How Does A Claim Differ From A Lawsuit?

Anyone that has been involved in an accident, and has suffered a loss as a result of that incident can walk into the local court and file a personal injury claim. That same claimant has the opportunity to hire an attorney. Of course the exact same claimant also has the right to proceed without a lawyer’s assistance and guidance.

Does someone that has filed a claim ever initiate a lawsuit?

The correct answer to that question is this: It depends on what happens after the claim has been filed. At that point, the claimant is supposed to send a certified letter to the defendant’s insurance company.

In that letter the claimant should make clear his or her intentions, regarding a demand for compensation. The claimant’s letter should include a request for certain pieces of information. For instance, the insurance company ought to be asked to share information on the policy limits that have been placed on the defendant. Other documents can also be requested.

Some claimants hire an injury lawyer in Sault Ste Marie, and the attorney writes that letter. In that case, the requested information would get sent to the same attorney. In either case, correspondence has begun, and such correspondence will continue throughout the coming negotiations.

A claim leads to the start of negotiations. The adjuster for the insurance company gets in touch with either the claimant or the claimant’s lawyer. The adjuster responds to the demand for compensation, and puts forth the insurance company’s initial offer. The claimant or the claimant’s lawyer responds to the same offer.

The exchange of offers continues until the 2 sides have reached an agreement, or until they reach an impasse. Sometimes the insurance company believes that the claimant has no basis for making a claim.

What happens then?

At that point the claimant’s role changes to that of a plaintiff. That plaintiff needs to file a lawsuit. At this stage a lawyer’s assistance becomes essential, because a trial will be scheduled. The plaintiff needs a lawyer, who can present the plaintiff’s case in a courtroom. The plaintiff becomes the lawyer’s client.

The lawyer and client work together to gather any evidence that might be added to what had been used during the negotiations. At the discovery, the evidence collected by the other side becomes available to the plaintiff-lawyer team. The trial follows the discovery session.

Keep in mind the fact that the goal of the negotiations has not changed, even though a trial has been scheduled. The lawsuit introduces an added way for reaching that goal. Still, the two sides can reach an agreement at any time, without the need to complete the litigation process. The claim’s goal takes precedence over procedures in the ongoing lawsuit.