What’s the Difference Between an Injury Lawsuit and an Insurance Claim?
If you have been injured due to the negligent behavior of someone else, you may be able to receive compensation for the consequences of the injuries that you have sustained. There are two traditional paths to achieving compensation when you are negligently injured: an insurance claim and a personal injury lawsuit.
An insurance claim and an injury lawsuit are both means of remedying a wrong that caused damages to a person or property. The key difference is that an insurance claim is filed with an insurance company outside of court to get the victim’s damages paid through an insurance policy, while a lawsuit is filed in court against the at-fault party to get the victim’s damages paid by the at-fault party. A lawsuit is an excellent option in cases where insurance claims and settlement negotiations cannot bring both sides to agree on the damages and payments.
Whether you are involved in negotiations with an insurance company about your claim or you are contemplating bringing your case to court, the experienced Arlington personal injury attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. can help. You deserve our fierce, tireless advocacy so that you get paid what you deserve. Call us for a consultation at (817) 476-1797.
What is an Insurance Claim?
An insurance claim is your case with an insurance company to recover money that you are owed as a result of a policy held with that insurance company. Most likely, the insurance company is the insurer of a party who negligently caused an accident that caused you some injury, either to your person or your property.
Insurance claims are made against whichever of the insurance company’s policy covers the particular cause of the injuries.
For instance, if you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, your insurance claim might be against the automobile insurance policy held by the other driver. If you were injured on someone else’s personal property due to their inability to reasonably ensure your safety, your claim might be against their homeowner’s insurance policy. If you were injured while on the property of a store or restaurant, the business may have a professional liability insurance policy which would cover your claim.
Once a claim is filed, representatives of the insurance company will investigate the nature of the claim. They may contact you for information about the incident or ask you to make statements about what happened. They could also offer you a settlement wherein they agree to pay some portion but not all of your claim.
You should always have an attorney available to you when engaging with the insurance company. An attorney can negotiate your claim or settlement on your behalf and help you avoid making statements that the insurance company can use against you in a potential personal injury lawsuit. Speak to our Houston personal injury attorneys today about your options.
What is an Injury Lawsuit?
If you are unable to come to terms with the insurance company, you may choose to pursue compensation for the damages you sustained in court. In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party will be successful where they can prove that the negligence of the other party caused their monetarily quantifiable injuries.
A personal injury lawsuit can last months or even longer in some cases. Insurance companies know that many people who might have a case don’t have the stomach or the financial stability to forgo an upfront cash settlement in hopes of a much larger payout farther down the road, which is why their offers to settle the claim will often be lower.
However, a personal injury lawsuit may be settled at any point, even after it is filed, right up until the court issues a verdict (or a decision) on the case. Filing your claim can be a signal to the insurance company that you are taking your claim seriously and that you are prepared for a long, drawn-out battle, even if you are unsure. Many insurance companies will offer an improved settlement offer immediately before a trial is set to begin, also known as a “courthouse steps” settlement. Remember, a court case is expensive for insurance companies as well.
Positives and Negatives of Insurance Claims vs. Injury Lawsuits
If the insurance company accepts your claim or you accept their settlement offer, you will recover at least some compensation for your damages, guaranteed. The same cannot be said for a court of law, where a negative decision outcome can leave you high and dry. This option is attractive to some people who get a reasonable settlement offer and need the cash up front to deal with the consequences of their injuries. Court can also be mentally and emotionally stressful for many people who are not used to that type of environment. With all that is likely going on, it’s understandable that you might choose to avoid such a scenario.
If you accept an insurance claim settlement, however, you should know that you are voluntarily giving up at least some of the value that you might be owed. Insurance companies are not in the business of helping you. They are in the business of making money, and they want their liability to disappear as quickly and painlessly as possible. If what you are being offered is simply not enough to support you through your injury, you should strongly consider speaking with an attorney about bringing your case to trial.
Claimants who take their case to trial on average recover twice as much as a result, whether through settlement or a court’s ultimate determination. Claimants who hire attorneys also recover significantly more in terms of claims, settlements, and decisions. You should always have legal counsel at every step of the process. Many attorneys work on a contingency basis, which is paid out at the conclusion of the matter and depends on how much you end up winning. If you are concerned about your ability to afford legal counsel, talk to our attorneys about alternative fee structures which would allow you to get help now without worrying about legal costs.
Deciding to File an Insurance Claim or an Injury Lawsuit? Call Our Attorneys for Help
The Odessa personal injury attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. have been battling insurance companies in boardrooms and courtrooms for years, and we know what it takes to get you the cash that you deserve for your injury. Call us today at (817) 476-1797 so we can speak with you about your options.