Claim vs. Lawsuit 

Claim vs. Lawsuit

If you were injured in a personal injury accident in Baton Rouge, LA, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. 

You may already understand the terms “claim” and “lawsuit” in a broad legal sense. However, in personal injury law, these two terms refer specifically to the two processes through which a personal injury victim can recover compensation.

Understanding the differences between a claim and a lawsuit is crucial if you’ve been involved in a personal injury accident. It’s also important to contact a seasoned Baton Rouge personal injury attorney to discuss your options.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim in Louisiana?

What Is a Personal Injury Claim in Louisiana?

In the personal injury context, the term “claim” usually refers to filing an insurance claim. If you are injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you can file a claim against the at-fault party or their insurance company to recover compensation. This claim is usually filed with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

For instance, if you were injured in a car accident, you could file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. In Louisiana, drivers are required to have a minimum amount of liability coverage.

What Is the Personal Injury Claim Process in Louisiana?

Your attorney will likely initiate the claim process by sending a demand letter to the insurance company. It will detail who is legally responsible for the accident and the proposed value of your claim. 

While each case is different, these are the next steps that generally occur after a claim is filed.

The Insurance Company Reviews Your Case

The insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case, who will review your claim and investigate the accident. The adjuster will determine whether the company will accept liability for the claim and the amount the claim is worth. 

The insurance Company Makes a Counteroffer

The adjuster will accept your claims, reject them, or make a counteroffer. Keep in mind that an initial offer is likely to be below the value of your claim.

You do not have to accept the initial settlement offer. First offers are typically lower than the value of the claim. An experienced attorney can be instrumental in negotiating the amount of your claim with an insurance company.

The Case Settles or Proceeds to a Lawsuit

If you agree to the settlement offer from the insurance company, you will enter into a settlement agreement. 

Settlement agreements are final, legally binding, and usually release the other party from any future claims related to the accident. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney before signing any documents or agreeing to a settlement agreement.

If you are unable to negotiate a reasonable settlement with the insurance company, you will need to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation for your injuries.

What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Louisiana?

A personal injury lawsuit is a legal action filed in a civil court to recover compensation for injuries and losses sustained in an accident. The injured party initiating the case is the plaintiff. The at-fault party is the defendant. The insurance company will usually hire an attorney to defend the defendant. 

What Is the Personal Injury Lawsuit Process in Louisiana?

Once your lawsuit is filed in court, the parties exchange discovery, providing information and evidence about the case. The parties may also file motions to restrict certain evidence or to require the other party to hand over evidence to the other side.

The parties may also be required to attend mediation, and many cases settle as a result. 

If your case does not settle during the discovery phase or at mediation, then it will proceed to the trial phase. 

As the plaintiff, you will have the burden to prove “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the defendant caused your injuries. This means you must present enough evidence to convince the jury that there’s more than a 50% chance that the defendant caused the accident or injury.

Should I Accept a Settlement for a Personal Injury Claim or File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Accepting a settlement offer during the claim process may resolve your case faster and reduce costs related to going to trial. Further, jury trials can be unpredictable; sometimes, accepting a settlement offer is the best option. 

On the other hand, filing a lawsuit can have several benefits. For instance, it may give you more leverage against the insurance company to negotiate a higher settlement and help you obtain more compensation.

Whether you should resolve your case through the claim process or a lawsuit will depend on the facts of your case.

A Baton Rouge Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help with a Claim or Lawsuit 

Deciding whether to accept an insurance company’s settlement offer or file a personal injury lawsuit can be a tough decision. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate these decisions and give you peace of mind regarding your case.

Contact Palmintier Law Group at (225) 344 3735 to schedule a free consultation with our Baton Rouge personal injury attorney.