When do you file a Personal Injury Claim? If you’ve been injured, a lot of things are probably running through your mind. If you’re out of work recovering, you’re worried about paying your bills and feeding your family. You’re concerned with meeting your responsibilities while you’re in pain. You’re also thinking about the medical bills you have to contend with. Nothing can get you right back on your feet, but you do have options to ease the financial stress you’re facing.
There are two paths that can potentially lead you to what you’re owed: compensation for someone else’s misdoing that put you in an unfortunate position. One of which is to file a claim, and the other is to file a lawsuit. These processes are different and will therefore lead to different outcomes. Deciding whether a claim or a lawsuit is the best course of action is the first step in becoming whole.
The Difference Between Lawsuits and Claims
Both lawsuits and claims can help you recover what you’re rightfully owed after you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence or recklessness. Damages cover a variety of costs you’ve incurred as a result of an incident. Any and all medical costs, including those for therapies and drugstore purchases (like over the counter pain relievers and first aid supplies), can be sought. You’re also entitled to damages for damaged or destroyed property, wages you’ve lost, and suffering you’ve endured.
Filing a Claim
Claims are the simplest way to pursue damages. Claims involve contacting the responsible party’s insurance company directly. You can file a claim without any assistance, but working with an attorney is always likely to give you the best outcome. Accident injury attorneys know how to speak with insurance claims adjusters and may be able to help you pursue damages for aspects of the incident that you hadn’t considered. When a case is complex, an attorney is almost always necessary.
Negotiations will transpire between your representative and the representative of the insurance company. Sometimes, a happy medium can be reached where all parties feel satisfied. If not, it’s necessary to escalate the situation. This is usually the case when fair compensation is a large dollar amount that the insurance company doesn’t want to pay.
Filing a Lawsuit
Lawsuits are lengthy and complicated. The ideal scenario is one where a lawsuit can be entirely avoided. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
A lawsuit becomes necessary when things can’t be handled through negotiation. A lawsuit adds pressure to the situation by getting the court involved. The court acts as a mediator. You and your representative will explain the extent of the damages, and the responsible party’s representative will contest their liability for those damages. The court decides who has the stronger claim and what will be awarded.
Starting Your Personal Injury Claim
Claims are commonly filed against the party responsible for an auto injury or against businesses that are responsible for an injury. In almost all scenarios, the insurance company will represent the individual. These claims need to be filed almost immediately. Personal injury claims come with a statute of limitations. If you wait too long, you may lose the opportunity to pursue damages. When the claim has been filed, an investigation process will start.
This investigation process involves speaking with witnesses and bystanders, examining the scene of the accident, reviewing security footage if any exists, interviewing both parties about their version of events, and reviewing bills and invoices from professionals. These professionals include the mechanics and doctors who have treated you or repaired your property.
Once all the evidence has been brought forward, you will work with your attorney to convince the insurance claims adjuster that the party they represent is responsible for the damages. It is the insurance claims adjuster’s job to escape as much accountability as possible. This person will likely try to whittle down the damages and pay the bare minimum.
If you and your attorney are comfortable with the final sum, the process will wrap up here. If you’re not, a lawsuit may be necessary.
Starting Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
Some serious cases may require bypassing the claims process and heading directly for a lawsuit or Personal Injury Claim. This is typically the case when the dollar amount of the damages is extraordinarily high, or when a case is highly complex.
It’s worth noting that lawsuits are lengthy and highly expensive. If you don’t like the offer you received through negotiations, filing a lawsuit may not be the best answer. After all the fees are handled and costs have mounted, you may wind up with less money than you would have if you had agreed to take the offer from the claim. Speak with your attorney at length about the advantages and disadvantages of filing a lawsuit.
Sometimes, arbitration is a valuable alternative to a lawsuit. It’s quicker and more cost effective, making it a valid solution for claims where the statute of limitations is approaching without a satisfying resolution.
What Does No-Fault Mean?
No-fault laws change the way claims can be handled and insurance can be pursued. In states where no-fault schemes are used, your insurance company is required to cover you for personal injuries. There are small exceptions for no-fault laws that involve severe injuries. Death, disfigurement, dismemberment, organ loss, and significant bone injury fall under the umbrella of those exceptions. If you live in a no-fault case, a lawyer will be able to advise you about applicable exceptions.
Recovering Your Damages
If filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit is the right decision for you, we can help. Our experienced attorneys will aggressively work with insurance claims adjusters to recover the damages you deserve.