Our David W. Martin Accident and Injury Lawyers in South Carolina know that most people believe that partnering with an attorney about injuries caused by another person, party, or entity’s negligence is the equivalent of filing a lawsuit against the liable party.
This misnomer keeps many people from seeking legal help with personal injury claims. Some are uncomfortable with “suing” another person, typically when they believe their injuries resulted from an “accident.” Most vehicle collisions, premises liability claims, and other harmful circumstances are caused by negligence — which could be prevented.
When this is true, it is no longer an accident.
No matter who caused your injuries, it is essential to understand the difference between a South Carolina personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit so you can make informed decisions about your financial recovery options.
Here, we explain the difference.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is the initial step in seeking compensation for injuries or damages resulting from an accident or incident.
It typically starts with an injured person notifying the responsible party or insurance company of the incident and their intent to seek compensation.
In a personal injury claim, the parties involved, including insurance companies, often negotiate to reach a settlement without going to court.
Many personal injury claims are resolved through negotiations, and a settlement may be reached to compensate the injured party for their damages.
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is a formal legal action initiated by the injured party against the responsible party when a settlement cannot be reached through negotiations or when the defendant disputes liability.
To start a lawsuit:
- The plaintiff files a complaint with the court outlining the allegations, injuries, and the damages they seek.
- The lawsuit proceeds through a series of legal processes, including discovery — where both sides exchange information and evidence — pre-trial motions, and possibly a trial.
A personal injury lawsuit may lead to a court judgment determining liability and the compensation the defendant must pay if found liable.
What are the Key Differences Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit in South Carolina?
There are multiple critical differences between a personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit, including:
A personal injury claim typically precedes a lawsuit and is an informal process, while a case is a formal legal action filed in court.
Claims often involve negotiations between the parties and their insurance companies, while a lawsuit involves legal proceedings and potentially a trial.
- Legal Process
A lawsuit follows specific and formal legal procedures and involves court appearances, whereas a claim may be settled outside of court.
Claims can result in settlements at any stage, while a lawsuit may lead to a court judgment or continue until a settlement is reached.
In many cases, personal injury claims are resolved without requiring a lawsuit. However, if the parties cannot agree on a fair settlement or disputes about liability or the extent of damages, a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary to seek a resolution through the court system.
We can help you determine the best legal action for your unique circumstances.
Contact Our David W. Martin Accident & Injury Lawyers Today
Contact our David W. Martin Accident & Injury Lawyers in South Carolina today by calling 803-548-2468 to learn more about your legal rights and options to hold the negligent party — or combination of parties — liable for your complete recovery needs.
We provide free consultations for all personal injury cases in South Carolina and never charge any legal fees unless we deliver a positive outcome for your unique case.