If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. The two primary ways to obtain this compensation are through a claim or a lawsuit. These are two separate legal processes that both have advantages and disadvantages.
A personal injury lawsuit is a legal action taken in court against the individual or entity responsible for the injury. The formal process will require you to establish that the defendant was negligent and that the negligence caused the damage.
On the other hand, a personal injury claim is typically a request made to an insurance company to receive compensation for the damages suffered in an accident. The process will involve engaging with an insurance provider, and you must provide evidence to obtain a settlement out of court.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
When you file an insurance claim, you must show that the other party was responsible for the accident and that you suffered damages. This can include medical bills, lost income, and other expenses.
If the insurance company rejects your claim, you can still pursue legal action to receive compensation.
When negotiating a settlement, avoid accepting the first offer given by the insurance company. Instead, let your lawyer review the offer and give their opinion. Your lawyer may also present additional evidence to support your claim, such as expert testimony. This can help to bolster your case and increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement.
Pros of a Personal Injury Claim
One of the main benefits of this option is that it can save you a considerable amount of time and money. If you negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, you can skip the hassle of going to court and dealing with a lengthy legal process.
Cons of a Personal Injury Claim
One of the primary negatives of a personal injury claim is the possibility of the insurer delaying the process or offering a low settlement amount. There are cases where insurers will go to great lengths to evade paying compensation, or they’ll attempt to minimize the payment as much as possible.
This can leave you in a precarious financial situation, especially if you’ve had to cover medical expenses and other costs related to your injury. The settlement amount may not cover all your damages, such as lost wages, emotional distress, or pain and suffering.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If a settlement cannot be reached, a personal injury lawyer can help the injured party file a lawsuit against the responsible party. To start a personal injury lawsuit, the first step is to find an experienced personal injury lawyer.
The lawyer will review your case and determine if you have a valid lawsuit. The next step is to file a complaint in the court system. The complaint will outline your case and set out the damages you are seeking. The defendant will then have a chance to respond to your complaint.
After the complaint and response process, the parties will go through a discovery process where evidence is collected and shared. This may include depositions, documents, and expert witness opinions. After discovery, the parties may try to settle the case outside of court. If a settlement is not reached, a trial will be scheduled.
During a personal injury trial, both parties present their evidence and arguments to a judge and/or jury. The judge and/or jury will determine the fault and damages. If the defendant is found at fault, they will be responsible for paying the determined damages.
Pros of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
One advantage over an out-of-court settlement is that a lawsuit provides an objective, neutral party to hear and decide the case. This neutral party can be a judge or jury who will review the evidence and determine who is at fault and what damages should be awarded.
This can be especially helpful if you are dealing with an insurance company that may be less willing to award you the compensation you deserve.
Another advantage of a personal injury lawsuit is the possibility of being awarded higher compensation for damages. Punitive damages may be awarded in cases of extreme negligence. This can be an essential consideration if you have suffered significant physical or emotional damage as a result of your injury.
Cons of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
One potential downside is that taking formal legal action can be expensive, and there is no assurance of an outcome. Your lawyer will likely charge a contingency fee, meaning they take a portion of your winnings at the conclusion of the trial. Many lawyers charge a higher percentage for cases that go to trial than those that settle out of court.
Additionally, trials almost always take longer than settling a case out of court, which means you could be on your own for medical costs and other expenses for quite a while. This can be problematic if you have severe injuries and can’t return to work anytime soon.
A St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You With Your Claim or Lawsuit
Most personal injury cases start as a claim. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, your attorney may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit and taking the case to court. Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney from Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys by calling (727) 933-0015 for help evaluating your legal options.