Proper document filing is a necessity for those who plan to file a car accident lawsuit. If your documents aren’t processed timely and in the correct manner, it could seriously damage your case, possibly having it thrown out. Don’t let that happen. Here’s a simple guideline to how you can file a car accident lawsuit.

A Car Accident Lawsuit: How To File It Properly

In most U.S. states, litigation starts when a plaintiff files a complaint, which is referred to as the petition in some areas. It appears in the form of the document with numbered paragraphs describing what transpired, along with claimed damages and the legality for bringing forward the lawsuit. Once the complaint has been filed by the plaintiff, litigation officially starts.

Deliver the Complaint to the Defendants

A key aspect of the American legal system involves offering notice to those who’ve become the subject of legal proceedings. For example, should a state decide to charge someone with a crime, the accused has the right to be made aware of the charges, while also being provided with the opportunity to mount a defense in court. For instance, although litigation involving truck collisions is considered a civil rather than criminal case, notice must still be provided to the subject of the suit, prior to the commencement of proceedings. This usually involves physically serving a copy for the complaint, along with the summons, to the defendant.

There are specific guidelines which govern who exactly should serve a complaint, when the complaint should be delivered and the method used, all of which will vary from one state to another. If you’re unsure, seek legal guidance. However, in most cases, plaintiffs have approximately thirty days, and the deadline may be extended, particularly in scenarios where defendants must be tracked down.

The Defendant Will File a Reply

In the reply, a defendant will respond to the complaint from the plaintiff, while denying or admitting any factual allegations listed within the complaint. With the reply, a defendant can also put forth their legal defense. 

Discovery

This is the phase where both parties will exchange information that is relevant for uncovering evidence. Discovery is designed to offer opportunities for both sides to view the facts, enabling them to plan their aspect of the case, such as building arguments and presenting evidence. Additionally, discovery will include things like interrogatories, which are questions that are written down, along with requests for documents to be produced, and depositions to be taken, which are verbal statements made under oath.

Trial

Once the discovery phase has been completed, the case moves on to the final phase, trial. By this time, both the plaintiff and the defendant should have all the information necessary to argue their case for or against the complaint. The trial will involve each side making their opening statements, after which the plaintiff must present evidence, which could involve both documents and oral testimony.

The defendant will cross examine the witnesses of the plaintiff, while presenting their own case. The plaintiff will also cross examine the witnesses of the defendant, and subsequently provide closing statements. Once this is done a jury, or the judge for bench trials, must deliberate based on the preponderance of evidence, derive upon a verdict in favor of either the plaintiff or the defendant, and enter the judgment accordingly. 

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