A personal injury claim arises when one person suffers bodily harm, and someone else is legally responsible for that harm. If you've been injured in an accident, you may be wondering if you have a personal injury claim. Personal injury claims are typically based on the legal concept of negligence, which means that someone failed to take reasonable care to prevent harm to another person.   

What is a Personal Injury?

A personal injury is a physical, emotional, or mental injury, or harm, that results from the negligence of another person or entity. These injuries can occur in a wide range of situations, including:

- Car crash injuries

- Bicycle injuries

- Pedestrian injuries

- Slip and fall injuries

- Dog bite injuries

Personal injuries can vary in severity, from minor cuts and bruises to more serious injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, or spinal cord injuries. In some cases, personal injuries can result in long-term or permanent disabilities, requiring ongoing medical treatment and care. 

In addition to physical injuries, personal injuries can also cause emotional and mental harm, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These types of injuries can be just as debilitating as physical injuries and may also require treatment and care.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is a legal concept that refers to the failure to take reasonable care to prevent harm to others. In the context of personal injury law, negligence occurs when someone's actions or inactions cause harm to another person. To prove negligence in a personal injury case, the injured party (the plaintiff) must typically show four elements:

1. Duty of Care: The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. This means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act in a way that would not cause harm to the plaintiff.

2. Breach of Duty: The defendant breached their duty of care by failing to act in a reasonable manner. This can include actions such as speeding, failing to maintain a safe premises, or failing to control their dangerous dog.

3. Causation: The defendant's breach of duty caused the plaintiff's injuries. This means that the plaintiff's injuries would not have occurred if it were not for the defendant's actions or inactions.

4. Damages: The plaintiff suffered actual harm because of the defendant's breach of duty. This can include physical injuries, emotional distress, or other financial losses.

If the plaintiff can prove all four elements of negligence, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. This compensation can cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the injury.

Claim vs. Lawsuit

A personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit are two distinct legal processes, but they are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation. Here's a breakdown of the differences:

1. Personal Injury Claim: A personal injury claim is the first step in seeking compensation for injuries caused by someone else's negligence. It's a formal request made to an insurance company or the responsible party (the defendant) for compensation for damages. This process typically involves submitting a demand letter outlining the details of the accident, the injuries sustained, and the damages incurred. The insurance company or defendant then reviews the claim and decides whether to accept or deny it. If accepted, they may offer a settlement. If denied or if the settlement offered is insufficient, the next step is often a lawsuit.

2. Personal Injury Lawsuit: A personal injury lawsuit is a legal action filed in court against the responsible party (the defendant) seeking compensation for damages. This step is taken when negotiations with the insurance company or defendant fail to result in a satisfactory settlement. The lawsuit involves formal legal proceedings, including filing a complaint, discovery (exchanging evidence and information), pre-trial motions, and, if necessary, a trial before a judge or jury. If the plaintiff (the injured party) prevails in the lawsuit, the court may award damages to compensate for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

In summary, a personal injury claim is the initial request for compensation, often made to an insurance company, while a personal injury lawsuit is a formal legal action filed in court when negotiations fail to resolve the claim satisfactorily. Both processes aim to compensate the injured party for their losses, but they involve different legal procedures and may have different outcomes.


If you're unsure whether you have a personal injury claim, don't wait to seek legal help. Contact Lloyd Injury Law today for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our experienced personal injury lawyer, Crystal R. Lloyd, can help you understand your rights and options and can guide you through the legal process. Don't delay—call Lloyd Injury Law today at (360) 334-5157 or visit our website at www.lloydinjurylaw.com to learn more.