Claims vs. Lawsuits: What’s the Difference?

Legal terminology can be difficult to understand on a good day – let alone right after you’ve been injured in one of the thousands of car accidents that occur in Kansas City each year. However, knowing the difference between terms can make all the difference in your case and your stress level. For instance, many injury victims mistakenly believe a “claim” they filed after a car accident is the same thing as a “lawsuit,” even though they represent different stages after an accident and mean very different things. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, talking to a Kansas City Car Accident Attorney can help you understand the process and what steps to take to avoid legal pitfalls. 

What’s a Claim?

Once you’re hurt in a Kansas City crash due to someone’s negligence, your first step to seeking compensation is filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurer. The negligence may be anything – common Kansas City accident causes such as distracted driving or drunk driving – or uncommon causes like tailgating. When filing the claim, you should include a demand letter spelling out:

  • How their insured was negligent, 
  • How you’re injured, and 
  • An amount to compensate for your damages.

Ideally, a skilled car accident attorney can help with this process and will handle the negotiations that occur once your demand letter is received. If the negotiations are unsuccessful and you can’t reach a settlement with the insurance company, you may need to file a lawsuit. 

What’s a Lawsuit?

A lawsuit begins when you file a complaint against the responsible party in civil, not criminal, court. A judge oversees the case and either a judge or jury will decide the outcome if the case goes to trial. However, most civil lawsuits settle during pre-trial or trial before a verdict is rendered. Lawsuits are often necessary when:

  • The insurer offers a low-ball settlement, 
  • Someone other than the driver, such as a mechanic or auto manufacturer, is found partly responsible for the accident and your injuries, and
  • The accident happened so long ago that the period allowed by law for filing your lawsuit, called a statute of limitations, has almost expired. 

Talk to a Kansas City, MO Car Accident Attorney

We understand it’s overwhelming to make decisions and take action after a traumatic experience such as a car accident, but it’s critical you take some steps to ensure you don’t lose out on your chance to recover compensation for your injuries. The Kansas City Car Accident Attorneys at Krause & Kinsman have experience dealing with insurance companies, negligent drivers, and opposing attorneys to save you countless headaches and make sure your best interests are protected.

We’ll fight for you to recover the compensation you deserve for injuries you didn’t deserve. Call us at (816) 307-2352 or contact us online to schedule your initial free consultation today. Let us answer your questions and help you secure the best outcome from a bad situation starting now.

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While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call or complete the intake form below.