How do I file injury charges against somebody?

If you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another person, business or entity there are certain steps you should take immediately. Recently on our legal forum a user asked, "How do I file an injury claim against another person?"

Steps to file a personal Injury lawsuit

1. Collect evidence about the accident

The first step after an injury is to get proper medical care. The next step is to gather information about the incident. Collect all medical bills, lost wage information, and information about the accident, including photographs, witness statements, contact information and details about what happened.

2. Determine if you have the right to file a claim

Next, review the elements of the case. Remember, to file a personal injury claim and win you will need to be able to prove the defendant had a duty towards you, they breached that duty, their breach was the proximate cause of your injuries, and you have suffered loss or injury.

Consider also, if you have been in a car accident certain states do not allow claimants to file an injury lawsuit unless their injuries are serious or reach a certain monetary threshold. Review car accident laws in your state before you try to file a car accident lawsuit.

3. Review the statute of limitations in your state

Although you could have one to two years in some states to file an injury claim, laws vary by state. Review the laws in your state, and talk to an injury lawyer. If you allow the statute of limitations to expire you could lose your right to file a personal injury case.

4. Consider your settlement options

In some cases it is best for all parties to resolve an injury case without going to trial. Before settling, however, you may want to talk to an injury lawyer and have them negotiate a monetary settlement for you. If you hire a lawyer they will likely send the defendant a demand letter which outlines the liability and damages for the injured party and asks for a particular amount of money to resolve the case early without filing a lawsuit.

5. Filing the lawsuit

If you have done all of the above and you have hired a personal injury lawyer they can help you file a complaint against the defendant. The defendant has a specified number of days to respond to the complaint. After the complaint is filed and the defendant responds, discovery will be initiated. This process includes interrogatories, request for production of documentation, and depositions.

After discovery the case generally goes to mediation where the parties agree to a dollar figure to settle the case, thus preventing the case from going to trial. Only a small number of personal injury cases will proceed to court.

Bottom line:

If you are injured you should seek medical care and document everything. You should talk to an injury lawyer and make sure you understand the injury laws in your state. All actions must be taken within your state's statute of limitations. Finally, keep an open mind about resolving your case through mediation and avoiding court.

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