Making an Insurance Claim vs. Filing a Lawsuit

Getting injured in a negligent accident can be a difficult and emotional experience. Thankfully, California personal injury laws allow victims of negligent accidents to recover damages by holding the at-fault party liable. Among the possible options to recover damages for your injuries is to make an insurance claim or file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. An experienced California personal injury attorney can explore your available options and help you make informed decisions.

With over 30 years of extensive experience, I have the skill, diligence, and resources to guide, support, and advocate for the legal rights of accident victims and their families. As your legal counsel, I can investigate all of the facts of your unique situation thoroughly, help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of making insurance claims or filing a lawsuit, and determine the best course of action.

Also, I will fight vigorously to protect your best interests and help you seek the maximum possible compensation for your injuries and damages. My firm – Fitzgerald Law – is proud to represent clients throughout Glendale, California, and the surrounding areas of Burbank, Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley, and the San Fernando Valley.

Difference between Insurance Claim and Lawsuit

An insurance claim, also known as an injury claim, is a request to an insurance company to provide benefits as compensation for injury, damages, or loss suffered in a negligent accident. When injured by a negligent party, you may:

  • File an injury claim with your insurer, or

  • File a third-party injury claim against the at-fault party's insurance provider or both insurers.

Since California is an at-fault auto insurance state, the at-fault party (person who caused your injuries) will be held liable for medical expenses, property damages, and other accident-related losses.

Conversely, a personal injury lawsuit can be described as a formal legal action or complaint taken by the injured party (plaintiff) against the at-fault party (defendant) or uninsured motorist insurer in civil court. The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to seek compensation for the injuries, damages, or losses suffered by the accident victim due to the other party's carelessness, negligence, or wrongful act.

However, both options to recover damages for your injuries have their benefits and drawbacks. It is in your best interest to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney for proper guidance and to help you decide your best course of action.

When Should You File An Insurance Claim?

To pursue fair compensation for your injuries, you may decide to file an insurance claim with your own insurer or the at-fault party's insurer. Here are some benefits and drawbacks of filing an insurance claim:


  • Filing an insurance claim is quite straightforward.

  • When you file an insurance claim, you know what you are likely to get.

  • Filing an insurance claim involves less work.

  • Filing an insurance claim is less stressful compared to going to court.


  • Dealing with insurance providers and claims adjusters often involves some complexities.

  • The damages and expenses may not be fully covered.

  • The insurance company may be negotiating your claims using bad faith tactics.

  • Getting deserved financial compensation to cover your medical bills and other potential damages may be difficult.

  • You will be at the insurance company's mercy.

When Should You File a Lawsuit?

However, if you are unable to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company, you may sue the at-fault party. Your attorney can help file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party in civil court. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of filing a lawsuit:


  • The jury, if the case is tried, is a neutral and objective body that will resolve your case impartially.

  • The judge is a neutral and objective third party who can help resolve your case using the specified rule of law.

  • You will be holding the liable party responsible for their negligent or wrongful actions.

  • You can feel a sense of justice when you receive fair compensation.

  • You could possibly receive higher compensation by filing a lawsuit.

  • You may be awarded punitive damages to serve as an additional punishment to the at-fault party.


  • You will have the burden of proof and must present factual evidence.

  • You may possibly receive lower than the initial settlement offer.

  • You will only know the outcome of your case when it is over. Thus, making it stressful.

  • Court costs could make a lawsuit costly. You may end up spending a significant part of the injury settlement on your case.

  • A personal injury lawsuit is often prolonged unnecessarily and can last for over a year or sometimes longer.

Essentially, making insurance claims provides a quite straightforward approach to resolving negligent accidents. Conversely, personal injury lawsuits usually involve a lot of complexities and can be lengthier to get a judgment. An experienced attorney can review every fact of your case, enlighten you about the benefits and drawbacks of each path to justice, and help decide the best way to resolve your case and get your deserved financial compensation.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Being involved in an accident caused by a negligent party can be overwhelming and can affect your physical, mental, and financial health. However, you don't have to suffer the challenges and financial liability alone. In order to recover damages, you may file an insurance claim or sue the at-fault party in civil court. A skilled personal injury attorney can enlighten you about your possible options to recover damages and help determine what is right for you.

At Fitzgerald Law, I'm committed to offering comprehensive legal counsel and vigorous representation to clients in personal injury cases. As your legal counsel, I can evaluate all of the details of your unique situation and explore your available legal options to seek damages.

Whether you want to make insurance claims or file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, I will guide you through every step involved in the legal process from start to finish. Also, I will represent your best interests when negotiating a settlement with the insurance provider and attempt to recover the financial justice you deserve. Contact my firm – Fitzgerald Law – today to schedule a simple consultation with a reliable personal injury attorney. My firm proudly serves clients throughout Glendale, Burbank, Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley, and the San Fernando Valley, California.