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The Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim & Lawsuit

February 11, 2020
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The terms of personal injury claim and personal injury lawsuit are often used interchangeably, but while both processes involve recovering damages for those injured by an at-fault party, both have some defined differences.

A Claim Starts the Recovery Process

The recovery process starts by filing a personal injury claim, which is a claim filed with the insurance provider of the at-fault party. If the party lacks insurance, then the claim is filed with your uninsured motorist coverage. For instance, if you suffer a slip and fall due to a defect on your neighbor’s property, you would file a claim with the homeowner’s insurance provider. This is a personal injury claim. 

During the claims process, your lawyer and the insurance adjuster will exchange information and negotiate for a settlement. A personal injury claim doesn’t involve the courts. Instead, the process is limited to you, the other party, the party’s insurer, and any attorneys representing the involved parties. 

A Lawsuit Happens When Negotiations Break Down

The Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim & LawsuitWhen the negotiations process between your attorney and the insurance adjuster comes to a standstill and a settlement can’t be reached, you may have to go to court to recover your deserved compensation. This is the start of the personal injury lawsuit process -- when you take the at-fault party to court to recover damages. If your injuries and damages are severe and the insurance provider refuses to negotiate, you may even go to trial. It’s crucial that you file your lawsuit within three years of your accident, otherwise, you could be barred from obtaining compensation due to the statute of limitations.

Going to trial is usually a last resort, as it’s a very expensive process, time-consuming, and extremely emotional. Lawsuits should only be pursued when the insurance provider fails to make a reasonable settlement offer. 

An Albuquerque Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If you’re injured in Albuquerque and aim to recover damages for your injuries, working with an attorney is advised. Your attorney will be responsible for handling the claims process for you, including calculating your damages and negotiating a settlement. Many times, the insurance companies are eager to settle when they know that you’re serious about going to trial if a settlement isn’t reached. Your lawyer will make it very clear that a lawsuit is an option of the insurance provider is unwilling to provide the compensation you deserve. 

Of course, an attorney also organizes your claim and documents, gathers evidence, and can guide you through the complex legal system. While having an attorney isn’t required, hiring one can significantly improve your likelihood of recovering your full compensation. 

Albuquerque Car Accidents

Being involved in a crash can be devastating. Victims are often left with permanent injuries and other damages that can make recovering from their injuries difficult. Each year, 2 million people nationwide are permanently injured in the aftermath of a car accident.

You deserve compensation if you were injured by a reckless driver. The team of New Mexico car crash attorneys at Will Ferguson & Associates can help. Contact our offices at (505) 243-5566 to discuss your case today.

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