After getting injured in a personal injury accident, the victim usually has two options to recover compensation. These are filing a compensation claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company and filing a lawsuit against the insurance company. Even though these terms are used interchangeably, they are significantly different and have different consequences.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
This is a negotiation and settlement process that usually does not involve the courts. It begins by sending a formal request or a demand letter to the insurance company. The victim or the injured person tries to reach a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
A personal injury lawsuit is a civil lawsuit that involves the courts. A lawsuit, commonly known as a case, is filed against the at-fault party and/or their insurance company. The parties may still try to reach a settlement while the case is being litigated, and if no settlement is reached, the decision made by the judge will prevail.
Parties involved in a personal injury lawsuit have greater control over the resolution process in a private settlement with the insurance company. They can decide the date, time, and duration of the settlement process. However, once the matter reaches the courts, all decisions made by the judge become binding. Most victims try to settle the matter through negotiation with the insurance companies before approaching the court.
Filing a Claim With the Insurance Company
After suffering injuries, it is important to make a personal injury claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company. A claim is a notice to the insurance company informing them that their insured party caused your injuries and is liable for compensation.
Many insurance companies require the victims to file a claim within a “reasonable amount of time.” Others may require you to submit a claim within 24-48 hours. During this process, the victim should try to contact an Indiana personal injury attorney.
After an initial notice is given to the insurance company by the victim, the personal injury lawyer will send a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter contains all the related information including how the accident happened, the injuries and damage caused, and the compensation claimed by the victim.
Insurance companies are seasoned negotiators and deal with such cases regularly. They know how to convince the victim to accept a lesser settlement. They even know the statements that they should take from the victim to reduce their liability. Therefore, it is advisable to hire a personal injury attorney before directly speaking with the at-fault person’s insurance company.
A lawyer can also help secure the maximum compensation possible in negotiations with the insurance company.
Types of Damages
Victims of personal injury accidents can recover the following types of compensation:
These include hospital expenses, medical expenses, and expenses for related therapies, x-rays, tests, and out-of-pocket expenses.
Lost Income and Wages
The victim can claim compensation for the income lost due to the inability to go to work after the accident.
Loss of Future Earnings
If the victim suffers injuries that impact their future ability to earn, he or she may be able to get compensation for the same.
Temporary or Permanent Disability
The victim can also make claims for any temporary or permanent disability resulting from the accident.
Pain and Suffering
This includes compensation for the pain, emotional and mental stress, anxiety, fear, or related conditions resulting from the accident.
In rare circumstances and in cases of extreme negligence, the court may award punitive damages.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help?
The victim may choose to either file a personal injury claim with the insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit in court. In both circumstances, it is advisable to hire a personal injury attorney to ensure that justice is served.
A personal injury attorney can negotiate with the insurance company and guide the victim about what statements to make and avoid, the rightful compensation to be claimed, and when to accept a settlement offer. In a personal injury lawsuit, a lawyer can represent the victim after evaluating and collecting all of the supporting evidence and make strong arguments that strengthen a victim’s case. A lawyer will know what the at-fault party’s weak points are under the law.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, contact Stewart & Stewart today. We offer a free consultation to the victims of personal injury accidents and work with them to ensure that they get the justice they deserve.