If you have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, you probably have substantial pain. Your injuries mean you are not able to go back to work. In the meantime, bills are piling up: medical bills, repair bills, even the utility, credit card, and loans you can’t pay because the paycheck isn’t there. You know that you have a case against the negligent party, but what is the best way to get the compensation you deserve?
Claim or Lawsuit: What’s the Difference?
In short, a claim is defined as a “demand or request for something considered one’s due.” Personal injury claims are filed with the insurance company. Remember that insurance companies are in business to make a profit, so their initial settlement offer is typically low. Negotiations follow in the hopes of reaching a satisfactory settlement. In the worst possible case, the insurance company denies your claim altogether.
A lawsuit is “a claim or dispute brought to a court of law for adjudication.” In other words, whether through direct negotiation or through alternative dispute resolution (mediation or arbitration), you are unable to reach fair and reasonable compensation.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
When you have suffered a personal injury, filing a claim is the first step and should be done in a timely manner. Most states have deadlines regarding how long after an accident you can file a claim. In New York, that deadline is three years, so it is imperative that you don’t wait.
Your point of contact with the at-fault party’s insurance company is the claims adjuster who is assigned to your case. The claims adjuster will gather evidence and investigate medical charts, review police reports, speak to you (the victim) and any witnesses to the accident, visit the scene of the accident, evaluate property damage (such as damage to your vehicle in a car crash) and estimate repair costs and comb through all other evidence that has been provided.
The adjuster is not going to take your word for it that you are in pain and your injury was caused by the insured’s negligence. You have to convince the adjuster that:
- Their insured caused your injury through his or her negligence
- Your injuries are serious and real
- Your medical costs are significant
- Any of your out-of-pocket expenses are necessary and related to the accident
- You are unable to return to work because of your injuries
- You are experiencing real pain and suffering
The insurance adjuster takes all the information and evidence he or she has gathered to formulate a settlement offer. In the best of all worlds, the compensation is fair and you can avoid going to court. If not, seek legal counsel to discuss all your options, including whether filing a lawsuit is in your best interests.
Our Committed Yonkers Personal Injury Attorneys are Ready to Help
At Sayegh & Sayegh, our focus is to protect your best interests and obtain the fair compensation you deserve when you suffer injury caused by the reckless or negligent actions of another party. Contact us today at (914) 968-5800 to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Yonkers.