How Do I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you’re thinking about filing an injury lawsuit, and this is your first time — you may have a lot of questions and concerns. Is this a long, difficult process? Is it worth the time and effort? Do I have to appear in court? How likely am I to win the case? Not to worry because Dutko Law is here to help you through this tough time. If you’re wondering, “How do I file a personal injury lawsuit?” you’ve come to the right spot. Our nearby legal office has years of experience. So, we can let you know what to expect going into this process. Plus, we can help you through it each step of the way. Depending on your specific circumstances, it could be a long process. Or, it may be a quick personal injury settlement.
What is a Personal Injury?
Instead of property being damaged, a personal injury involves damage to someone’s body, emotions, or mind. It’s important to remember that each personal injury case is different partially because there are many different types of personal injury. It could involve a slip and fall, an automobile accident, a wrongful death, a product defect, a dog bite, medical malpractice, and much more.
Even though accidents are a common occurrence, it doesn’t take away from the fact that you or your loved one has been injured. And there are many hardships you may be dealing with because of the accident. You might be faced with medical bills, time out of work, emotional damage, and more. If your incident happened because of someone else’s negligence, they should have to face the consequences. But you do need to consider how hard it will be to make your case. Is the other party clearly at fault? Can you prove their fault?
Does Insurance Cover the Accident?
If you think that someone else is at fault for your incident, you should find out if they have insurance that could cover it. You don’t want to put all the time and effort into winning your case only to find out the negligent person has no insurance and no assets. Additionally, you should take a look at your own insurance coverage. Will they cover the injuries or offer any other solutions for you?
Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you haven’t been seriously injured, and you have a straight-forward case that you think you can make yourself — you should still at least consult with an accident lawyer nearby. Here at Dutko Law, we actually offer free consultations. We can look at the validity of your case and discuss what options you have moving forward.
If you have more than a minor injury, you should hire an injury lawyer. You may be in a complicated case due to an injury that has a major impact on your life, and the defendant is going to fight you on it. A lawyer can help you avoid making any costly mistakes along the way. In order to get the compensation you deserve, you need to have an attorney with a vast knowledge of personal injury law. Oftentimes, individuals who find a good lawyer, are compensated better. But, again, every case is different.
What is a Summons and Complaint?
These are the documents that you start a lawsuit with. The complaint (or sometimes called a petition) is a document that lays down the basis for your personal injury lawsuit. Not only does this document identify the parties that are involved. Additionally, it includes the facts regarding the incident and your legal theory behind the suit. The defendant will have to respond with an answer to the allegations.
The summons is an official notification of the lawsuit. Once a representative from the court signs that, it will go to the defendant. You’ll have to have someone serve your summons and complaint. This usually needs to be done within 30 days of your complaint being filed. But you can probably get an extension through the court if you’re having trouble locating and serving the defendant. Also, you’ll have to pay a filing fee. Usually, that can range from $100 to $400, depending on the type of lawsuit and the court you’re going through.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
This is the deadline you have to meet when filing a personal injury claim. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years. But this can vary from state to state. Once this time period passes, you can no longer bring the case to court.
Will I have to Go to Trial for a Personal Injury?
Really, this depends on the specific details of your case. Many personal injury incidents are settled outside of court or in the pre-trial phases. This is usually the best outcome for both parties — you get to avoid a long, costly process. But some cases do go to trial. Before you take a settlement or talk to a representative from the defendant’s insurance company, you should speak with a knowledgeable attorney. They’ll have a better idea of what kind of settlement is fair for you. Plus, the insurance company will know that you should be taken seriously.
How Much can I Recover?
The amount of money that is recovered varies from case to case. Usually, if you have very serious injuries, you’ll recover more money. It’s important that you keep documentation that will help build your case. This may include medical bills and records as well as photos and proof of the wages that you lost. A personal injury lawyer would be able to identify exactly what documents you need for your case.
Need an Injury Lawyer Nearby? Contact Us Today!
If you’re injured and need an attorney, reach out to us at Dutko Law. We proudly serve the Lehigh and Berks County areas. Not only do we offer help filing a personal injury claim. Our team will support you throughout the entire claims process and be there to represent you in court — if it comes to that. If you’re thinking, “How do I file a personal injury lawsuit?” contact our law firm. There’s no need for you to go it alone, especially when we’re here to help you out.