An accident compensation claim is a claim made by an individual who wishes to be paid back for an accident he believes someone else caused. An accident compensation claim can be made to an insurance company, and the insurance company may settle or pay the claim out of court. The claim may also be made in a court of law, in which the plaintiff seeks compensation for his damages resulting from an accident and in which the jury determines whether the defendant was at fault and, if so, how much the defendant must pay to fully compensate the plaintiff for his losses.
The system used to determine what happens in an accident compensation claim varies depending on what type of accident occurred and where a person lives. In the United States, for example, work accident claims are all handled through the compulsory worker's compensation system and workers are not permitted to sue in tort. When a worker is injured, strict liability applies, however. The employer automatically must pay the bills for the worker's injury if it arose out of the worker doing his job, even if the company was not negligent in any way, as long as the worker wasn't expressly violating company policy. The payment made by the worker's compensation insurer, however, is set by state law and no punitive damages or other such damage amounts apply to such an accident claim.
A car accident compensation claim, on the other hand, may either be handled within the tort system or as a no-fault claim, depending on where a person lives. In most states in the United States, when a person is a victim of a car accident, he may sue the person responsible to recover his damages, including pain and suffering. Twelve states, however, have instituted a no-fault system and do not allow tort lawsuits for car accident liability except in specific situations of serious injury and/or egregious recklessness. In such states, the individual can only recover compensation from his own insurance company.
Most individuals and businesses have insurance in place designed to protect them from an accident compensation claim. Car insurance protects against liability resulting from being sued for a car accident. Worker's compensation insurance protects companies from being sued by employees. General umbrella policies or liability policies can also be purchased by businesses to protect them from other types of accident claims, such as product defect claims.