If you are planning to file a personal injury lawsuit against another individual or entity, you probably have some questions. How does the process go? What do you need to do now to further your case? It may be best to get those answers from your lawyer, but the following should help you understand the basic process for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
- Prepare and File the Complaint
The first thing you’ll do is prepare and file the complaint against the defendant. The complaint is a legal document that goes over all the facts you have to support your personal injury lawsuit. You’ll identify both parties in the case, including yourself and the defendant, and will list the court where you’re filing the lawsuit.
Next, you’ll list out explanations behind each allegation. These are typically in numbered paragraphs so it’s easy to understand each point. You should go into as much detail as you think is necessary to prove your case. You will also list what you’re seeking in damages from the defendant.
Finally, you will need to sign the document. After it is all complete, you will take it to the court and pay a filing fee.
- Service and Response
It’s essential the defendant receives your complaint. If not, the process will not be able to move forward. Most courts have someone you can pay to deliver the complaint to the defendant. When the documents are received, the individual or entity has a certain amount of time to respond to the complaint. If you have a hard time delivering the complaint, either because the individual is being difficult or you can’t physically find him or her, the court may grant you an extension of time to get the job done.
Once the defendant has read over the documents, he or she will need to respond. This might include filing a motion to dismiss the case altogether. It might also include an answer to the complaint. The answer would include a response to each of your numbered paragraphs.
- Negotiate and Settle
Through your lawyer, you might go back and forth a number of times while negotiating a settlement. There may be offers and counter offers, and your lawyer can help you understand what is fair and what should be negotiated. When a settlement is agreed upon, the case will be closed and you will receive compensation.
Contacting a Lawyer for Assistance
After a personal injury, the plaintiff might be unaware of how the process of filing a lawsuit works. If you’re in this situation, contact a personal injury lawyer, to learn more about whether you have a case and to see what needs to be done to get started.