You might have heard the terms “personal injury claim” and “lawsuit” before. Maybe you hear people use them interchangeably. Are they truly the same, though?

We will talk about both of those terms in detail. If you ever need to file a lawsuit or pursue a personal injury claim, you should know their similarities and differences.

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

Personal Injury Claim

Navigating the complexities of legal claims with a lawyer by your side isn’t always easy, but sometimes, you have little choice. You find you’re in a position where you must seek justice, and the court system can provide it.

A personal injury is what the legal system calls a tort. Personal injury that someone else caused often means an accident that harmed a victim because of negligence. Sometimes, personal injury also results when someone does something intentionally. The legal system considers that more serious.

With personal injury claims, the party that causes injury, whether intentionally or unintentionally, might have to pay damages under the law. The personal injury claim is the legal action the injured party takes seeking justice following the injury or illness.

What About Lawsuits?

A lawsuit is a dispute or claims someone brings to a court so the court system can adjudicate it. The person might bring a lawsuit against another individual or an entity like a business. They may bring a lawsuit against an entire city, state, or country, in some instances.

Are Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits the Same Thing?

Personal injury claims and lawsuits are in the same ballpark, but the law does not consider them the same. Personal injury claims are legal demands for the compensation you make when someone harms you or makes you ill. If you approach an insurance company and ask for payment following an accident or incident where someone harmed you, that’s a personal injury claim.

Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits

A lawsuit is a legal action that a court decides on your behalf. They typically involve one party that the courts call the plaintiff. They also involve the other party, called the defendant. The plaintiff claims the defendant caused their injury or illness.

In short, the two terms don’t mean precisely the same thing, but some laypeople use them interchangeably. If you talk with someone who knows personal injury law, though, they can usually set you straight. They know the legal difference between these two terms, and they can explain it to you.

Lawsuit Details

With personal injury lawsuits, you, as the injured party, would assert your position in court in writing. In most instances, you’ll hire a lawyer who can argue your legal standing and why you should receive compensation.

You will also gather the evidence you’ll present to the judge and jury. You collect this evidence through the discovery process. The court supervises this process to make sure everything is above board.

You can file motions with the court during this process, or your lawyer will do it for you. Motions sometimes make your case more compelling. The defendant might file countermotions that support their position and weaken yours.

If the defendant and plaintiff can’t settle out of court, you must participate in at least one courtroom appearance, called a hearing. Hearings help determine who’s at fault.

Claim Details

Claim Details

The claims process starts when you send an insurance company what the legal system calls a demand letter. They can respond and acknowledge your claim by saying they’ll pay it. They can also reject the claim.

Your claim might lead to a jury verdict if the insurance provider rejects the claim, or a settlement agreement. Before you get to that point, though, you must tell the insurance company all about what happened.

You will not usually demand a specific amount. The insurance company will determine how much they should pay you based on your accident or illness.

If the insurance company completely rejects your claim, they may feel you don’t have enough evidence, and they don’t feel they should pay you based on your policy’s legal framework. If this happens, you’ll probably face the insurance company in court. You’ll hire lawyers, and so will they.

As you find out more about personal injury claims and lawsuits, you’ll see they’re similar but not quite the same. In either instance, hiring a lawyer usually becomes necessary with complex legal maneuvering.

Without a lawyer advising you, you must navigate your personal injury claim or lawsuit on your own. That’s seldom a good idea.

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