Legal Claims vs. Lawsuits: What’s the Difference?

Denver Personal Injury Lawyers

For those who have been injured in Colorado motor vehicle accidents, slip, and fall accidents, ski crashes, or other such incidents, there are two different routes of recovery available.

Each of these avenues may provide the injured victim with the compensation needed to pay for medical bills and other expenses related to the accident. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods which should be carefully considered.

Filing a Legal Claim with the Insurance Company

The first option is to file a legal claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Once a claim with the insurance company has been filed, the accident victim may negotiate a settlement that provides adequate compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses that stem from the incident.

Sometimes, you file a claim with the insurance company but are unable to settle the claim for what you believe is a fair amount. The adjuster may continually argue that the claim is not worth what the victims believe it is worth. At this point, you will need to discuss with your attorney whether you are willing to settle the claim or whether you want to file a lawsuit instead.

Filing a Lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit often becomes necessary if the insurance company refuses to settle a claim for a reasonable amount.

First, a personal injury attorney files the lawsuit on behalf of the injured victim. The lawsuit is then served on the opposing party, and the parties subsequently enter the discovery phase.

Most personal injury cases need to get through the discovery phase before it is possible to settle a claim. During discovery, the parties exchange evidence, such as medical bills, eyewitness accounts, accident reports, and other documents or items that are needed to fully evaluate the claim. 

Most cases that enter litigation settle without the need for a jury trial.

A major disadvantage of litigation is that it is a very expensive process. Consulting with expert witnesses, taking depositions, copying evidence, and numerous other steps may cost thousands of dollars.

Another disadvantage of litigation is that it may take much longer to finalize a claim, especially if a trial is necessary. Many court dockets have heavy loads. It may be months before a trial can be scheduled.

Additionally, there is always the risk of going to trial and obtaining a defense verdict or a verdict that is smaller than the insurance company’s offer.

Litigation has advantages, however. Once a lawsuit is filed, the parties have subpoena power, making some necessary evidence obtainable.

Further, if an adjuster was not fairly evaluating the claim, other individuals may join the process of evaluating the damages in the case once a lawsuit has been filed. This may result in a fair settlement for the victim’s injuries.

There is also the possibility that a jury will award an accident victim more than the insurance company offered to pay.

An experienced Denver personal injury attorney at Donaldson Law, LLC can help accident victims with both routes and advise them accordingly. Whether the claim is settled with the insurance company or must go to trial, these attorneys are able to ensure that their clients’ legal rights remain protected throughout the case and that they receive the best results possible.

If You Have Been Injured, Contact Donaldson Law, LLC

Attorney Jennifer Donaldson represents injured clients throughout the Denver area and is experienced in both negotiating with insurance companies and advocating for victims in the courtroom. To schedule a free consultation with our firm, contact us at 303-458-5000.

Filed Under: Denver Personal Injury Attorney