Difference between a Personal Injury Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal injury is a legal term used when someone suffers bodily and/or emotional harm as a result of someone else’s negligence. The injured person seeks compensation for the damages suffered either through a personal injury claim or a lawsuit.

What is a personal injury claim?

Most cases are handled by filing a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company – auto insurer, homeowners insurance, etc. The claimant submits documentation to show the company’s insured was responsible for the accident and injuries. This is based on negligence, which could include actions such as driving through a red light at a busy Denver intersection, not maintaining a safe property, and much more.

To show fault, an injured person could submit;

  • a copy of a police report;
  • statements from witnesses;
  • photographs; and
  • anything else of relevance.

But in addition to proving fault, the injured person has to establish damages. The goal of a claim is to make the claimant financially whole again. Some of the costs sought in a claim typically include medical bills and repairs to a vehicle or other property. If the individual has missed time from work, the claimant might include documentation that shows lost income.

When the accident was serious, it will also be necessary to show the insurance company the extent and severity of the injuries. This could allow for other damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish. The goal of a personal injury claim is to receive a fair settlement.

Even if not filing a lawsuit, an injured person can obtain help from an attorney during the claims process. In fact, it’s recommended when the individual has suffered long-term or permanently disabling injuries.

What is a personal injury lawsuit?

Negotiation is a major part of the claims process when you’re dealing with an insurance company. But if it isn’t willing to offer a fair settlement or the injuries are severe, it may lead claimants to file personal injury lawsuits. While the injured person will be able to handle the claim him- or herself in many cases of minor injury, a lawsuit will likely necessitate legal representation.

However, even during the various stages of a lawsuit it is possible to reach an agreement out of court. So it may not have to go all the way to trial. The attorney will usually work hard on the client’s behalf to avoid having to go to trial.

There may be more work, time and effort that goes into a lawsuit. The client will first meet with the attorney to discuss the case. If the attorney decides to take it, a complaint is filed. In Colorado, county courts handle cases under $15,000, whereas a district court handles cases in any amount.

After the lawsuit has been filed, the discovery phase begins. This is where facts of the case are established and evidence is gathered. Negotiations typically take place before the trial.

A lot of lawsuits don’t go to trial. But if yours does, the proceedings will include testimony, presentation of evidence, arguments from both sides, and eventually a judgment.

Not sure how to pursue your case? Call D.J. Banovitz

D.J. Banovitz helps Denver residents and those in nearby communities pursue personal injury claims as well as lawsuits. He provides legal representation for a variety of types of cases from motor vehicle accidents to bicycle accidents to premises liability cases. Discuss the details of your case in greater detail: (303) 300-5060.

D.J. Banovitz’ career has always concentrated on trial practice and he has litigated hundreds of cases. His passion and sole career focus has been to seek justice for people suffering from personal injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence. The hallmark of the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz, is the total commitment to professionalism, quality, and personalized care of your injury case. D.J. has dedicated his professional life to helping those most in need and is a proud and active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. His experience includes volunteering for Colorado Rural Legal Services in Montrose, the Colorado Aids Project, consumer law, family law, criminal defense, and Alternative Defense Counsel for juveniles in Denver.