How a Personal Injury Lawsuit Works


A lawsuit starts when a plaintiff files a complaint with the court. The plaintiff then gives a copy of the complaint to the defendant, who then has a limited time to respond. The complaint outlines the plaintiff’s claim for damages and describes the legal basis for holding the defendant liable. The court will then issue a ruling on the case.

If the plaintiff’s case is complex, it may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer. The legal process of a lawsuit differs between states, but it follows the same basic trajectory. The plaintiff lists facts in the complaint, which must also include a prayer for relief. The plaintiff is asking the court to award damages for his or her suffering.

During discovery, the defendant responds to the complaint by denying the plaintiff’s claim, filing a counterclaim, or making a motion for default judgment. The plaintiff can also move for a default judgment in certain circumstances, but a default judgment is unlikely in a personal injury case. During discovery, the parties will exchange evidence and documents. The goal is to gather relevant information and help the parties reach a settlement. The defendant’s attorney may ask for depositions, which are interviews of witnesses.

The defendant can also request that the plaintiff undergo a physical examination. The defendant will appoint a doctor, but the plaintiff must attend the appointment or the case could be thrown out. If the plaintiff fails to attend the examination, the court may order the plaintiff to pay for the examination and dismiss the case.

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