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What’s the Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Lawsuit?

By Butler Prather LLP on August 21, 2019

If you or a loved one are injured due to the negligence or careless actions of another person, you need to understand how to recover compensation for your damages. Understanding this means discussing two options:

  • Filing a personal insurance claim
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit

Today, we want to discuss the difference between these two so you have a better understanding of your case and options. You should always speak with a qualified Georgia personal injury lawyer before moving forward with a case.

What’s the Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Lawsuit?

A personal injury claim

The first step in many personal injury cases is a personal injury claim made against the negligent party’s insurance. This is a formal request in which you (or your insurance company) ask them to compensate you for the injuries and losses you have suffered due to the incident.

When a claim is made, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to determine several factors:

  • Did their client cause the incident in question?
  • Were there injuries to the victim that resulted from the incident?
  • What were the economic and noneconomic losses the victim sustained?
  • Will there be any future losses suffered by the victim due to their injuries?

This is where it is important to understand that an attorney can be beneficial during a personal injury claim process. They will handle all of the communications and negotiations related to the case.

A personal injury lawsuit

If you and your attorney determine that the settlement offered during a claim is too low, or if a claim is denied, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit. In this case, the lawsuit will be filed directly against the at-fault party, though their insurance company’s attorney will be the one representing them in the matter. A personal injury lawsuit will either be settled before it goes to court through negotiations with the legal teams or it will go to a trial by jury.

At a trial, both sides will argue their case to a jury. The jury will be the ones to make a determination as to whether the at-fault party caused the injury. They will also be the ones to decide on the final amount to be awarded in damages.

What kind of compensation could I be entitled to?

When you have been injured due to the negligence or carelessness of another person, you could be entitled to various types of compensation. This can include both economic damages that are easily calculable as well as intangible things that are not as easy to calculate.

  • Your medical expenses related to the incident, both current and future
  • Lost wages and benefits if you cannot work due to your injuries
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of personal enjoyment damages
  • Possible punitive damages against those responsible

What are the most common personal injury cases?

Personal injury claims and lawsuits arise in various ways. Some of the most common cases we see include:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
  • Workplace incidents
  • Defective products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Slip and fall incidents
  • And more

Please note that the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date the incident occurs or from the time the injury is discovered, though this varies depending on what type of injury occurred.

Posted in: Personal Injury

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