If you are ever involved in a personal injury accident, it’s only natural to think that the other party is at fault. If the other party really is at fault, you should file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. It’s also imperative that you hire a good personal injury lawyer in Richmond, to help you navigate the ever-complex maze of personal injury law. Your lawyer will tell you the following about filing a personal injury lawsuit or claim.
Certain factors and details will influence how and where you file a claim
It may seem difficult to believe, but how and where you will be filing your personal injury claim or a lawsuit is largely determined by what your losses were and their severity. Your personal injury lawyer will also tell you that the person you are trying to obtain a settlement from and the location of the accident are also important factors.
You can sue in small claims court
If the property damage and bodily injuries you sustained were minor, your personal injury lawyer may recommend that you file your claim or lawsuit in a small claims court. The settlement amount you are asking for must be at least $3,000 and can’t be more than $5,000 in most states. Remember to properly serve the defendant. The court and judge may dismiss your claim or case if you don’t.
What to do if you want to file in civil court
If your damages are greater than $5,000, your personal injury lawyer will tell you to file your claim or lawsuit in a civil court. You will need to know and do the following in this instance.
You’ll need to file your case or claim in the proper jurisdiction or venue
You must file your case or claim in a court having the authority to make a ruling or judgment on it. This is referred to as jurisdiction. The court must also be in the right location (venue). If you are filing a federal personal injury claim or case, you’ll need to do so in a court having federal jurisdiction. However, any other case can be filed in a civil court in any part of US that has the jurisdiction to hear your case or claim and is in the proper venue.
Rest assured that most civil courts will be able to hear your personal injury claim or case. You’ll probably be filing the case or claim in a court in your county.
The initial documents you’ll need to provide
Your personal injury lawyer will draft all necessary initial documents for you. You can draft the documents yourself (though this is not recommended.) Go online and type in your local court’s website. URL. When you are there, you want to navigate to the local rules that dictate how you are to file ‘pleadings.’ Then, look for a ‘complaint’ form and proceed to fill it out according to the instructions.
If your court’s website has a sample pleading, you should use that as a reference source when drafting your pleading. You’ll want to note the type of information the form asks you to provide. You can figure out the documents that need to accompany your pleading by referring to the court’s website.
Filing the complaint
When the big day comes, you’ll want to accompany your personal injury lawyer. The two of you will take your complaint and file it with the clerk at your local courthouse.
Most courthouses require you to pay the processing fee of $200 – $300 either with a check or in cash.
Service of process
Once you’ve officially filed the complaint, the next step is to give the defendant a copy of the papers you have filed. This is referred to as providing ‘effective service!’ Remember to do this – your case may be dismissed by the courts if you don’t. You must provide the courthouse with tangible evidence that you have provided ‘effective service’ to the defendant.
The clerk at the courthouse can tell you how to provide the right service of process. Though they can vary by jurisdiction, most courts allow anyone who is a legal adult to serve (represent) the defendant. That person must be a neutral party in relation to the case or claim.
You can win your case
You can win your personal injury claim or case in court provided you hire a good personal injury lawyer and know the information discussed in this article.