This section covers how to file a lawsuit for personal injury damages.
From the time you file suit to when you appear in court, you’ll have a lot on your plate. Some of the tasks include:
- Actually filing the lawsuit
- Serving papers to the defendant
- Organizing your evidence
- Preparing your case arguments
The court hearing will differ depending on where you file your lawsuit. Small claims courts are informal and don’t require an attorney. In higher courts, you’ll need an experienced lawyer who can navigate through strict legal procedures. You can also opt for arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution.
How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit:
Learn the basic process of filing a personal injury lawsuit in small claims court. We include tips on how to plan your case, prepare witnesses and evidence, and present your argument effectively in court.
If you file an injury lawsuit in small claims court, you’ll be able to present your case to a judge, and perhaps even a jury. This maneuver can work in your favor, but in certain situations it won’t be worth the trouble.
When filing a lawsuit in small claims court, you must follow certain protocols. Your local clerk’s office can help you with the details and provide the proper forms. Here we take a look at what you can expect in the filing process.
Thoroughly preparing for your small claims trial is perhaps the most important part of winning. This section shows you how to organize and present your evidence, and how to make the most convincing case.
Actually presenting your case before a small claims court can be daunting. You can help your presentation by learning how to tell an effective story and presenting your evidence the right way.
Opting for a civil lawsuit can be a tough decision. There are many factors to consider including venue and jurisdictional limits. This section looks at why civil court may or may not be worthwhile in your situation.
The burden of proof in a personal injury lawsuit doesn’t work the same way as in a criminal trial. If you’re heading to court, make sure you fully understand this principle. It may also help to review how attorneys prove their cases.
After winning a lawsuit, the defendant 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 a few things about this final step of the civil litigation process.
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.
If arbitration seems right for you, then you need to understand how the process works. Here we discuss arbitration clauses, choosing an arbitrator and location, and the option of hiring an attorney to represent you.
Arbitration is less formal than court, but the process is similar. In arbitration, you’ll have more time to present your case and be able to take breaks. Learn the process of arbitration and get some tips to make the process go smoothly.
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Visitor Questions on Filing a Lawsuit
Not even in the accident, how can passengers in other car sue me? My adult child was traveling straight, and someone else made a left turn in front of them. The other driver has no insurance. At first he claimed it was his fault, now he is blaming my adult child. Two of his passengers are suing ME! Child’s name and Dad’s name is on the title. Child... Read More >>
Which state to file a lawsuit? The tire fell off the rim of a business truck driving on a flat tire in Arizona and hit my car at around 60-70 mph. The business owner’s insurance company wants to total my car for $1500, which is less than the estimate to repair it. The business is located in California, and the truck... Read More >>
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 have any other information to go on. Is there any way I can get his information from his insurance company? If so, how do I go... Read More >>
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 a complaint can be filed (http://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2010/title-29/chapter-26/part-1/29-26-121/). This can be done either by process server or by certified mail. I’m planning on using both methods, just... Read More >>
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 Bar Association many times to complain, but never actually filed a complaint on paper. She’s very ill mentally and physically. Anyway, the statute of limitations runs out... Read More >>
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. My daughter and I had an attorney for about 4 years who refused to put a lien on our medical care and my daughter didn’t even have compensation until... Read More >>
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 charged. He then confessed. One if the girls admitted to having a voluntary sexual relationship with the teacher. Her parents decided to file a lawsuit after... Read More >>
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 bruised. I have to write a statement of why I would like to sue them I just don’t know a good way to... Read More >>
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 his fee out of that check, leaving the remaining settlement amount from the other 2 parties to all go to me. Over 10 years have now... Read More >>
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 to come in and clean up even before the lease began. A few days later I and several others came and began cleaning. While hanging a shower curtain... Read More >>
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 that I would get money for the accident and the pain it caused me. I’m supposed to get $8,000 dollars but the judge said I... Read More >>
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 call him. He would tell them where to send the medical bill because they would pay it. So we did. My son had... Read More >>
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 took almost a year before it was finally finished. By then the construction was done and the workers were all gone. We moved in and had lived... Read More >>
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) when I was rear-ended by an SUV. Police responded to the scene and found the other driver at fault. Due to severe pain in my neck... Read More >>
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), in a friend’s vehicle. Another car was approaching and they collided. No one was hurt. The police were called and the officer did NOT give either one... Read More >>
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 normal time frame for receiving settlement payment? Is there anything I can do to speed it up? Read More >>
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 my complaint to correct the date and to also add defendants. Do I have to get permission from the court to strike and amend or can I file... Read More >>
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 at this point. Is that binding? Read More >>
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, who has not yet been recognized by the courts to have any parental rights beyond visitation (VAP – Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity – was signed,... Read More >>
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 16 and the other is 14. The two 16 year old boys had on seat belts but the 14 year... Read More >>
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 I settled with the company. Can I re-open a personal injury lawsuit? Read More >>
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 amount in 5 installments over a period of 5 months which ends next month. To date, I have received 1 “good” payment. He has given me... Read More >>
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 when I got it started the car automatically came out of gear. The vehicle smashed me in between it and... Read More >>
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 death of my mother for financial and mental injuries. My mother lived in Hollis, New York, my niece was with her on the day she died, she... Read More >>
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 that puts me at fault in any way. This is why I will have to represent myself, because personal injury attorneys, like insurance... Read More >>
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 insurance has taken care of the party’s medical expenses, etc. Is it possible for the party to seek more damages for “neglect”? Read More >>
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 prior to sending the claim to the insured of the business where I fell. I received a letter after 2 months in response to my claim... Read More >>
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 wife was treated for about six months, the children for only 2 weeks, and myself for 7 yrs which I also had back surgery... Read More >>
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 two discs in my neck were herniated. Medical bills for both surgeries are estimated at $58,000 and lost wages at $36,000. I was told the other... Read More >>
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 the cars in front of me but the car behind me lagged. Then the SUV gunned it and went up on the median... Read More >>