If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be wondering what the next step is. Our personal injury attorneys realize that navigating the legal and insurance process can be daunting.
Unless you’ve been through the injury claim or case process in the past, the legal vocabulary can be difficult to navigate.
Many of the questions we receive from our clients include:
- What is a personal injury claim?
- What’s the difference between a claim and a case?
- What is a settlement?
- What is a verdict?
In this blog post, we will explain what personal injury claims are along with some of the key steps in the personal injury case process.
What is the Difference Between Personal Injury Claims vs. Cases?
What is a Personal Injury Case?
The nomenclature can be a little different depending on who you speak to. We often refer to a “case” as when a client seeks legal representation in the process of filing a claim and/or seeking legal recourse with their insurance company.
Some firms may use “case” or “legal case” interchangeably with “lawsuit.” From a technical standpoint, your case doesn’t become a lawsuit until a personal injury attorney files a lawsuit against an insurance company.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
Filing a claim with the insurance company is the initial step car accident victims take toward seeking compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and damage to their vehicle that were a direct result of the accident.
An insurance claim is the report submitted to an insurance provider after an accident. A claim may be filed with the at-fault insurance company, your own insurance company, or both. When a claim is reported, they often ask for the details and circumstances surrounding the event of the accident and for information about the extent of the injuries you incurred.
The claims process can vary depending on the insurance company involved. If you have claims with your own car insurance provider, the type of claims may vary depending on the coverage or insurance you have purchased. Insurance companies assign each claim a claim number, which is open from the moment they take record of it.
Note: In general, we recommend that you do not speak to a claims adjuster and/or open an insurance claim without consulting with a personal injury attorney first. Here are some other tips on How To Talk To Insurance Claims Adjusters in Your Injury Case.
What’s the Difference Between a Settlement and a Verdict?
Cases will typically end in one of two ways:
Settlements require all parties involved to agree on a specified payout amount. The settlement process involves your lawyer communicating with the insurance company to negotiate what is fair and reasonable compensation for the economic and non-economic losses related to your claim or case. Settlements can occur before a lawsuit is filed or after. Settlements after a lawsuit has been filed are often times reached through a mediation process.
Keep in mind: Insurance claims adjusters’ primary goal is to lower or diminish the value of your claim by any legal means possible.
At GBM Law, our experienced personal injury attorneys can work with you and advise you on whether the settlement the insurance company offers you is reasonable or not.
Unlike some personal injury law firms, our attorneys at GBM Law work off of a contingency fee-based structure. We will not take a dime for any legal services rendered unless we are able to recover a settlement in your case.
Contact our law office today for a free case review.
When parties cannot agree on a settlement offer, the case will go to trial. There, a jury or judge will determine the outcome of the case and payout amount to the claimant (and possibly other issues, such as who was at fault or negligent, etc.). That final determination of a case is known as a verdict.
Many personal injury law firms strongly prefer reaching a settlement to avoid litigation at all costs. This is due to the fact that many firms lack litigation and trial experience in pursuing insurance companies in court.
Our attorneys have decades of experience in not only successfully reaching settlement agreements outside of court, but also in taking insurance companies to trial on behalf of our clients when necessary.
In fact, The National Trial Lawyers (an invite-only organization of premier trial lawyers) lists GBM Law as one of its top-100 trial law firms.
Contact GBM Law Today
If you have any more questions about the terminology used in personal injury law, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at GBM Law for more information.