How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
There are a lot of complicated steps, but an attorney can help you navigate the process
You may be entitled to compensation if you were hurt in an accident due to negligence, but sometimes the only way to recover what you truly deserve is to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages from the at-fault party.
If you’re considering a lawsuit in Texas or Oklahoma, it’s in your interest to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You don’t want to make any mistakes that could lengthen the process or compromise the success of your case.
At Hoover Rogers Law, LLP, our personal injury attorneys are here to guide you through the process. If you were injured and you want to know your potential legal options, contact us today for a free injury case consultation.
What is a personal injury lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is a civil action that a plaintiff can take to hold a defendant liable for the plaintiff’s accident-related expenses, which are referred to as damages in the legal world. To have a successful lawsuit, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff to suffer damages as a result.
Who can file a lawsuit?
The person who files a lawsuit is called the plaintiff, and anybody can file. The party that the plaintiff is filing against is called the defendant.
In certain situations, someone else may be able to file a lawsuit on behalf of another person. In cases involving a fatal accident or injury, a family member or personal representative of the deceased’s estate may take legal action against the negligent party responsible for their loved one’s death.
The rules and exceptions are strict and vary by state. That’s why it is in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer to review your rights.
What can I be compensated for?
Personal injury lawsuits often seek compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses. This includes costs related to your medical care and treatment, including prescription medications, surgery, hospital trips, etc. Future treatments, therapy, and modifications to your home if you have a permanent disability will also be considered when your lawyer calculates the value of your claim.
- Lost wages. You can be compensated for the pay you lost when you missed work due to your injury. Likewise, if your injury prevents you from returning to work or causes you to take on lighter duty, you should also be compensated for that loss.
- Property damage. In lawsuits involving car accidents, this may include the cost to repair or replace your vehicle. In other cases, it can consist of damage to your house, your business, or other personal property.
- Replacement services. You may need to hire someone to help you with housekeeping, childcare, and other responsibilities while you recover from your injury. These expenses should be included in your lawsuit.
- Pain and suffering. This is a non-economic loss, meaning there is no fixed dollar amount tied to it, but no less real than an economic loss such as medical bills or lost income. The rules regarding compensation for pain and suffering vary from state to state.
Again, you deserve to be compensated for all your accident-related expenses, but calculating the actual value of your lawsuit can be difficult with the help of a personal injury attorney who knows how the civil justice system works in your state.
Where can I file?
Since a personal injury lawsuit is considered a civil action, you will need to file in a civil court. That’s why it is important that you have a personal injury lawyer with trial experience who knows the courts in your jurisdiction. In some cases, you may be able to decide which district court to file your lawsuit.
Lawsuit process step by step
Before you officially file your lawsuit, you and your attorney must prepare. This usually means gathering as much evidence as possible to support your case. Once ready, the formal process will begin.
The demand letter. You will have to write a letter explaining why the defendant is liable for your injury and how much money you believe you should receive. Your attorney may suggest a deadline for the defendant to pay said money. If they fail to comply, legal action will be taken.
The complaint letter. When the defendant does not act in accordance with the demand letter, a new letter must be written. This time the letter will be addressed to the court. It will include the same information as the demand letter with a few more added details. The plaintiff and defendant's names and addresses must be in the letter. If they are absent or incorrect, the judge could dismiss the entire case.
Defendant’s response. The defendant has the right to respond to the complaint letter, although no response is often a typical response. They can also file a lawsuit, request to dismiss your lawsuit or ask for more information on why you are taking legal action.
Settlement or trial. Many cases are settled outside of court. But trial preparation will begin if you and the defendant cannot reach a settlement agreement. If the judge rules in your favor, the defendant will have to compensate you.
Get the help you need from an experienced personal injury lawyer
Whether you were hurt in Wichita Falls or Lawton, our legal team is ready to fight for you. Don’t miss your opportunity for justice. It is easy for something to go wrong when taking legal action, and if you’re not careful, you could miss out on the compensation you deserve.
Increase your chances of success and get one of the personal injury lawyers at Hoover Rogers Law, LLP, to represent you. Our highly skilled legal team offers representation on a contingency fee basis, and we would be honored to talk to you about your potential legal case.
Contact us today for a free injury case consultation.