Even the most careful people can slip and fall in a public place if its premises are poorly maintained. If this happened to you, you may have sustained serious injuries from your accident. You will likely need to collect compensation in this case, yet you may be unsure whether to file a claim or a lawsuit. Before moving forward, it is important to understand the difference between the two, as well as when a lawsuit is appropriate recourse.

The difference between claims and lawsuits

Many people treat “claim” and “lawsuit” as interchangeable words. Yet, these refer to two different actions. If you file a claim against a negligent party, you are seeking compensation through their insurance company. Your claim will resolve out of court and may require negotiation to reach an appropriate settlement. If you file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party, it means that you failed to reach an appropriate settlement through your claim, and that you must resolve your dispute in court.

When filing a lawsuit is appropriate

You may want to file a personal injury lawsuit after a slip and fall accident if you have no luck settling your claim for an appropriate sum. For your lawsuit to have merit, though, you must prove that the property owner’s negligence led to your injuries. You will need to show that:

  • A dangerous condition existed on the property
  • The property owner knew about the dangerous condition and failed to correct it
  • Your injuries were caused by the property owner’s negligence

If you file a lawsuit after your slip and fall accident, keep in mind that you must proceed within the timeframe set forth by Tennessee’s statute of limitations. For personal injury cases, you have one year from the date of your accident to do so.

After a slip and fall accident, it is possible you will incur expenses and losses well beyond what you expected. If you cannot reach an insurance settlement that covers these, you may need to file a lawsuit. A personal injury attorney can help you fight for compensation that is appropriate for your circumstances.