If you have decided to file a personal injury lawsuit, it is of utmost importance to know what is involved. Actually there is nothing really difficult about it; the process is pretty much straightforward – report the case in court and inform the defendant that he is being sued so that they can get prepared. It’s pretty much that straightforward but if you are not a lawyer, this simple process may take you forever because you do not know what to expect and where to start from. In this article, you will learn all that you need to know to file a lawsuit for personal injury.
It is worthy of note also that there are different kinds of personal injury cases just as there are many ways one can get injured. Injuries can be from a slip and fall to car accidents and many more. Personal injury laws are available to take care of a wide range of possible accidents. According to the team at Recovery Law Center, a team of personal injury lawyers, two personal injury lawsuits may not be the same. Even if they are the same, they may not follow the same court. There are many things to be considered such as the cause of the injury, the severity of the injury and the conditions that surrounded the injury such as who was to be blamed for the injury and whether there is insurance cover for the injured.
The Complaint and the Summons
The laws are different from state to state and from country to country. For instance, a typical personal injury case begins in the Honolulu area of Hawaii in the United states, when the plaintiff files a couple of documents with the court on a personal injury issue, asking for papers to be served to the defendant. The documents filed are formal legal documents which state the factual and legal basis for the injury that is being reported. This document will include your details as the plaintiff, the details of the defendant and the court where the case is being filed. This latter part of the document is called the “caption. There is a body section that will state the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case and understand the theories behind the allegation that is being brought forward as well as the facts that are associated. The document needs to contain information about the relief that is being sought, or has been sought for the injury and how much funds is being asked from the defendant to cushion the associated expenses. The document will be sealed by the signature of your attorney, that is if you have one.
You are also expected to file a court summons, in fairness to the defendant, which shows and explains to the defendant that they are being sued and why they are being sued. This document must contain the signature of the court clerk and the seal of the court to show its authenticity. The personal injury suit filing costs somewhere around $100 to $400 depending on the court where the case is being filed. Once the suit is filed, it is required that the defendant is served the summons in due time or else the court will not have the jurisdiction over the defendant and without that, the court cannot sit to judge the case.
Service of Process Has Received
Service of Process is a legal term used to describe the process of serving the defendant the summons. This process is believed to be completed when the defendant or his/her representative has received and signed a copy of the summons. The server can be anyone who is a minor and not part of the lawsuit. It could also be the law enforcement officers or people referred to as professional process servers. The service can also be through the US mail service. The process of service period is not expected to exceed a month or 30 days, although extensions can be granted when the defendant cannot be reached on time.
Understand The Statute of Limitations for Your State
There are “Statute of Limitation” deadlines for each state and must be honored in the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit. It is the time that must not pass before a case is filed. It simply means if there was an injury, there is a stipulated time that the injured must come forward to file a case, else the case will not hold. In most states in the US, the Statute of Limitation is 2 years. That is an ample time to put yourself together to file your case. This time starts counting from the time and day of injury. It is within this time that you are to put together all evidence and document to back up your case in court.
The Response of the Defendant to The Complaint
After the defendant has been served the summons, the next thing is for the defendant to give a response to the complaint you have raised. This can be done in two ways:
- It is either the defendant files an answer to the complaint responding to the allegations that has been brought up in the complaint by either admitting to or denying each of them;
- The defendant files a motion for dismissal of the case based on evidence brought forward.
The court holds the final say in the process. The court can either grant the motion for dismissal by throwing out the entire complaint or a part of it or denies the motion. The outcome of your lawsuit largely depends on your attorney, the documentation and the evidence you have presented before the court. This is why it is hard for non-lawyers to handle the case of filing a personal injury lawsuit.