Personal Injury 

Auto Accident Lawsuit: an Overview of the Initial Steps in a Car Accident Lawsuit

If you were involved in a car accident and suffered injuries, the law allows you to seek compensation. Your case can get resolved through a claim settlement where an insurer offers to compensate you reasonably. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies will be ready to do so. If your case isn’t resolved via negotiations, you will need the help of a Louisville car accident lawyer to file an auto accident lawsuit.

In most cases, victims of vehicle accidents choose to recover more than the small claim limits set by courts in their specific states. Thus, the plaintiff must begin with a pre-trial process and then file their case in the ‘regular’ civil court. Here are other important steps you must take if you intend to file a car accident lawsuit.

Step 1: File the complaint

Generally, a civil court lawsuit begins when you (the plaintiff) file the initial document known as a complaint. The document reveals all the elements of your case that you have built against the defendant (the other driver). It must identify all the parties involved, state the facts upon which your allegations are based, and the overall lay out and support for each of the elements. Your complaint must ask for a specific monetary compensation for damages.

Step 2: Process and service

Once the court clerks have created a specific court file for your case, they will prepare or process the paperwork that will be served on the individual you’re suing – the defendant. Usually, process includes a copy of the complaint and summons requiring the offender to respond to the case within a specific period. Remember, these papers must be delivered to the person being sued. This is known as the service of process.

Note that every state has specific rules and procedures that must be followed. This is a complex issue and it’s best to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle it on your behalf. While the services of a lawyer come at a price, that amount will be added to the particular judgement you will receive.

Step 3: The defendant’s response

After your complaint documentation has been served on the offender, he or she must file a response, usually referred to as an answer. In the answer, the defendant must raise all the defenses that they have in response to all your allegations included in your complaint paperwork.

You shouldn’t get surprised if the defendant’s answer include some defenses that seem ridiculous or are not related to your case. All defenses not included in the defendant’s answer are usually waived. That means the defense attorney raise all aspects of defense under the proverbial sun, and there’s a good chance they will provide defenses that might seem unrelated to your case.

Once the plaintiff has filed the initial documents in a lawsuit involving a vehicle accident, the case will proceed to the discovery phase. Both sides will exchange information. Remember, these cases are very complex, and you shouldn’t ignore the services of an experienced lawyer.

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