Car Accident

Making an Insurance Claim vs. Filing Suit

The Law Office of Steve Brannan May 27, 2022

Car accidents are a traumatic and overwhelming experience. No matter the circumstances of the accident, your personal health should always be your top priority. Throw in savvy insurance representatives, disagreements over fault, and uncertainty of which course of action is best, and situations become tricky in a hurry. Before long, the bills start piling up, and damages are still left unresolved.

Typically, there are two ways to recover the money you need: Filing an insurance claim or filing a lawsuit. Even though these two terms are often used interchangeably, claims and lawsuits are two very different things.

Personal Injury Claim: A personal injury claim is a request made to an insurance provider. The claims process does not involve the courts. Instead, you make an attempt to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance provider.

Personal Injury Lawsuit: A personal injury lawsuit involves the plaintiff suing the defendant for compensation, and it does involve the court. Your lawyer will still try to negotiate a settlement throughout the legal process. However, if there is no agreement, your case will be litigated in court.

Determining which option is best for you can be a challenging decision to make. However, our team at The Law Office of Steve Brannan in Odessa, Texas, possesses the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through the process. We proudly serve clients in Odessa, Midland, Big Spring, Pecos, Andrews, and throughout communities in West Texas.

When to File a Personal Injury Claim

Someone who has suffered an injury in an accident can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault individual or their insurance provider. The claimant must establish that the other party is responsible for their injuries and other damages, including the extent of their financial and personal losses. A claim is then submitted to the insurer to be reviewed. The insurance adjuster will either accept the claim as-is, accept the claim but make a counteroffer, or reject the claim. A personal injury lawyer represents the claimant and can help file the claim and negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.


There are some benefits to settling a personal injury claim outside of court:

  • You can save money

  • You are likely to receive compensation more quickly

  • There is less paperwork involved

  • You may have a better idea of what your case could be worth


There are also some drawbacks if you choose to settle your case out of court:

  • Insurance companies may drag the case out, costing more money

  • A settlement may not cover all of your expenses

  • The insurance company has the final say in your compensation

When to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In a lawsuit, the claimant files a claim against the at-fault party to recover their damages. A judge or jury will hear the case and reach a decision. The decision reached in the end is final, and both parties must abide by it. Some accidents may be so catastrophic that they require the injured party to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party or their insurance provider. Someone may also file a lawsuit against the insurer if they are not satisfied with the insurance provider’s initial settlement decision. An attorney will work to manage the claimant's case and represents them in any court proceedings.


There are some benefits to filing a lawsuit:

  • A neutral party can decide your case

  • You could receive a higher settlement offer

  • You may be eligible to receive punitive damages


There are also some potential drawbacks to pursuing a lawsuit:

  • A lawsuit likely increases your expenses significantly

  • You are not assured of the outcome

  • Court cases can last for several months or even years

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help 

Whether you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, navigating the legal system is complicated. An attorney can provide legal guidance to help you decide on the option that will give you the best outcome. After any accident, your attention should be solely placed on your recovery and wellness while your lawyer manages your case.

At The Law Office of Steve Brannan, we will investigate the accident, establish fault and liability, and help you choose the option that works in your best interest. We will work with you to negotiate a settlement with the insurer and represent you in court if that becomes a necessity. Let our expertise and experience guide you through the process and help you pursue fair compensation.

Contact us today. We serve clients in Odessa, Texas, and the neighboring areas of Midland, Big Spring, Pecos, and Andrews.