Steps To File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When you face the legal system for the first time, it could be intimidating. As someone who is experiencing a personal injury, you may not know where to start. The good news is you can hire a lawyer, to work you through your lawsuit. The following are a few steps that can help to get you started.

Preparing the Complaint

The complaint refers to a document that explains what the lawsuit is about. It’s a legal document and should be 100% factual. The first part of the complaint will identify the parties in the lawsuit, including the plaintiff, defendant and the court where you’re filing.

Next, you’ll explain the facts that pertain to your case. This will also include legal theories of negligence and the court’s jurisdiction to see your lawsuit through. You will also outline the damages you’re seeking from the defendant.

Finally, the complaint will require your signature. If you have already contacted an attorney, he or she should also sign the document. It’s also possible you will need to prepare a summons, which identifies each party in the case and the fact you are suing the party.

Filing the Complaint

After your complaint is prepared, you will need to file it with the court. At the courthouse, you’ll be asked to pay a filing fee. The lawsuit and court will determine the amount of this fee, but it ranges from $100 to $400. If you were required to prepare a summons, that will also be filed at this point.

Serving the Defendant

Through “service of process,” you will serve the defendant with your complaint and summons. Anyone not involved in the case and over age 18 can serve the defendant, but many plaintiffs choose to hire a professional server. Law enforcement officers and court officials can also serve papers. If you are allowed to mail the complaint and summons, you will need to send it by certified mail to ensure the defendant receives it.

Waiting for a Response

After service of process, you have done your part for the moment and can wait for the response from the defendant. He or she will respond to your complaint by commenting on each individual allegation the complaint contains, or the defendant can file to dismiss the motion.

Contacting a Lawyer

Regardless of where you’re at in the process, it can benefit you to contact someone with professional experience. Contact a personal injury lawyer today.