Is It Time to File a Lawsuit or Just a Claim?

By Peter DePaolis

Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss Injury Claims and Injury Lawsuits in DC

The terms “lawsuit” and “claim” are used in place of one another in personal injury law, but there are key differences to note.

After an accident, you have medications, doctors’ bills, lost wages, continuing costs, and more. You cannot work, so you have no money coming in. Soon, you will run out of sick leave, and that means limited financial support.

When you do not cause the accident, you might wonder if you should file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance and negotiate a settlement, or if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit. The answer, however, depends on your situation and the facts of your case.

Exploring the Differences Between a Lawsuit and an Insurance Claim

There are fundamental differences between these two primary methods for collecting compensation. Knowing the differences will help you better assess which option is right for you. Furthermore, it might be in your best interest to contact an attorney. An attorney can help you not only file a claim with the insurer but file a lawsuit if it is necessary.

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

A claim is filed with the at-fault party’s insurance company by the victim. The claim typically comes first, because it gives the insurer the chance to settle with the victim and avoid the costs of a lawsuit. The claims process involves an investigation and a series of back and forth negotiations.

Yes, you can hire an attorney to assist you. In fact, it is recommended. An attorney can negotiate with the claims adjuster and ensure you receive a fair, fast settlement.

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is filed when the claim’s negotiations fail or breakdown. If your attorney cannot reach a fair settlement with the insurer, he or she may feel that a lawsuit is the only means to compel the insurer to settle.

Often the claims adjuster denies a settlement or refuses to offer a fair amount, which results in a lawsuit. Once the lawsuit is filed, the courts are now involved in the process.

Starting a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If your attorney feels that you have significant property damage and the claim is no longer working with the insurer, then a lawsuit is your next option to collect compensation. However, your attorney must go through concrete steps before they can file, including:

  • Sending a demand letter to the insurer
  • Attempting to negotiate a settlement
  • Investigating the case
  • Establishing negligence

Once your attorney has completed the necessary steps, they may move on to the lawsuit phase.

Is It Time to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit? Contact an Attorney

If your negotiations with the insurance company are not moving forward, it may be time to file a lawsuit. Speak with a personal injury advocate from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP today to explore your options. We have three convenient office locations on the East Coast to serve you, so contact one today or request a free case evaluation online.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.