Stages of a Personal Injury Lawsuit: Filing Paperwork

Apr 8, 2016 — by Gary Zucker
Tags: Personal Injury

Going over paperwork in a caseThe legal team of Gary A. Zucker & Associates has helped countless clients in and around Brooklyn with their legal claims, providing expert counsel and fighting diligently in every case that comes their way. Personal injury and accident lawsuits can be complicated, so having skilled counsel on your side can go a long way toward successful case resolutions.

We'd like to use the next few posts to look at the legal process in a step-by-step manner. First, let's look at how to start a personal injury lawsuit and what is involved.

Pay Attention to the Statute of Limitations

Before you start filing the paperwork, it's important to note the statute of limitations on your case. A statute of limitations is a set amount of time during which you can file an injury lawsuit. Failure to begin the legal process within this set amount of time means that your case will not be able to proceed.

For injury cases in the state of New York, the statute of limitations is 3 years to the date of the injury of the person. This can vary to some degree depending on the nature of the case, so it's best to get the process started as soon as possible.

Filing a Complaint/Petition

The first step is the filing of the complaint, which is also sometimes referred to as a petition. The complaint will outline the legal claim of the plaintiff, identify the defendant in the case, and outline the basics of the incident that led to the injury. It's common for complaints to contain some sort of demand for judgment/prayer of relief, which will request that the defendant in the case pay damages or be subject to other kinds of legal penalties.

Legal Summons and Service of Process

Once a complaint is filed, it's the defendant must then be served with a legal summons. The summons informs the defendant of the plaintiff's legal intentions, and there is often a set amount of time in which ti respond to the summons. Since the summons is served, that means the defendant must identify himself or herself when the summons is given.

Once the defendant is served, the court is then given jurisdiction over the case.

The Defendant Responds to the Complaint

The defendant must offer an answer to the plaintiff's legal complaint. This can take one of three different forms:

  • Admitted
  • Denied
  • Insufficient knowledge to admit or deny

Sometimes in the answer by the defendant, it may provide a reason why the defendant is not legally liable for the injuries sustained by the plaintiff.

Counterclaims and Cross-Claims

In some cases, a defendant may file a counterclaim against the plaintiff, which is like making a complaint. The plaintiff will be served and expected to provide an answer to the defendant's counterclaim.

When there are multiple parties involved in a case, there may be cross-claims filed. This essentially means additional complaints issued by and directed at various parties involved.

Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help with This Process

As you can imagine, filing this paperwork and setting the wheels in motion can be a complicated process, and perhaps even frustrating. This is why it's important to work with a skilled personal injury attorney. We will provide assistance and guidance every step of the way so that you can make strong legal decisions and avoid mistakes that will set back your case.

Contact Gary A. Zucker & Associates

For more information about filing a lawsuit and the different steps involved, be sure to contact our team of personal injury lawyers today. The attorneys of Gary A. Zucker & Associates will work with you and fight for your rights every step of the way.

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