Injuries like car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, defective products, medical errors come unannounced and can turn your life topsy turvy. You may suffer severe emotional and physical pain that can take days to recover. In such cases, you have the right to expect fair compensation for your losses.
Following an unfortunate accident, you need to take a critical step, pursuing the compensation you rightfully deserve. And, choosing between a claim and litigation is perhaps the first decision to make.
As opposed to making a compensation claim, litigation in a personal injury case enables your attorney to file a lawsuit against the at-fault entity to achieve the desired outcome. When contemplating between filing a claim to negotiating a settlement or filing a lawsuit, it’s essential to understand which course of action is favorable for your case.
Difference between a Claim and Litigation
Making a personal injury claim and filing litigation are two distinct ways of seeking compensation for the damages you sustain during an accident.
Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury claim is typically initiated between you and the insurance providers, such as auto insurance, business liability insurance, or malpractice insurance. You can enlist lawyers’ support to initiate the claims process and enter into a series of negotiations between you and the insurance adjusters.
Once you make a demand for a claim, insurance adjusters always try to minimize compensation, and you may give in to the first offer you receive. However, it’s critical to work with personal defense lawyers who can suggest the best course of action to maximize your compensation and help you navigate the cumbersome negotiations.
Personal Injury Litigation
If negotiation is hampered and you cannot reach a fair settlement, you can file personal injury litigation or lawsuit. There are several reasons why negotiation failures may occur. It can happen if the insurance adjusters deny the fault of their insured parties or don’t concur with the severity of injuries or the amount of compensation you are claiming.
In simple words, if the claim’s negotiation process frazzles or hits a roadblock, the best recourse is personal injury litigation.
Weighing Your Options of Making Claims vs. Lawsuit
When considering to opt for a settlement or file a lawsuit, it’s recommended to make a careful assessment of all options. The insurance company often makes a settlement based on expectations of the probable outcome of a court ruling.
However, in some cases, if you take the case to trial, it can favor you with a large ruling. It depends on how strong your case is and how substantial your evidence is to prove that the defendant is at fault.
On the flip side, a personal injury lawsuit can also end up with a much lower court verdict than the settlement you were offered in the first place. Therefore, it’s best to carefully consider the options and seek legal advice from personal defense lawyers who have the best knowledge and experience of identifying the merits of the case.
Most lawyers offer a risk-free proposition and do not take upfront fees for personal injury cases unless you win the case. As such, the option for making a compromise or opting for litigation ultimately depends on a careful assessment of financial benefits and the inherent risks and rewards involved in taking the trial route.
Besides, during personal injury litigation, you can still try for arbitration even after settlement negotiations fail in the initial steps. During the arbitration process, a neutral arbitrator or mediator is often involved in listening to both sides and coming up with the final decision.
Make a smart decision after weighing the risks of either option. Most importantly, consult with a qualified lawyer who might be in the best position to let you decipher whether your settlement offer is fair or proceed with your right to sue based on the prevalent statute of limitations for personal injury cases.