A claim is a legal right you assert against another person or party. It can be for money, property, or for a certain type of action. Most claims are for money to address financial losses that someone has faced after an accident or similar incident.
The term “claim” is also used in other contexts apart from a traditional lawsuit, such as workers’ compensation and getting Social Security benefits. Any legal right to money, property, or benefits can be considered a claim. There are a few ways claim is used in a legal setting.
Types of Legal Claims
There are several types of claims in the legal context. A claim generally falls into one of two categories: legal claims or equitable claims.
A legal claim is perhaps the first thing you think of when you hear the word “claim.” A legal claim happens when someone else causes you harm or damage and you would like them to reimburse or repay you for those losses. You must meet certain qualifications to prove your claim, and your damages must be directly related to the wrongdoing that occurred.
The goal of this type of claim is to make you whole again. For example, you wouldn’t have had to pay medical bills or go through surgery if the accident hadn’t happened. In this case, the person who caused the damage should have to reimburse you for those costs.
Most personal injury cases are based on legal claims, including:
- Car accidents
- Slip and fall claims
- Dog bites
- Product liability cases
- Social Security claims
- Workers’ compensation cases
These claims can be based on case law or developed by Georgia statutes.
An equitable claim asks for a different type of damage than a legal claim. The damage may include money, but it is based on underlying notions of fairness. It may also ask for items that aren’t based on money, including specific performance or an injunction:
- Specific performance requires someone else to do something, such as complete a contract
- An injunction stops someone from taking action
These remedies sometimes help avoid damages that may happen in the future.
Technically, insurance claims operate separately from any legal claim. Asserting a claim with an insurance company uses a process that doesn’t depend on legal requirements. Each insurance company has its own reporting requirements that must be followed so you don’t accidentally waive your ability to make a claim against your own insurance company. This factor comes up often in the context of uninsured motorist coverage, for example.
If a claim is not honored or it is rejected or ignored, the next step may be a lawsuit.
Regardless of the type of claim you have, John Foy & Associates can help guide you through your unique situation. We have 20 years of experience helping people just like you work through any type of claim. Let us start by giving you a FREE consultation to discuss your case. Call us at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form and get your free consultation today.