How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Aug 15, 2022 | CHASENBOSCOLO
If you have been involved in a car accident that was the fault of another party, you may be eligible for compensation for your losses that were related to the accident. These can include medical expenses, lost wages due to missed time at work, and property damage costs. You may even be entitled to compensation for the physical and psychological pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your injuries.
In general, the first step is to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. However, the insurance company may dispute your claim or refuse to offer you an amount that will cover all your losses. In circumstances such as these, you will need to create a court case. These are the steps you will need to take in order to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Filing a Petition
Personal injury lawsuits begin when the injured party files a set of documents with the court and serves those papers on the defendant. This involves filing a petition, which is a formal document that identifies the legal and factual basis for your suit. In the petition, you will be required to identify the negligence that led to your injuries. You will also need to explain the amount of financial compensation you are seeking from the defendant.
You will also need to pay a filing fee. The amount of the fee will vary depending on the court and the type of lawsuit you file.
Service of Process
The next step in a personal injury lawsuit is the act of serving the defendant with the petition and a legal summons. This “service of process” is completed when the defendant or their representative receives a copy of these documents. In general, this must occur within 30 days of filing. However, if you have taken reasonable steps to find and serve the defendant and are having trouble completing the service of process, the court may grant a time extension.
After you have filed your petition and served the defendant, the subsequent step is for the defendant to respond to your petition. They may either:
- File an “answer” to your petition, in which they respond by admitting or denying each of the allegations, or
- File a motion to dismiss the suit. If the court grants this motion, your case may be thrown out in whole or in part.
If your lawsuit is not dismissed, the next step in the suit is the discovery phase. This is the point at which you and the defendant will have a chance to gather more information about the accident and your claim. Discovery can often reveal previously unknown aspects of the claim, including information from witnesses, video evidence, or other evidence about the defendant.
During the trial phase of your lawsuit, you will present your claim directly to the judge or jury. The judge or jury will issue a final ruling about what you are owed, if anything, after hearing both sides of the claim.
Filing an Appeal
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the trial, you will often have an opportunity to appeal the verdict. While this can sometimes increase the compensation you receive, it can also lead to the process taking a long time. This means that you will have to wait even longer before you receive the compensation you deserve.
Statute of Limitations
It is vital to remember that there is a strict time limit by which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the state you’re in and the type of accident you’ve been injured in, this could be two or three years to the day from the moment you received your injury, became aware of your injury, or should have been aware of your injury. If you fail to file a lawsuit before the period dictated by your state’s statute of limitations is up, you may be barred from ever filing a lawsuit about this particular injury ever again.
Talk to a CHASENBOSCOLO personal injury attorney to determine which timeline applies to your situation.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is rarely straightforward. At every step of the way, it is important to file the proper paperwork at the right time to ensure that your case goes forward in a smooth and timely fashion. If you make mistakes, this can seriously impair your ability to receive full and fair compensation in a timely fashion.
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit in the Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C. areas, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at CHASENBOSCOLO today.
Call us at (301) 220-0050 or contact us online today for your free case evaluation.