How to File a Lawsuit for Personal Injury Compensation



how to file a lawsuit pic

This section covers how to file a lawsuit seeking a personal injury award. From the time you file suit to the time you appear in court, you'll have a lot on your plate. Some of the tasks include:

  • Actually filing the complaint (lawsuit)
  • Serving papers to the defendants
  • Organizing your evidence and documentation
  • Preparing arguments and statements

The hearing may differ depending on where you file your personal injury suit. Small claims courts are informal and don't require you hire a lawyer. In higher courts you'll need an attorney who can navigate the strict legal proceedures involving witnesses, judges and juries.

In This Section on How to File a Lawsuit:

Small Claims Court

Small Claims Procedures for Injury Lawsuits
Learn all the small claims court procedures for personal injury lawsuits - from filing the petition to getting the verdict. We also give some tips on how to plan your case.

Pros and Cons of Small Claims Court
If you file an injury lawsuit in small claims court, you'll be able to present your case to a judge, and in some states a jury. This maneuver can work in your favor, but in many cases it won't be worth the trouble.

How to File Small Claims Lawsuits
When filing a lawsuit in small claims court you must follow certain protocols. Your local clerk's office can give you some small claims help and the proper forms. Here we show you some How-To, take a look at what you can expect, and tell you what to avoid.

Preparing Your Small Claims Case
Effectively preparing your small claims case is perhaps the most important part of winning. This section shows the value of a well prepared argument and how to put a case together.

Making the Best Argument in Court
Actually presenting your case before the court in a small claims action can be daunting. You can help your presentation by learning how to tell an effective story and emotionally communicating your pain and suffering. Reviewing and practicing is essential.

Higher Court

What is Civil Litigation? Taking Your Case to Court
Opting for civil litigation can be a tricky decision. There are many different factors to consider including venue and jurisdiction. This section looks at reasons why the civil court process may or may not be worthwhile for your case.

Burden of Proof in Civil Court Cases
The burden of proof in a personal injury lawsuit doesn't work the same way it does in a criminal trial. If you're going to court you should make sure you fully understand this principle. It may help to review how attorneys prove their cases.

The Court of Appeals Process
Appeals court is a powerful thing. After winning your injury lawsuit, the insurance company may try to appeal the verdict, or will simply use the threat of appeal to get you to take a settlement. It pays to learn about this final step of the civil litigation process.

Arbitration

Definition and Types of Arbitration
Instead of filing a small claims lawsuit you might opt for an arbitration hearing. This section helps you understand the process of arbitration, when it applies, and gives a comparison between arbitration and small claims court.

Arbitration Clauses, Choosing an Arbiter, and Locations for the Hearing
If arbitration seems right for you, then you need to understand how to initiate the process. Here we discuss arbitration clauses, choosing an arbiter and location, and the option of hiring an attorney.

What to Expect at Arbitration Forums
The arbitration forum is a less formal environment than court, but the process is quite similar. In arbitration you'll have much more time to present your case when compared to small claims court. Learn the step-by-step process of arbitration here.

Print Friendly and PDF

How Much Is Your Case Worth?

Find out now with a FREE case review...

submit security image

Ask a Lawsuit Question

Unfortunately, we can only accept questions from the U.S.A. and we can't guarantee a response. Please proofread your submission, and DON'T WRITE IN ALL CAPS!

Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney.

Give Your Question a Title

Previous Questions & Answers...

How to find a Defendant? 
I want to file suit on a defendant for an MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident), but there was no police report made, and other than the Defendant's name I don't …

Finding the Business Address to Send a Notice of Intent to Sue... 
I am pursuing a medical malpractice case in TN pro se. TN requires a notice of intent to sue be sent to the potential defendants at least 60 days before …

Appealing a settlement? 
My mother slipped and fell in a grocery store, which nobody denies. She hired an attorney who was very rude to her and disrespectful. She had called the …

Paying for Childrens' Settlement Trust? 
I was in a car accident and my niece and nephew were in the car. They were injured and when they received their settlement it was put into a trust. The …

Suing the Owner of the Car? 
My boyfriend was driving my car and got into an accident that was his fault. I didn't have insurance and he got the ticket. The other party is now suing …

Settlement Payout for Injury as a Child... 
I was hit by a vehicle when I was 10 years old. My mother filed a lawsuit against the person that hit me and I was awarded a settlement, but she made it …

Can you reopen a case if you were under pressure to accept a low settlement? 
My daughter and I were rear-ended by a large bobtail truck and knocked unconscious, but we came to before the highway patrol and emergency workers came. …

How do I find out if a lawsuit was settled 11 years ago? 
When I was in high school 11 years ago I reported sexual harassment by my male teacher. A few more girls came forward and the teacher was arrested and …

Writing a Statement for Small Claims Court? 
I am confused with the way I should write the statement for my small claims session. I got my legs waxed at a nail salon and my legs got all burnt and …

Collecting Unpaid Settlement Award... 
I won a slip and fall lawsuit and the fault was placed on three different parties. I received payment from one of the three parties and my lawyer took …

How long can a personal injury lawsuit take? 
I signed a lease to rent a home with some written conditions of hanging light fixtures and several other things. I was given permission from the landlord …

How do I get my settlement money when I turn 18? 
I got into an accident when I was 17 and there was ligament damage to my left knee. I got treatment for approximately two months and afterwards I was told …

