How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit 

 July 23, 2013

By  LMW Attorneys

If you’ve been injured through the intentional or negligent wrongdoing of another, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party, or plaintiff, asks the court to award damages to cover the costs of the injury.

Personal injury lawsuits may result from car accidents, product defects, medical malpractice, or any other type of accident that may occur. Here are some concepts to help you understand how to file a lawsuit.

Statute of limitations. When you’ve been injured, it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Each state has a statute of limitations governing the maximum amount of time that may elapse between when the injury occurs and when the lawsuit is filed. Once the designated time period has elapsed, the injured party loses all entitlement to a legal remedy. Statute of limitations exists to preserve evidence.

Overtime, the evidence linking the defendant to your injury may be lost. An experienced attorney will have exact information regarding your jurisdiction’s statute of limitations and can help you determine when to file your lawsuit.

Contingency fees. Legal fees in personal injury lawsuits are based on contingency. That means that you do not need to pay an hourly legal fee, rather, the attorney will collect a percentage of the damages you receive. If you are not awarded damages, the lawyer does not collect a fee.

Reputable lawyers will not ask to be paid an hourly fee to take your case. Contingency fees encourage attorneys to only take cases they believe they can win. An attorney who collects an hourly fee may not be confident in his or her ability to win your case.

Defenses. When you bring a personal injury lawsuit, the other party becomes the defendant. He or she will be given an opportunity to provide a defense of his or her actions. Often a defendant will allege that the plaintiff was responsible for the injury incurred.

The defendant’s attorney will investigate the accident and try to assess if you are at fault in any way for the accident. This can be a stressful and painful experience, so plaintiffs should be prepared to face this scrutiny before filing their lawsuit.

On average, personal injury lawsuits last 2-3 years from start to finish. Hiring an aggressive, qualified attorney will help you navigate the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.