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What is the difference between making a “claim” and bringing a “lawsuit?”

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This is a frequently misunderstood concept, “making a claim” after being involved in an accident. When a person is involved in a serious automobile accident and decides to hire a lawyer for their injuries, they are not suing anyone. They are simply “making a claim” which means they are seeking compensation against the adverse insurance company for payment of their medical bills, lost time from work, property damage to their vehicle and pain and suffering. There is no lawsuit involved and no court litigation of any kind. Most accident claims are settled without the necessity of filing a lawsuit and ever going to court at all.

In the event that their injury case cannot be successfully settled with the insurance company, only in that event is a lawsuit considered. This involves filing of legal papers in court. A summons and complaint are the usual initial legal papers used to file the lawsuit. Once the lawsuit is filed, the injured party is no longer, “making a claim” anymore, they are involved in active litigation of their case, no different than any other lawsuit filed in court, such as a business dispute or other commercial litigation. A lawsuit can take anywhere from one year to eighteen months to resolve, depending on the nature of the case, what county the case is pending in, and any complications that may occur during the litigation process. Just as most injury claims are resolved prior to a lawsuit, even where a lawsuit is involved, most cases are resolved short of going to a jury or court trial. In Wisconsin (ADR), alternative dispute resolution is mandatory in all civil cases. I wrote a recent blog about mediation and alternative dispute resolution in Wisconsin. While inevitably, some lawsuits simply need to be tried as not every case can be successfully settled, most lawsuits are resolved either during the process of litigation or at mediation. The number of lawsuits filed that have gone to jury trial over the years has dramatically decreased over the years due to (ADR) alternative dispute resolution.

Hiring an experienced automobile personal injury lawyer will assist in the successful settlement of an injury case, without the necessity of court litigation. Where court litigation is required, a skilled personal injury trial lawyer will help in also obtaining a fair settlement of your injury case, without going to trial, or inevitably, where a jury trial is required, provide skilled representation to present your injury case to a jury to achieve maximum results in the courtroom.

Injured in a car accident and have questions? Contact one of the personal injury lawyers at Karp & Iancu,S.C.

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