lost wages, and pain. You may wonder what options are available to receive compensation.
The Difference Between a Claim and a Lawsuit
The terms are often used interchangeably; however, a personal injury claim and personal injury lawsuit are much different.
The Personal Injury Claim
The personal injury claim is one that is between the injured and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is filed before a lawsuit. The claim is a process that starts by filing a complaint with the driver’s insurance company, then going through multiple negotiations with the insurance claims adjuster to arrive at a settlement amount. Some cases will resolve themselves at this point.
During the personal injury claim, attorneys may still be involved in the process. They help file all necessary paperwork with the insurer and help with the negotiations, too.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit
The personal injury lawsuit is the next step after negotiations during the claim process breakdown; without such, a settlement cannot be reached. The settlements may be halted because the claims adjuster has denied the claim or says that the insured is not at fault. Other times, the insurance company disagrees with the settlement amount requested by the plaintiff or they argue about the severity of the injuries. Regardless, when settlement talks are no longer an option through the claims process, a personal injury attorney will step in and file an official lawsuit against the insurer and the insured.
Starting the Personal Injury Claims Process
When individuals file personal injury claims, they do so after they have encountered injuries and property damage in an accident. That accident was the result of the insured’s negligence; therefore, the plaintiff files a claim with the insurance company to receive compensation for the financial losses.
To settle the personal injury claim, the insurance company’s claims adjuster will look for evidence that the accident was caused by the insured and not the plaintiff. Some evidence may include reviewing medical charts, interviewing witnesses, reviewing police reports, visiting the accident scene, and taking photographs, reviewing the vehicles to assess the level of damage, and evaluating evidence provided by the plaintiff.
A personal injury lawsuit, on the other hand, starts when the complaint is filed with the courts. This complaint is created by an attorney and starts the official petition to the courts for compensation.
Injured in an Auto Accident? Start the Process by Contacting an Attorney
The best way to begin the process – regardless of whether you need to file a claim or a lawsuit – is to speak with a personal injury attorney. Contact B. Clarke Nash today to explore your options for compensation through a free consultation. Schedule your appointment with The Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. now by calling 912-200-5292 or request an appointment online.