How to File a Personal Injury Claim
Just like any other legal issue, filing a personal injury claim can be tricky. If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide, you’re in the right place!
You take on a little bit of risk in life every time you leave your front door and enter the world. Despite what would be our wishes and hopes, accidents are all too common. It’s impossible to know when your life might be altered due to the negligence of another person or entity.
In these situations, it’s important to know how to file a personal injury claim. If you’ve faced losses due to the actions of others, you likely have a right to compensation under the law.
Knowing the steps to take to go after this compensation will be key if you want to retain stability in your life and remain financially sound. What do you need to know about filing a personal injury suit? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Summons and Complaint
If a person would like to bring an injury lawsuit forward against another entity, it’s important to understand how to begin the process. There is a lot of paperwork involved with the beginning of a lawsuit that can be confusing to learn about.
The basis of your lawsuit will need to be spelled out in a document known as the complaint. This is a formal document that identifies what you believe the basis for your lawsuit to be.
You will need to outline both the facts of the incident and the laws you believe are relevant to your situation. Legal theories such as negligence will be identified and used to support your request for compensation.
You will also need to outline in the complaint how much relief you’re hoping to seek from the defendant, typically in the form of a dollar amount.
All of this can be hard to do alone if you have no experience drafting up a summons. A personal injury attorney can help you to create this document and land upon a compensation amount worth asking for based on the evidence of your case.
If you cannot afford an attorney, you might be able to look into settlement loans to help finance your case until you receive the compensation you have a right to.
In many places around the country, you’ll also be asked to file a summons. This is a document that will be sent to the defendant in question notifying them of the lawsuit you intend to bring forward.
Essentially, it is a notification that is meant to let them know they are being sued.
There will likely be a filing fee required for both that could be somewhere between $50 and $400 depending on the suit and the jurisdiction that you are filing in.
After receiving the summons, the defendant will typically have thirty days in which to respond to the summons and complaint.
Their response will take a similar form to the initial complaint, outlining why they think they have a legal basis to pay less compensation or to avoid paying altogether.
This response will provide the basis of the work you and your attorney will need to do for your case. You will see what the opposing side of the argument is and now you will need to prove to the judge and jury who is right.
Statute of Limitations
Before filing a case you should make sure you are within the statute of limitations in your region. The statute of limitations outlines how long after an incident a case can be brought against another person.
If the accident that you’re intending to sue over was many years in the past, you might find that you are actually no longer legally allowed to bring a case forward due to limitations in your area.
Gather Evidence & Discovery
The discovery period of a personal injury lawsuit is when you and your attorney will take the time to gather as much evidence as humanly possible to make your points in court.
The evidence you’ll need to build a strong case will vary from situation to situation. Your attorney should be able to help you determine what will need to be gathered, organized, and presented.
In most situations, you’ll want to visit a medical professional as soon after an incident as possible. Their report on your health and the injuries you’ve sustained will be a key piece of evidence in your case.
Failure to see a doctor in the immediate days following your accident can greatly weaken the strength of your case. This is a must-do step.
In addition to a report from a doctor, witness statements, security footage, and your own personal photos and videos from the incident might be great evidence for the case.
As you begin to build a larger body of evidence, you’ll begin to get a sense of how well your case will turn out. Your attorney will be able to tell you how confident you should be in receiving all or a portion of the compensation you requested.
You can then negotiate and land on a settlement with the other party. In most personal injury cases, a settlement will make it so the case does not go to court, which can be costly for both parties.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If you’re attempting to file a personal injury claim against another individual or entity, it’s important that you learn how to get started. Understand the filing process and how a case will proceed will be key if you want to come out the other side with your anticipated outcome.
Have more questions about funding personal injury lawsuits? Contact us anytime for assistance and guidance.