A personal injury lawsuit can absorb a great deal of your time and energy. It is important to understand whether you are eligible to file and if what is involved in doing so. If your injury is mild, you may not have grounds to sue in the first place, or the damages that you could receive may not be worth it. Keep in mind that if you hire an attorney to assist you in filing your lawsuit, which is generally the recommended course of action, you must pay his or her fees out of your award or settlement.
Observing the Statute of Limitations
Before attempting to file your lawsuit, you must first determine whether or not you are eligible. One of the first matters to check is the statute of limitations in the state where the injury took place. You have the right to sue until the statute of limitations expires.
The length of the statute of limitations varies by state. Some states allow you to file within six years of the injury, while others give you only one year. Keep in mind that waiting until the last minute to file could put you at risk for costly errors.
Filing and Serving Your Complaint
The complaint is an official document in which you explain in detail the harm you suffered and how the other party allegedly caused it. Once you have completed your complaint, the next steps are to file it in court and serve the other party. Serving the complaint means verifying that the other party received it. Otherwise, he or she may try to make an excuse of not knowing about the lawsuit.
If you choose to hire an attorney to represent you in your personal injury case, he or she will perform these steps for you.
Litigating on a Pre-Trial Basis
You and/or your attorney will have to meet the other party’s attorney in court before the trial to attempt to decide on matters such as whether or not to decide the case through alternative dispute resolution and if not, when to schedule the trial date. The attorneys will also update the judge on the progress of the case and share the evidence that each has gathered through a process called discovery.
The discovery process is particularly important. It allows each attorney to see how strong the other side’s case is. This allows the attorneys to advise their clients whether they would be better off going to court or settling the case.
Handling your personal injury case without an attorney can be unnecessarily complex. An attorney, like a personal injury lawyer in Memphis, TN from Patterson Bray, would like to try to help you simplify matters. Contact a law office to arrange an appointment.