Understanding the Differences Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you are not in the insurance business, it can be hard to understand the differences between a personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit. 

Injury victims use both to recover compensation when their injuries are someone else’s fault. Indeed, injury victims often use both approaches to recover reimbursement for lost wages after a car accident.

But there are several important differences between a personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit.

Technically, the types of damages available in a personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit are the same. In Maryland, these include economic damages and non-economic damages

What are the Differences Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

There are several key differences between a personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit. The type you file may impact how long it will take to settle your personal injury case. 

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim is a type of insurance claim. Depending on the situation, an injured party may file a claim with their own insurance company or with the insurance company covering the at-fault party. 

Sometimes, there is more than one at-fault party, and claims may be made under multiple policies. This does not mean an injury victim will recover twice as much money. Instead, each insurance company may have to pay a share of the total compensation owed to the claimant. 

When Can I Make a Personal Injury Claim?

When you make a personal injury claim depends on the circumstances of your situation. You should speak with an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney to understand your rights under Maryland law. This guide offers general information about personal injury claims. 

If you suffer an injury caused by someone else’s actions, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. 

You might file a personal injury claim under someone else’s insurance policy or your own, including:

  • Automobile insurance 
  • Homeowners’ insurance
  • Commercial liability policies
  • Individual disability policies

Which insurance company you file a claim with depends on the coverage in place at the time of the accident. 

How Does the Claims Process Work?

After an injury in Maryland, you may need to speak with a Maryland personal injury attorney to determine whether you can file a personal injury claim under one or more insurance policies. When you file a claim, the insurance company will assign a claim adjuster to manage your claim. 

If another person caused your injury, you might consider filing a claim with the individual’s insurance policy. However, there are scenarios where you may need to file a claim with your own insurance company, such as when the other driver does not have insurance.

What does a claims adjuster do?

The claims adjuster’s job includes investigating the claim, evaluating liability, and negotiating a settlement. 

A claims adjuster may:

  • Review police reports or incident reports
  • Obtain and review medical records
  • Conduct investigation into your past personal injury claims, if any

It is likely that an adjuster will ask you for a statement and documentation of your injuries. It is in your best interest to talk to a Maryland personal injury attorney before you make a recorded statement. 

It is important to know that the claims adjuster’s job is to minimize the insurance company’s payouts. If you are offered a settlement, it is important to evaluate whether you should accept the settlement offer. Once you accept an offer, you cannot recover any additional compensation. 

How Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Differ From a Personal Injury Claim?

In many ways, they are the same. Often, an injured person chooses to file a personal injury lawsuit when they are dissatisfied with the result of the personal injury claim process. 

Usually, a claims adjuster will note that the injured person has not provided sufficient documentation. For example, the claims adjuster may argue they cannot accurately evaluate compensation in light of the existence of pre-existing conditions. Claims adjusters are not medical doctors, however, and they may make errors during the claims process. To ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve, consider consulting with a Maryland personal injury attorney.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?

A personal injury attorney can help you with a personal injury claim and, if necessary, can represent you in a personal injury lawsuit. Working with a personal injury attorney from an early point in your case will allow your attorney to be familiar with your case if and when a lawsuit is necessary. 

Three Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Help With Your Personal Injury Claim or Personal Injury Lawsuit

You may feel like you can handle your personal injury claim on your own. There are three important reasons you should hire a Maryland personal injury attorney to represent you:

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You if You Are Being Blamed

Maryland follows the law of contributory fault. This means the total compensation owed to injury victims can be reduced if they are partly at fault for their own injury. 

How can a personal injury lawyer help if you are being blamed? A personal injury lawyer can help minimize your fault. A thorough investigation is required, and fault must be assigned to others whose negligence caused your accident or injury.

A Personal Injury Attorney Knows How to Manage Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you are not satisfied with the results of the personal injury claim process, a skilled personal injury attorney can guide you through the steps to filing a personal injury lawsuit

Personal injury lawsuits in Maryland must be filed within three (3) years of the date of injury under Maryland’s statute of limitations. An experienced personal injury attorney will make sure that your case is filed on time. If the lawsuit is not filed on time, you may lose your right to recover compensation. 

A Personal Injury Attorney is Worth It 

Many people wrongfully think they cannot afford an attorney. That’s not true. 

What does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer? Usually, an injury victim does not have to pay anything out of pocket. 

Personal injury lawyers ordinarily work for a contingency fee. A contingency fee agreement allows a personal injury attorney to get started working for you immediately. 

Then, if you get an award of compensation at the end of your case, the personal injury attorney will take their payment from the settlement or judgment you receive. Most personal injury attorneys will accept a percentage of the total compensation recovered.

Contact Our Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you have questions about a personal injury claim, Contact our Baltimore office to schedule a free consultation, you can give us a call at (410) 837-2144 to speak with an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer at William G. Kolodner P.A.