Before you file a lawsuit, it’s important to know the process.
How does a lawsuit get filed?
Filing a lawsuit requires information about the facts, law, and parties to the case in controversy. This requires the gathering of important information and all relevant evidence. Courts require a written lawsuit containing key information. The steps of filing a lawsuit include:
- Investigate and gather evidence
- Draft the lawsuit
- File the lawsuit
- Serve the lawsuit and summons on the defendant
What information goes into the lawsuit?
In a personal injury lawsuit, the parties are the injured plaintiff and the defendant who caused the injury. There can be more multiple plaintiffs and defendants, depending on the facts.
Facts about what happened are important and may be found in witness interviews and documents like MVA crash reports or injury claim reports. The laws that apply depend on where you are filing the lawsuit.
What damages can be recovered in a lawsuit?
Damages include items like costs to repair property, medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, and mental pain. These damages can be claimed for the past, present, and future. Some jurisdictions also provide for punitive damages to hold bad actors accountable and punish them for extreme wrongdoing to protect the public.
What type of evidence is used in a lawsuit?
Gathering evidence is one of the most important aspects to preparing to file a lawsuit. Examples of evidence that should be available to you in a motor vehicle injury claim include the following:
- Police Motor Vehicle Crash reports
- Medical records and bills
- Reports of vehicle damage
- Photographs of where the crash occurred
- Photographs documenting damage to the automobiles involved
- Photographs documenting injuries (cuts, bruises, patient in hospital bed, etc.)
- Any video of the events
Once you have gathered evidence and information available at the time, the lawsuit must be drafted to include the specifics described above. It is important to reference and understand the various rules of civil procedure relevant to filing a lawsuit. State law provides the requirements of pleading civil lawsuits. Courts have specific rules about pleading and filing a lawsuit in their court.
The steps above may seem straightforward. But there are important details to consider. First, your lawsuit must comply with the rules of procedure. Second, you must file the lawsuit in the proper court. Third, you must serve the lawsuit in compliance with the law. Failure to follow any of these steps will create legal and practical hurdles to moving forward. In some situations, it could cause your lawsuit to be dismissed. There are also legal deadlines within which you must properly file and serve a lawsuit. Failure to comply with the rules can prohibit recovery.
These hurdles make hiring an experienced lawyer who knows the law important.