What is Involved in Starting a Lawsuit?

There are a number of stages that every lawsuit must go through before a case is heard in court. The very first stage is meeting with a lawyer and discussing your case. If your attorney thinks you have a valid claim, then your attorney will file legal papers known as "pleadings" to initiate your claim within the court system. Here, our personal injury attorney in Wilmington NC explains the process of starting a lawsuit.

Initial Consultation

Before you can start a lawsuit, you need to have a consultation with a personal injury attorney. During this meeting, you will provide your attorney with all of the facts pertaining to your case, such as what happened, when, and where. You should also provide your lawyer with all of the documents and evidence you have pertaining to your case as well as your insurance information if you were involved in an auto accident. The more prepared you are for your initial interview, the shorter the process will take.

In most cases, an attorney will not immediately take the case. They will review your evidence further and then contact you at a later time to discuss your legal options if they decide to take your case. At this point, you will be called back to the attorney's office to complete the paperwork for filing.

Filing the Complaint

The first document of a case's pleadings is the "complaint." The complaint provides an overview of the plaintiff's case against the defendant. This document identifies the parties involved in the suit and set the legal basis for the court's jurisdiction over the case. It also states the plaintiff's legal claims as well as the facts that give rise to the claims. A demand for judgment or "prayer for relief" is also included. It is in this section that the plaintiff sets forth what he or she wants the court to require the defendant to do, such as pay damages.

A Summons is Issued

After the complaint has been filed and the case determined valid, the court will then issue a "summons" to the defendant notifying them that they are being sued. The summons will also include reference to the complaint and provide the time limit in which the defendant must file an answer or seek to have the case dismissed. The defendant will also be informed of the consequences should they fail to respond within the directed time limit.

The Defendant's Answer

If the defendant responds to the summons as directed, it is called an "answer." In most cases, defendant chooses from three responses: admitted, denied, or insufficient knowledge to admit or deny. In some cases, a defendant may issue a counterclaim against the plaintiff if they believe they have a claim that arose out of the same circumstances as those that led to the initial complaint being filed.

Every Lawsuit is Complex. Get the Help You Need – Call Bain & Rodzik Today

If you have suffered an injury at the hands of another and you think you have a case against them, don't go it alone. Personal injury cases are extremely complex and an experienced personal injury attorney can improve your chances of a positive outcome.

At Bain & Rodzik, we're committed to helping our clients get the justice and compensation they deserve. If you think you have a lawsuit, call us today at 910-762-1199 to schedule a free initial consultation with our personal injury attorney in Wilmington NC. We'll look over your case and should we choose to take it, you won't pay us a penny unless we're victorious.