Small Claims Question... 
I borrowed my neighbor's car. She told me it would make it to Michigan. The car broke down in Lakesville, Indiana. It had major engine problems related …

Problems Getting to Trial... 
I was walking across the street in a crosswalk and was struck by a car. While I was trying to get a personal injury trial the defendant's lawyer fabricated …

Should I file a lawsuit against this restaurant? 
My family went out to eat at a restaurant. My son climbed into the booth and cut his knee. The manager told us to go to the emergency room and have them …

Can I get sued if someone stepped on a nail on my property? 
A year ago, we were renovating our new home. We hired a private contractor to fix up the house. There was construction about every other day. The renovation …

Auto Insurance Liability Question... 
I co-signed on a car for my daughter and therefore had to be listed on the insurance policy for the vehicle along with her. She is the principal driver. …

Cause of Action for Loss of Fetus in New York? 
Can a plaintiff recover any damage award for losing her fetus after falling down (not a medical malpractice cause of action)? In what circumstance would …

Can I Change the Amount of Demand After Filing a Lawsuit? 
While driving my compact car in October 2007, I was completely stopped at a red light waiting for oncoming traffic to clear (in order to make a right turn) …

Can I sue if I fall in a shopping mall? 
I was in a shopping mall, pushing my 3 1/2 month old in her stroller when I slipped and fell on some spilled coffee. I fell to my knees, ended up bruising …

Do I Have a Valid Lawsuit for Trip on Stairs? 
I was visiting a friend at his apartment complex and I fell down the stairs. The stairway had a break in the landing creating a tripping hazard. I …

How can I get a court judgment dismissed? 
In Mississippi, approximately 7 years ago, my son's fiance (who was 17 years old at the time), was driving on a narrow dirt road (not even two lanes), …

Waiting for Settlement Check... 
On April 4, 2011 we settled my personal injury case at mediation. It has now been 51 days and I still have not received payment. I'm wondering what's the …

Personal Injury Mediation Question... 
I have a personal injury case and I'm really hating the opposing lawyers, and the case just started. They are pulling very shady moves (and of course they …

Click here to write your own.

Appealing a Personal Injury Settlement... 
I have a concern about a current case... If a personal injury settlement is awarded by a jury and the defendant appeals the award amount, is there a limitation …

Motion to amend a pro se medical malpractice complaint... 
I filed a pro se medical malpractice complaint in Davidson County Tennessee District Court. On the complaint I put the wrong surgery date. I need to amend …

Is a verbal agreement binding in a settlement?  
I agreed to the settlement currently on the table but since then I've changed my mind. I have not yet signed any papers or releases, everything is verbal …

Who can rightfully sue in the interest of a minor child? 
My daughter and I were in a car accident in which I was issued a failure to yield citation. The traffic case is not yet settled. At present her father, …

Teen Car Crash Liability? 
There was a teen car crash when my 16 year old son was driving down a dirt road, had a blow out and hit a tree. He had two other boys with him, one is …

Getting Sued for Alleged Affair... 
My wife and I are being sued by the husband of a lady friend of mine. He is accusing me of having an affair with his wife. He has been caught several times …

Slip and Fall in a Store, Can I reopen a lawsuit? 
I slipped and fell in a store and suffered a mild concussion about a year ago. I now suffer with post-concussion syndrome. I didn't seek legal help when …

Can I request punitive damage in small claims court? 
I loaned money to a friend to help cover costs for a family emergency. I drafted and had him sign a promissory note indicating that he would repay the …

Rear-End 18 Wheeler Crash with Personal Injuries... 
In this 18 wheeler crash, a person was rear-ended at a red light by a tractor trailer, sustained a slipped disc, and under went surgery. How does a …

Medical Bills, Pain and Suffering Exceed the At-Fault Driver's Insurance Limits... 
I was in an auto accident and the other party was at fault. The accident resulted in myself having a torn rotator cuff and muscle in right shoulder, also …

Legal Grounds for Filing a Personal Injury Suit... 
I was called to work on a vehicle by the owner on the side of the road. In order to get the vehicle started I had to go under the hood to crank it and …

Suing for Punitive Damages in Small Claims Court? 
I live in St Thomas, Virgin Islands I am requesting that the court grant me Punitive Damages brought on by the conscious conduct of my niece during the …

Requesting Trial by Jury in Personal Injury Defense Case... 
I want to go to trial because someone ran a red light and is now suing me. I definitely want to request a jury trial and I plan on denying any settlement …

Can I be Sued Personally for Neglect in Auto Accident Case? 
I am being sued for a rear-end collision. I was just served notice for the Court Clerk. The incident happened many months ago. I paid the ticket and my …

Denial of personal injury claim by adjuster... 
I wrote a demand letter using an example on your website. It was for a compensation of fracture injury I suffered due to a fall which occurred 23 months …

Should I Take the Settlement Offer or Go to Trial?  
I was involved in an auto accident 7 yrs ago where my wife & 3 children were in the vehicle. We were rear ended while stopped at a traffic light. My …

Can I sue for more than the defendant's insurance policy limits? 
I was at a stop light in heavy traffic, had been being tailgated by an SUV, I was in a civic. When the light turned green I began going forward along with …

To Arbitrate or Go To Trial? 
I was rear ended in an auto accident in 2003 resulting in 3 surgeries & permanent injury to my wrist, shoulder and collarbone. The court date is this August. …

Click here to write your own.

> Filing a Lawsuit