How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Filing a personal injury lawsuit can come around after a number of setbacks with an insurance claim. You may decide you need to file a lawsuit to get fair compensation for an injury caused by a negligent party. If your rights aren’t upheld by the claims process, a lawsuit provides a new avenue for gaining compensation. The road can be long, though, and knowing how to file for a lawsuit can get you off on the right foot.


You can only file a lawsuit for up to a certain time after your injury happens. The clock starts ticking at the time of the accident. In some cases, if you don’t realize you are injured until later, you can get an exemption from the judge for an extension on your deadline, in which case the countdown clock starts once you discover the injury. In most states, this statute of limitations is two years, though it can be as short as one and as long as six. Always check your state laws to make sure you are within the statute of limitations before filing.

Filing with the Court

To begin the lawsuit process, you have to gather certain essential documents and present them to the court. These documents explain the situation and who is involved, including yourself and the defendant. This is also where you will present your case and tell the court the reasons for the lawsuit and the laws surrounding it, as well as the amount you are seeking.

Filing with the Defendant 

Also called a summons, this document is for the defendant (the person you are suing). The document identifies the parties involved in the case and that they are being sued. You will likely need to get a signature and seal from the court before presenting it to the defendant. It is essential that you properly deliver the right documents to the defendant, otherwise the case can get tossed out on a technicality of jurisdiction.

Filing Fee

After you have filed out the proper documents, you’ll need to pay a filing fee. This fee goes to the courts for the process. It can vary between $100 and $400 depending on where you live.

Filing for a lawsuit can be a complicated process. Hiring a lawyer to represent your case, particularly if it goes to court, can be a good option for those who don’t understand all state laws that affect their case. Consider contacting a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Hickey & Turim, to see what they can do in terms of a lawsuit.