Whether you have been injured in an accident or are looking to recover expenses from an insurance company, filing a lawsuit can help you get the compensation you deserve. While not every case follows the same pattern, there are a few key steps that you should know before filing.
First, you will need to file a complaint, which is a formal legal document. A complaint gives details about the damages caused by the defendant. You may ask the court for monetary compensation, an injunction, or other relief.
Once you file your complaint, the defendant will be served with it. They will receive a summons, which gives them a set amount of time to respond. If they fail to respond within that time, they may file a motion to dismiss.
The next step in the process is discovery, which is the gathering and exchange of evidence. It may include requests for medical records, employment records, photographs, or other information. During discovery, parties can develop strategies that they can use during settlement negotiations.
In most cases, parties are able to settle before going to trial. This may reduce the risk of a trial. If a case does go to trial, each party has the right to choose their own jury. A jury will determine the amount of compensation awarded.
Once the lawsuit has gone to trial, the judge will explain to the jury what the law is on the facts of the case. The jury will decide whether or not the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The court will then issue a judgment, requiring the defendant to pay the plaintiff’s damages.