Sometimes you may hear the phrases “personal injury claim” and “personal injury lawsuit” used interchangeably. However, the two are actually quite different. A personal injury claim typically involves you and your attorney and the insurance company for the at-fault party working out a settlement for your injuries and losses. A personal injury lawsuit, on the other hand, involves taking the responsible party to court when the insurance company for the at-fault party wrongfully denies your claim or refuses to pay reasonable compensation for your injuries and losses.
What is a personal injury insurance claim?
One of the first things you should do after a car accident, or any other type of accident, is submit a claim to the insurance company for the at-fault party. In most cases, it is best to retain an attorney who can set up a claim on your behalf and gather the necessary documentation to support your claim. Depending on the specifics of your accident and injuries, a claim may also be filed with your insurance company to recover additional compensation, such as medical payments coverage or underinsured coverage.
Once a claim is filed, the insurance company launches an investigation on what happened, who was responsible, and the extent of your injuries or property damage. The insurance adjuster also reviews the applicable police report, witness statements, your medical records and lost wage documentation. From this information, the adjuster calculates your economic and non-economic damages, as well as any future financial needs from your injuries.
The adjuster may also pressure you to make a statement about the accident and your injuries. It is not in your best interest to give any statement to the insurance company until you have retained legal counsel. Remember, an adjuster works for insurance company, and not for you. An experienced personal injury attorney can talk to the adjuster on your behalf to protect your right to compensation.
What is a personal injury lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is a legal action you file against the person or entity that caused or was responsible for your accident. If you can’t come to a satisfactory agreement or settlement with the insurance company, a lawsuit helps secure the necessary compensation for your injuries and losses.
You may want to file a personal injury lawsuit if:
- The insurance company denied your claim
- The insurance company refused to offer a fair settlement
- Negotiations with the insurance company have shut down
- Your damages exceed the maximum reimbursement amount of the other driver’s insurance
Lawsuits are more complex than insurance claims, as you and your attorney must prove to a judge and/or jury that the other party’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. Typically, after filing a lawsuit, the attorneys for the parties will try to negotiate a mutually-agreeable settlement. If this does not work, then the case will go to trial.
Types of compensation from a personal injury action
Whenever you are injured due to the negligence of another, you are eligible for several forms of compensation. These include, among others:
- Medical bills, past and future
- Lost wages, past and future
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent impairment
- Punitive damages (in some cases)
At Warren & Kallianos, PLLC, our personal injury attorneys protect your right to compensation after an accident. Look to us for informed guidance before you make any statements or sign anything from the insurance company. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation in our Charlotte office. Call us at 704-377-7777 or complete a contact form at your convenience.