You know how all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares? This is like claims and lawsuits. All lawsuits are based on claims, but not all claims become lawsuits. A lot of people confuse these two terms, but they are very different.
It is important that you can make a distinction between filing a personal injury claim and a lawsuit that is heard in court. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help with claims and lawsuits.
What Is a Claim?
In the context of personal injury cases, a claim is the legal basis for which you can recover compensation. For example, you may have been injured in a car accident or slip and fall. When someone else’s negligence harms you, you can seek compensation.
Most claims are resolved through a settlement with the insurance company that provides liability coverage for the defendant. Personal injury lawyers can prepare claims for settlement or a lawsuit.
What Is a Lawsuit?
Contrary to a claim, a lawsuit involves filing a formal complaint in court, demanding compensation for the injuries you suffered. The case could end in a trial, where a judge or jury makes a determination of fault and how much compensation to award the plaintiff, if any.
Trials are complicated, and personal injury lawyers can help. However, personal injury lawyers might first try to settle the claim through an insurance settlement before filing a complaint in court.
Benefits of Settlements
There are many potential benefits to settling a claim, including:
- Lower court costs and legal fees
- Certainty in the case about how it is resolved
- Faster compensation
Texas law requires insurers to provide a settlement check to claimants within five business days of agreeing to a settlement.
Drawbacks of Settlements
While there are benefits of settlements, there are also drawbacks, including:
- Delays in recovering compensation for your claim
- Lower potential overall compensation for your claim
- No admission of fault
An experienced personal injury lawyer can review your particular situation and explain whether a settlement or lawsuit is the best way to resolve your case.
Benefits of Personal Injury Lawsuits
There are some benefits of personal injury lawsuits, the most important one being the potential to recover more compensation.
Texas law allows accident victims to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of income, wages, or earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental or emotional pain or anguish
- Physical impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Filing a lawsuit is also the only way to recover punitive damages for a personal injury claim. These damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future. They are reserved for cases involving harm caused from fraud, malice, or gross negligence. Insurance companies are unlikely to offer these damages in any settlement offer.
Additionally, filing a personal injury lawsuit can help draw attention to the defendant’s wrongful actions and provide a greater sense of accountability.
Drawbacks of Personal Injury Lawsuits
There are several important drawbacks involved in lawsuits that must be carefully considered, including:
- A court case can dramatically increase your legal expenses.
- You are not certain of the outcome. The judge or jury could rule in the defendant’s favor.
- Court cases take much longer to resolve than settlements.
Because lawsuits can take some time to resolve, you may be facing an uncertain future and may not know how to deal with the emotional and financial setbacks caused by an injury.
How a San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
The vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved through a settlement with the insurance company. However, lawsuits are sometimes necessary to show you are serious about the case or when the insurance company denies your claim or does not offer a fair settlement offer. Whether your case is ultimately resolved through an insurance claim or a lawsuit, a personal injury lawyer can help.
A lawyer can review your specific case to determine the best path forward. They can conduct an investigation and gather evidence to establish fault and identify all possible options for financial recovery. They can prepare your claim so that you demand the maximum compensation available for it and handle negotiations with insurance companies. If necessary, they can represent you in court.
If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, you should not have to deal with this process alone. The legal system can be confusing and difficult to navigate. George Salinas Injury Lawyers can help with claims and lawsuits stemming from personal injuries. Contact us today at (210) 225-0909 to take advantage of a free, no-obligation case review where you can learn more about your legal rights and options.