When you go through the traumatic experience of being in a car crash, especially one that causes injuries to you or the occupants of your vehicle, the aftermath can be a confusing and upsetting time. Many things are competing for your attention, not the least of which is focusing on recovering from the trauma of the event. However, there will eventually come a time when you must consider how to deal with the financial ramifications of the incident.
When you begin looking into your legal options, you may see a lot of discussion about your “claim.” This vague term can be confusing at times because it could refer to two very different things. A “car accident claim” could relate to your efforts to get money from your insurance policy, or it could mean legal action against the negligent party. Let’s break down the difference between these two and when and how to pursue each type.
Car Accident Claims Start With the Insurance Company
A car insurance claim is just what it sounds like — a claim lodged with the insurer of your vehicle or, in some cases, with the insurer of the vehicle that caused the accident in which you were injured. A car insurance claim is not a legal process, but rather a business one. Insurance companies have a financial motivation to pay out as little as possible on claims, so their investigations may focus on shifting blame or reducing the value of the damages awarded. You’re likely to receive a settlement offer from the insurance company, but the number you see might not be fair. When you’re struggling to get an insurance payout, a personal injury lawyer can go to bat for you at the settlement table.
Related Resources: 5 Possible Reasons Why Your Car Accident Insurance Claim Was Denied
A Personal Injury Claim Aims for the Negligent Party
Not every insurance agency will play ball, nor will all agencies eventually relent even with a lawyer’s help. When you can’t reach an acceptable settlement with the insurer, you can turn your attention to the legal system instead. At this point, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the individual or third party who caused the accident in which you were hurt. Again, there could be a process of negotiation that produces a settlement worth your time. If no settlement can be agreed upon, a jury trial may commence. If you win your case, the judge or jury will play a role in determining the value of the damages owed to you.
Related Resources: Should You Settle Your Personal Injury Case Out-of-Court or Go to Trial?
Can You File Both Claims At Once?
In general, no — you’ll need to pursue this process in a linear fashion. While your attorney can continue to negotiate with an insurance adjuster after a lawsuit has been filed, the case will normally be transferred to an attorney. However, you should beware of trying to tackle these problems without any professional legal help. Although you may think an insurance company is there to protect you and look out for your best interests, the reality can be different.
Why You Shouldn’t Navigate This Process Alone
With a clear process to follow in the effort to obtain some compensation to offset the losses caused by your accident, it’s always a good idea to have an expert resource to lean upon for guidance. A proven car accident attorney or a personal injury attorney can make the difference in your case while also providing you with the option to pursue a case in court if necessary.
At HHJ Trial Attorneys, we handle all types of personal injury cases, including car accidents, and extending to slips and falls injuries, accidents involving cyclists, and more. All these scenarios can lead to immense costs for the injured party, and we believe you deserve the best representation possible to pursue justice. Schedule a consultation with our team for help today.
Testimonial from Guthrie, a car accident victim in Carlsbad
If you are in a car accident in North County, make sure and contact HHJ. They have several years of trial experience which means insurance companies take them seriously when they decided they want to take your case to trial. That’s going to make a huge difference in your case.