Claim vs. Lawsuit: What’s the Difference?

You will commonly see the terms “claim” and “lawsuit” when researching the area of personal injury. In many cases, you will see these terms are used interchangeably. While they might be similar, claims and lawsuits are different forms of legal action. 

If you are curious about whether a claim or a lawsuit is appropriate for your case, speak to an experienced attorney who can help. 

What is a Lawsuit? 

What is a Claim

When claim negotiations fail, the next step is usually a lawsuit. To be successful in a lawsuit, you will have to demonstrate that the defendant caused your injuries and you are entitled to money damages. You will also need to prove the extent of your financial and emotional losses due to the accident. 

Lawsuits take power away from insurance companies and put it in the hands of a judge or jury.  

Why You Should or Shouldn’t File a Lawsuit 

In many cases, people file both a claim and a lawsuit after an accident injury. The lawsuit typically happens once insurance claim negotiations break down. Sometimes, it is necessary to skip the claims process altogether and go straight to a lawsuit in court. 

Some reasons for filing a lawsuit over a claim include:

  • You would rather trust a judge or jury over an insurance company
  • You could be awarded higher damages
  • You may be eligible for non-economic and punitive damages

There are also some situations where a claim is more appropriate than a lawsuit, such as:

  • Your costs and expenses will likely be higher in a lawsuit
  • You don’t know what the final outcome will be in court
  • Your case will take longer and might be more stressful

Insurance companies are under no obligation to work with you if you file a claim. If you file a lawsuit, they are required to answer and defend themselves. It is important that you understand the difference between a claim and a lawsuit so you can properly decide what to do with your case.

What is a Claim? 

In many cases, people file a claim after they are injured in an accident, especially motor vehicle accidents. A claim is a demand from the injury victim to the responsible party’s insurance company for compensation related to the accident. Insurance claims typically end up as out-of-court negotiations with the insurance company.

When making a claim, you will often deal with the insurance company’s adjusters, attorneys, and/or other people acting on behalf of the insurance company. The insurance adjuster’s role is to investigate the facts and circumstances of your claim and determine what level of compensation you deserve. 

Why You Should or Shouldn’t File a Claim

Usually, people file insurance claims when the facts and circumstances in an accident case are straightforward. If an insurance company does not try to skirt liability, you may get just compensation.

A claim may be preferable over a lawsuit for many reasons, including:

  • Saving on court fees and costs
  • Saving on attorney fees
  • Saving time and stress

However, a lawsuit may be a better option in other situations for various reasons, including:

  • Lawsuits force insurance companies to react quickly
  • Put pressure on negotiations
  • When you want your case decided by a judge, not the insurance company

Sometimes, an insurance claim is all that is necessary to recover your expenses after an accident. In other cases, a lawsuit is necessary. 

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help You Decide What to Do 

It is common to have several questions about what you should do if you are involved in an accident. 

An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in many ways, including:

  • Putting a dollar value on your case
  • Negotiating to get your maximum compensation
  • Litigating to ensure your case is presented properly

An experienced attorney can help you recover all the compensation you deserve after an accident. If you have questions about your personal injury case, then give us a call at Catania & Catania, P.A for help!

If you have suffered an injury in an accident, then it is common to wonder if you should file a claim or lawsuit. If you want answers about what your next steps should be, then contact us for a free consultation. To schedule your consultation with one of our experienced Tampa personal injury lawyers, call us or contact us online today.