Personal Injury 101: Should I File an Insurance Claim or a Lawsuit?


In the event that another individual or an entity, such as a business, hurt you in any way, you have the legal right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. Every day, a person is injured through medical mistakes, auto accidents, defective products, dog bites, and slips and falls, among others.   Let’s say you’ve sustained injuries in an auto accident due to another driver’s fault and you have doctor and hospital fees to pay, medications, and therapy bills. You stopped going to work indefinitely because of your injuries and your daily life has been significantly affected. In general, you have two options to obtain compensation. One is to file a personal injury claim and the other is to have your personal injury attorney in Utah file a lawsuit on your behalf.

How a Personal Injury Lawsuit Differs from a Personal Injury Insurance Claim

Lawsuits and claims differ mainly in the way they seek compensation for relevant damages. During a lawsuit, damages typically include hospital bills, rehab and physical therapy costs, qualified medical expenses, pain and suffering, as well as lost wages from missed work. Personal injury claims, on the other hand, involve malpractice insurance, auto insurance, business liability insurance, and homeowner’s insurance.

What Exactly is a Personal Injury Insurance Claim?

With a personal injury claim, you file a claim against the insurance provider of the party that is at fault. The entire process will involve back and forth negotiations between you (your lawyer if applicable) and the claims adjuster of the insurance provider. Hopefully, the negotiations will lead to a fair settlement agreed upon by both parties. You can consider working directly with the at-fault party’s insurer for minor slip and fall, auto accident, and other minor liability claims. However, for more serious injuries and those that involve medical malpractice, workplace hazards, dangerous drugs, and other complicated cases, it’s best to work with an experienced lawyer to get the most favorable results.

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What Exactly is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Aggrieved parties file personal injury lawsuits when they can’t reach a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. In most cases, this happens when the insurer’s claims adjuster does not agree with the compensation amount you’re seeking, the extent of your injuries, or denies that it was their client’s fault. When this happens, a lawsuit is inevitable.

If your lawsuit fails to reach a fair settlement, your case will go through a trial and it will be up to the jury to determine whether the defendant can be held liable for your injuries and how much damages should be awarded to you.

Choosing between a personal injury lawsuit and a claim is a vital step towards ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve. Typically, insurance claims are filed prior to lawsuits, and in most cases, they settle before even going to trial. However, it’s vital to note that you can choose to file a personal injury lawsuit at any time, especially if you believe that negotiations with an insurance provider are going nowhere.

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