personal injury lawsuit vs insurance claim car accident

Personal Injury Lawsuit vs. Insurance Claim: Which Is Right in a Car Accident? 

For those who have been driving for many years without incident, it can be easy to forget the dangers of the road and treat driving like a mundane task. In some cases, however, this cavalier attitude to driving can lead you to believe that as long as you follow the rules of the road, a car accident will not occur. However, in recent years, over 14,000 car accidents occurred on a daily basis, with 106 car accident fatalities per day.  

As a driver, you always need to stay vigilant on the road. In some cases, unfortunately, a car accident will be unavoidable even if you followed all safety measures while driving. When this occurs, knowing whether filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit is the better choice is important. Learn the difference between these two in order to determine your course of action following a wreck. 

What is Auto Insurance?

Despite auto insurance being required by nearly all states in the U.S. and varying versions around the world, a surprising number of drivers confuse auto insurance with other forms of protection on the road. Auto insurance is essentially a safeguard that a person pays for on a monthly or yearly basis that will offer financial coverage in the event of an accident or theft. 

Auto insurance does not offer financial protection for mechanical breakdown, as some people erroneously believe. Specifically, there are six main types of car insurance that a person will see, with only a few being required by law: 

The Common Types of Auto Insurance

• Liability Coverage: This is the form of auto insurance that is most commonly required for all drivers to have. It offers coverage in the event you are found at-fault for an accident in which another person’s body or property was damaged and will pay their claim so you don’t need to cover the cost out-of-pocket. 

• Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Uninsured motorist coverage provides drivers with financial protection for when they are in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance. With this protection, your own insurance company will cover the costs of damages to your or your vehicle. 

• Comprehensive Coverage: In the event your vehicle or property is damaged due to certain natural factors, such as lightning strikes, trees falling, and more, a comprehensive coverage insurance package will provide financial compensation to you for repairs. 

• Collision Coverage: Collision coverage will often provide financial compensation when a driver is involved in an accident with another vehicle or an object, such as a guardrail or fence. 

• Medical Payments Coverage: This form of auto insurance will provide financial coverage for the medical bills you incur, as well as those of your passengers, in the event that an accident happens on the road. 

• Personal Injury Protection Coverage: Similar to medical payments coverage, but often only offered in states with no-fault insurance laws, PIP coverage will take care of medical expenses and other expense types such as lost income. 

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

On the other side of things, a personal injury lawsuit is a civil suit under tort law which occurs when one party sues another party after they have been injured in some way. Specifically, the person who is doing the suing is attempting to be made whole through monetary compensation as they believe the person they are suing caused the accident or incident which led to their expenses. 

Out of the many civil suits that occur in court, personal injury lawsuit are among the most common. In fact, New York has over 187,000 registered lawyers alone, not to mention the other 49 states, who specialize in matters of personal injury and other similar types of civil suits. 

The Difference Between a Personal Injury Lawsuit and an Insurance Claim

The primary difference between an insurance claim and personal injury lawsuit is that an insurance claim doesn’t deal with the courtroom. A person files an insurance claim after an accident, the insurance companies investigate to determine fault, and then the at-fault parties’ insurance company will pay some of or all of the claim dependent upon the level of fault.

On the other hand, a personal injury lawsuit is a formal lawsuit against another person where a judge listens to the lawyers on both sides and makes a verdict as to whether or not they believe the defendant was responsible for the incident. They then render a verdict on the damages that the defendant owes to the plaintiff. 

Can You File for Both Personal Injury and an Insurance Claim? 

In most situations, it is possible to file both a personal injury claim and an insurance claim. However, if you are filing a personal injury claim for the exact amount the other person’s insurance company gave you, there’s nothing to make whole and your case likely won’t get far.

Filing both an insurance claim and lawsuit typically occurs when one party has incurred additional expenses, such as pain and suffering, which are not covered by insurance. They then choose to file a lawsuit in order to fight for these damages that they believe they are owed after the incident. Keep in mind, however, that the other driver who caused the accident will need to have acted with negligence in some way in order for the accident to qualify as a personal injury. 

Make yourself whole in the courtroom today

Nobody wants to find themselves injured in a car accident, especially when they were doing everything they should have been doing on the road. However, a person can’t control the actions of other drivers and in some situations a car accident may be inevitable.

Should a person find themselves in this situation, it’s important to consider what occurred to determine whether or not taking the matter to court is necessary. Visit Harrell and Harrell and contact a personal injury lawyer if you will be pursuing the matter with a personal injury lawsuit to build your case and make yourself whole.

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