Personal Injury Lawyer
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is not always necessary. Sometimes you may be able to file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company and reach a settlement. Unfortunately, however, insurance companies often do not offer a fair settlement initially. Filing a lawsuit lets the insurer know that you mean business. It may be the incentive the company needs to reopen negotiations and make you a more reasonable offer.
You have likely never suffered a serious injury like this before and therefore are not familiar with the procedure for filing a personal injury lawsuit. This article is intended to help you get started.
1. Observe the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law that determines how much time you have to file your personal injury lawsuit. Each state has its own statute of limitations, so the amount of time you have to file depends on where you live. It is usually at least a year, more often two or three years, and rarely more than that. If negotiations with the insurance company have lasted several months and you are not close to reaching a settlement, you may want to think about filing a lawsuit right away.
2. Gather Evidence
Successful litigation or settlement of your lawsuit depends on gathering evidence to support your case. Examples of evidence that may be helpful to you include the following:
- Accident scene photos
- Police reports
- Eyewitness accounts
- Medical records
3. Writing and Filing a Complaint
The complaint that you write should lay out what you are alleging in very broad detail. Making reference to the evidence you gathered, you should explain exactly what the defendant did and how you came to harm as a result. It is important to be as accurate as you can in writing the complaint because it is the first official document in the case. You can then take the completed complaint to the appropriate civil court for filing.
After you have filed the complaint, the next step is serving it to the defendant. This typically means hand-delivering it to the defendant so that he or she cannot claim ignorance of it.
4. Pre-Trial Litigation
This process typically includes question-and-answer sessions of the parties involved in the case, as well as witnesses, that take place under oath. These are called depositions. It also involves a discovery process in which both sides share evidence with one other. During the process, you and the defendant will keep the judge informed of the case’s progress by making occasional court appearances.
Filing a lawsuit correctly can be difficult enough if you are healthy. An attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Memphis, TN, can help you with the process so you can concentrate on your recovery.
Thank you to the experts at Darrell Castle & Associates for their insight into personal injuries and the law.