The legal process for a personal injury claim commences when a personal injury lawyer files a civil complaint against a person, company, organization, or the government on behalf of a plaintiff. A personal injury case is tired in civil court. A ruling in favor of the plaintiff will result in a damage award rather than a criminal sentence.
A plaintiff files a complaint to initiate a personal injury lawsuit. A complaint is a document that states the plaintiff’s claim and a specific request for relief. A personal injury lawyer will file the complaint in a state court, such as the Superior Court of California, or in a federal district court. An attorney will determine which court has jurisdiction over the case. Jurisdiction is a court’s authority to preside over a legal action. In certain circumstances, such as when the plaintiff and defendant reside in different states and the “amount in controversy” exceeds $75,000, a federal district court may preside over the case.
Once the personal injury lawsuit is filed, the complaint is served on the defendant in order to provide notice of the lawsuit. The defendant, or the defendant’s personal injury lawyer, must file an answer in response to the complaint. The defendant must either admit or deny the allegations. A denial, however, requires that the defendant provide an explanation. At this point, the defendant has the option of including a counter-claim.
The Discovery Process in a Personal Injury Legal Proceeding
Discovery provides the plaintiff and the defendant with sufficient information in order to proceed with the case. The exchange of new and relevant information takes place between the parties. The plaintiff’s and the defendant’s personal injury lawyers may use interrogatories, which is a list of questions, and depositions to help gather important information. Once discovery is complete, trial may begin.
What Happens When a Personal Injury Lawsuit is Settled
Trial is unnecessary when a settlement occurs. This means that either the case never went to trial or a settlement transpired prior to a judge or the jury issuing a verdict. A settlement in a personal injury lawsuit means that the plaintiff agrees to forgo any further legal action against the defendant in exchange for monetary compensation.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable in a Personal Injury Case
The damage award in a personal injury lawsuit is intended to make the plaintiff “whole.” Depending on a plaintiff’s injuries, a plaintiff may recover general damages and special damages. General damages will include an award for pain and suffering, while special damages compensate the plaintiff for medical expenses and lost earnings.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?
The legal process, especially when a person is suffering from a severe injury, can be complex, time-consuming, and emotionally draining. An experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your personal injury claim to determine whether you have a viable lawsuit. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and recover compensation for your injuries.
If you would like to learn about whether you have a personal injury case or if you have questions regarding your legal rights, please contact us.
October 14, 2015