What Is the Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Lawsuit? 

 March 9, 2015

By  LMW Attorneys

Being in an accident that results in bodily injury can be a traumatic event. Depending on the specifics of your situation and the severity of your injuries, you could be dealing with both pain and financial uncertainty. You may be wondering, “How am I going to pay for my medical bills without any incoming wages? Is the other person responsible for my injuries?” If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may have the option to make a personal injury claim or file a personal injury lawsuit. But which should you choose? Find out the difference between the two and which one is the best option for your situation, here:

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

When making a personal injury claim, you are seeking compensation for damages you sustained as a result of someone’s negligence. Damages could be personal injuries, pain and suffering, or even lost wages from being unable to work as a result of the accident. An experienced attorney will negotiate with the other individual’s insurance company to attempt to garner compensation for the following:

  • Medical treatment
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

While every case will differ, your attorney will likely review your medical charts, bills, talk to witnesses, and review the scene of the accident in an attempt to garner compensation. Florida has “no fault” insurance laws for car accidents, meaning that no matter who is at fault, all parties in the accident will have their respective insurances cover medical and income loss damages. The only exception is if the at fault driver’s negligence leading up to the accident resulted in a permanent injury, death, dismemberment, or loss of major bodily function.

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If the claim negotiations are unsuccessful, the next option is a lawsuit. In a lawsuit, your attorney will need to prove that the at fault person’s negligence caused your injuries to be significant enough to warrant compensation. Lawsuits are recommended for those involved in severe accidents that resulted in permanent injury, death, dismemberment, or loss of major bodily function. If your injury in the case does not meet these criteria, it could be dismissed.

Personal Injury Claim vs. Personal Injury Lawsuit, Which Is Right For Me?

For minor injuries, the best option is to make a personal injury claim. Even if the insurance company does not give you as much as you wanted, it is recommended that you do not pursue a lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit can be filed anytime, but they are mostly recommended as a last resort for those who received minor injuries from their accident.

Your injuries also have to reach a certain threshold to be admitted to court. Filing personal injury lawsuits is recommended for those involved in severe accidents, which need to meet a certain criteria. In any case, make sure to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss all of your options.

Lawsuits carry risks. Under some circumstances the person bringing the lawsuit will be required to pay the other side’s attorney fees and costs. This can happen if the court dismisses the lawsuit, a jury finds no liability, or even when a jury gives the injured person a verdict, but it is less than a previous offer to settle by the defendant. That is why attorneys try hard to settle cases before they recommend that a lawsuit be filed.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins for a Free Consultation

If you were not at fault, you may think it will be easy to reach settlement with an insurance company. But, remember the insurance company’s role is not to pay you, it is to make a profit for its shareholders. The lawyers at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins have extensive knowledge of the law and can effectively communicate with insurance companies. In doing so, they can ensure you receive fair compensation. Contact us today to learn more about LMW Attorneys or click here for free consultation.