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Why File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Imagine that you’re hit by a car at a busy intersection. The violence of the impact shatters the glass, as well as your right arm and leg. The last thing you might think about in the hours and days after this devastating accident is to file a personal injury lawsuit. You consider putting off legal action for a few weeks.

But as your medical bills pile up, you cannot work, and pain prevents you from living an everyday life, perhaps you realize that waiting to file a lawsuit was not a good idea. In every U.S. state, you can file a personal injury claim for damages and losses if another party injured you in an accident.

You also can file a claim without going to court, but sometimes, filing a lawsuit is necessary for the full measure of justice. Nix Patterson personal injury attorneys have an impressive record holding liable parties accountable for their actions after an accident, and we’re ready to fight for you.

What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A personal injury claim is a legal dispute that arises when someone suffers injuries from an accident, and another person or entity may be legally liable for the harm or tort. These legal actions often arise from car accidents, truck accidents, slip and fall cases, and wrongful death. The liable person’s insurance company may compensate the injured party for medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. There are two likely resolutions to a personal injury claim:

  • Personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit starts when the injured party — the plaintiff — files a civil complaint against the defendant, who may be a person, company, or government agency. The complaint alleges that the party acted negligently or irresponsibly related to an accident that harmed the plaintiff. Not every personal injury claim results in a lawsuit decided by a judge or jury, but it is a potential outcome.
  • Settlement. Most accident injury claims are resolved via settlement before a lawsuit is filed. Usually, the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney negotiates a monetary settlement with the defendant’s insurance company and attorney.

Mediation or arbitration can also resolve A personal injury claim before an official lawsuit is filed. Mediation or arbitration may be attempted if settlement talks break down, but the parties want to try to resolve the case before going to trial.

When Do You Need to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

After an accident, you and your personal injury attorney will likely file a claim with the other party’s insurance company to demand compensation. This begins the personal injury claim process. But if settlement talks don’t bear fruit, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. The most common reasons a lawsuit may need to be filed are:

The Liable Party Is Underinsured

Most drivers in most states must have a minimum amount of auto insurance. For example, Texas law requires drivers to have at least $30,000 of coverage for personal injuries in car accidents. But it does not take long for a seriously injured person to run up tens of thousands in medical bills.

If your injuries require weeks or months of medical care, the other driver’s insurance coverage limits may be quickly exhausted. In that case, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to force the other party to pay for your additional losses out of pocket.

There Is More Than One Liable Party

In motor vehicle accidents, there can be more than one negligent party that caused the crash. For instance, if a tractor-trailer hits you on an interstate, you might just consider filing a claim against the driver. But there could be other liable parties that contributed to the accident, such as:

  • The truck owner who did not do routine maintenance on the truck, which contributed to the accident
  • The company that loaded the truck’s cargo and a shifting loan contributed to the crash
  • The company that makes the brake parts created a defective brake pad, making it so the truck could not slow down quickly enough

When the accident investigation reveals several parties could be liable for damages, a personal injury lawsuit is usually filed. This is especially the case when companies and other commercial entities may be liable for what happened.

Negotiations Hit a Snag

Most personal injury claims are settled out of court because both sides usually want to avoid the uncertainty and expense of a trial. However, many insurance companies want to limit their losses and may offer far less in a settlement than you deserve.

By filing a personal injury lawsuit, your personal injury attorney can try to encourage the plaintiff to settle before you both wind up in a courtroom. The claim can still be settled before the court case starts, or even after the lawsuit is filed. Sometimes, filing a lawsuit gives the insurance company the nudge to offer a more reasonable settlement.

You Have a Strong Case

A preponderance must convince the jury of the evidence that the defendant caused or contributed to your injuries. Your personal injury attorney may review the evidence and recommend going to trial because they feel that you have a strong case. If negotiations are not providing an adequate settlement, and you can afford to wait through a trial, it can be beneficial to go to court. You could end up with more money if the jury sides with you.

What if the Accident Seemed Minor?

Suppose you are in a minor accident and suffer soft tissue injuries in your neck and back, including whiplash. You are out of work for several weeks and have thousands in medical bills, but the insurance company does not take your claim seriously. After all, you have soft tissue injuries, and insurance companies sometimes treat whiplash as a non-serious injury. Should you file a lawsuit?

There are situations where you may want to file a personal injury lawsuit for a ‘minor’ accident and related injuries:

Bills Are Piling Up

Even with ‘minor’ injuries, you may find that medical bills add up rapidly. Every trip to the doctor costs hundreds of dollars, and if you spend any time in the hospital, it will cost thousands per day.

You may soon find that your minor accident injuries are costing a lot, and the insurance company isn’t offering enough to pay your bills, let alone pay you for pain and suffering.

You’re Experiencing Pain and Suffering

Your injuries might not be head and back, and you might not have broken bones, but you are in pain, and the insurance company doesn’t take you seriously. It doesn’t seem right that the insurance company’s offer doesn’t fully account for pain and suffering. If you want more money for discomfort, filing a lawsuit may be needed.

Negotiations Stopped

If you and your attorney have negotiated and the insurance company only offers a fraction of your damages, you must decide whether to go to court or settle. You might take the risk and file a lawsuit if you do not need the money now. You could get more money in a verdict, but you might also get nothing.

Your attorney’s advice is essential when deciding whether to settle or sue for a minor accident. Their legal expertise will be critical to listen to as you consider taking a smaller amount of money you can get now versus waiting and potentially getting considerably more.

Contact Nix Patterson’s Personal Injury Attorneys Today

Being seriously injured in an accident is devastating; if another party caused it, filing a claim or lawsuit is the last thing you want to do. But the responsible party should pay for what they did, and Nix Patterson can handle the entire legal process while you recover. Contact our Nix Patterson personal injury attorneys for a free case review. If we accept your case, you won’t pay legal fees unless we win.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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