Hello everyone. This is Robert Mansour. I'm a personal injury lawyer in the Los Angeles area. In this brief video I want to discuss the difference between a claim and a lawsuit. Many times clients come to my office and they think that we are going to bring a lawsuit against somebody. In most cases we're not bringing the lawsuit against anybody yet. What we are doing is bringing a claim against the responsible party. In most cases what we are actually doing is presenting the claim to the insurance company for the responsible party. So that responsible party may know that you brought a claim but for the most part that's all they're really going to know. Everything is going to be handled by the insurance company for the responsible party and we deal with that insurance company and hopefully we're able to resolve the claim.
Now if we cannot resolve the claim then what we do is the client and the lawyer have to sit down and talk about filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. Let's say some guy named Bob causes you an injury and Bob has XYZ insurance company. We're going to bring a claim against Bob but we're going to present it to XYZ insurance company. They will pay for your injuries and your damages but only up to whatever their policy is for Bob. So if Bob has $15,000 of insurance that's all they're going to pay, the insurance company. The rest is really up to Bob and whether or not you want to pursue Bob is a whole other different story. So that's what a claim is.
But if you cannot resolve the claim then you have to sit down and talk about filing a lawsuit against Bob. That involves filing paperwork with the court, it's called a complaint, serving that complaint upon Bob, and then Bob is going to call his insurance company and say, "Hey, it's Bob, I just got served with a lawsuit," and the insurance company will then assign a lawyer to defend Bob in the lawsuit that you have brought against Bob.
So the claim is something that happens pre-litigation, before a lawsuit is filed. That claim 95% of the time those things resolve before a lawsuit is necessary. But every so often you reach an impasse in a case that cannot be overcome. Then the plaintiff has to file a lawsuit with the court that is served upon the defendant, the responsible party, and that person's insurance company usually provides that person with an attorney to defend them in this lawsuit.
I hope that helps you understand the difference between a lawsuit and a claim. A lawsuit also can be very financially and emotionally taxing, not that a claim isn't, but a claim is generally not as stressful to go through. I hope that helps to illustrate the difference between a claim and a lawsuit. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact my office. Thank you very much.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,