Maybe you were injured in a car accident.
Or maybe you were injured when you slipped and fell in a store parking lot.
You may have suffered a work injury.
If you incurred medical expenses, lost wages, lost property, or any other loss, you might be wondering how to sue someone to be reimbursed for what you lost.
So how exactly do you go about suing someone?
A Quick Note About Settlements
It is important to note that most injury claims settle outside of court, especially for auto accidents as states require drivers to carry certain standards of auto insurance coverage and employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance to cover injuries to workers hurt on the job
Court costs can be expensive, and cases are very public, so despite what TV shows show you to make a plot more dramatic, much of a personal injury case takes place behind-the-scenes and never even reaches court.
Oftentimes a settlement it what is best for all parties involved.
Whether you were anxious about having to speak on the stand, or excited to be a part of a trial, the truth is that going to trial isn’t to most common outcome to a personal injury lawsuit.
Suing in Small Claims Court
For some people, a small claims action may be in order.
You may be able to file that yourself depending upon the amount of your losses.
In Illinois, if those losses are $10,000 or less, you can file a claim in small claims court.
In Iowa, if the losses are $6,500 or less, you can do the same.
Various other states have different amounts so the first thing to do is determine where you were injured, the amount of damages you incurred, and then decide whether your case can be tried in small claims court or at a higher level.
If the amount of your losses exceeds the amount allowed in small claims, you will have to file a lawsuit in a different court.
Filing a Lawsuit in District and Circuit Courts
In Iowa, those courts are called district courts. In Illinois, they are called circuit courts. There are also workers compensation commissions, federal courts, and state and federal rules that explain which court is the right court to file with.
How to File a Lawsuit
After you determine where to file the lawsuit, you will need to figure out how to file a lawsuit and what legal claims you want to bring, such as a claim of negligence against a truck driver who struck your vehicle after blowing through a red light.
You will also need to figure out what to plead (or say) in your lawsuit.
You also have to serve the lawsuit on the proper defendants and engage in “discovery,” such as written questions and answers (interrogatories), take depositions (testimony), engage in legal research, and prepare for trial.
Types of Damages
Furthermore, you will have to decide what injuries you have sustained such as medical bills, lost financial support, loss of companionship, funeral costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, or vehicle repair and replacement among others.
In certain cases, it may be possible to obtain punitive damages, which are designed to punish the defendants for their behavior.
Simply Call VanDerGinst Law
It’s a difficult process fraught with legalese, deadlines, and often skilled attorneys on the other side.
There are no fool-proof “how-to” manuals to walk you through the process.
If any of this sounds confusing, it is.
It’s difficult to navigate the legal system on your own. So if you think you have a lawsuit, give us a call. We’re happy to discuss your case with you for free.
And if we accept your case, you won’t owe us a dime unless you win and are compensated for your losses.