Claim Versus Lawsuit? What's the Difference?

When talking to clients, friends and neighbors they often wonder what's the difference between filing a lawsuit and filing a claim. I've noticed there's been a lot of confusion about the two in many people's minds.

Hi, I'm Brad Parker the attorney you want but hope you never need and this is another edition of Bar Talk.  If you want to know the answer, give me 90 seconds I'll tell you.

The difference between filing a lawsuit and filing a claim is pretty significant - when you file a claim all you have to do is pick up the phone and call the insurance company; they open up a claim and they’ll then ask you for information.  They'll ask you to maybe sign some forms for medical authorizations, they want to get some pictures and know some facts and it's all done very informally.

The big difference between a lawsuit and a claim is that a claim will not stop the running of statute of limitations.  What that means is - even though you're dealing with the insurance company, if two years comes and goes from the date of your accident and you're dealing with the insurance company, you'll be forever barred from collecting from the insurance company.

Filing a lawsuit on the other hand requires the filing of a petition lawyers usually get involved or will get involved there'll be formal discovery, formal depositions different documents traded back and forth there'll be a trial setting a pre-trial scheduling order.  It's a much more formalistic process and by filing the petition you actually stop the statute of limitations from running.

Many times, you can handle a claim by just filing the claim rather than filing the lawsuit. What's important to remember though - the more seriously injury the more serious the accident the more likely you need to hire a lawyer and file suit sooner rather than later.  If on the other hand it's just a simple fender bender, you probably will be just fine filing a claim and not a lawsuit of long as you get it done within two years.

I hope this has been some help to you - if you have any questions just give us a call this has been another edition of Bar Talk and I'm Brad Parker, the attorney you want but hope you never need.  Until next time.

For more information about the legal process and your rights download our free book.