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Personal Injury Claim or File a Lawsuit: What’s The Difference?

Getting injured in a car accident that is entirely not your fault can have major consequences to you. You will be incurring hospital and medical bills. Your expenses do not stop after you are discharged from the office because your therapy will continue. So what is your best option?

Do you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or file a claim and negotiate for a settlement? A personal injury and a lawsuit are separate and distinct so you need to know which one is most applicable to your situation. Seek advice from DUI defender in Fresno to know the difference.

Difference between a Claim and Lawsuit

A personal injury claim involves you and the insurance company of the at-fault driver before a lawsuit is considered. In this stage, you negotiate with the claims adjuster of the insurance company. The end goal is a compromised settlement payment where both parties are satisfied.

When the claims negotiation breaks down and no compromise has been reached. This happens because the adjuster denies the fault of their insured or he does not agree with the severity of the injuries and the amount you are demanding.

Beginning a Personal Injury Claim

The personal injury claim commences after the injury or damage to the victim due to the negligence of another driver. To cover for the impending expenses, the victim pursues the at-fault driver, who turns the matter to his insurance company.

For you to be able to settle the case, you would need to prove that the accident was really caused by their client (the at-fault driver), that they were negligent, and the severity of the claims qualifies for a settlement. The claims adjuster investigates the facts of the case which may include”

  • Reviewing your medical charts and bills
  • Speaking with you, and any witnesses to the accident
  • Reviewing the police report
  • Going to the scene of the accident and taking photos
  • Looking over the damage to your car and estimating repair costs
  • Evaluating any otherevidence you provide

Beginning a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When a settlement cannot be reached with the claims adjuster, the lawsuit begins. Technically, you can file a lawsuit anytime for Day 1 of the accident. For minor accidents, the lawsuit is the last option. It is only resorted to when claims negotiations breaks down and other methods of resolution failed. The lawsuit expenses may include:

  • Filing fees for the petition
  • The cost to have a sheriff or constable serve your lawsuit
  • Time off from work
  • Court reporter costs for depositions, and transcripts
  • Expert medical testimony from doctors at depositions and trial
  • Copying costs for medical records, police reports, witness statements, etc.

Avoid filing a lawsuit when you are angry or indignant over the amount the insurance company is offering. It should be an objective decision. If your injuries are not severe enough, it may just be a waste of time and money. Have a

Your injury should be serious enough to merit a trial. It should have caused significant damage or limit your ability to do normal daily activities for a certain period of time. Most states follow the “Threshold Injury Doctrine.” Threshold injuries include:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement or scarring
  • Fractures
  • Loss or significant limitation of a body organ

If your injury does not fall in this category, there is a chance that your case may be dismissed. Just make sure that to get advice from a defense lawyer in Fresno CA.


The Law Office of Michael J. Aed provides high-quality legal counsel for Fresno, California, clients. Our passionate, skilled attorney fights for our clients’ rights in any type of criminal charges, no matter how big or small the case. We also represent clients who’ve been injured and handle their personal injury claims where the injuries were caused by a negligent party, such as in a car accident. Put our passionate team to work on your case.

Business Address:
2115 Kern Street Suite 370
Fresno, CA 93721


Email Address:
[email protected]


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