How to File a Lawsuit: 7 Steps

how to file a lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit after an accident can help you receive compensation for your losses and hold an at-fault party responsible for the injuries and/or damages you experienced. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident or another type of accident, you may be wondering exactly how you can file a lawsuit and what the process entails.

To file a lawsuit, you can start by submitting a legal claim for your losses and suing the responsible party. You may sue multiple people, but the causes of action must be related. From this, you may be able to negotiate a settlement. If you are not sure where to begin, we can help you understand the process and provide you with the important steps you should take when filing your claim.

Because all cases and lawsuits are different, we suggest you discuss your case with one of our lawyers at Schwartzapfel Lawyers for more individual support. You can get in contact with us by visiting us online or by calling 1-516-342-2200 today!

Steps to Take Before You File a Lawsuit

Taking the proper course of action when filing a lawsuit can help ensure the best results from your case.

As soon as you are medically cleared to do so, you should begin thinking about whether you want to file a lawsuit. Depending on the type of case you are looking to file, you may have a limited time frame to do so. For instance, lawsuits in small claims court may be resolved faster than those taken to state court or federal court.

Most cases may be subject to a statute of limitations, which gives you a time limit to file a claim. In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases can span anywhere from (30) days to three (3) years.

As filing within the statute of limitations is critical for the success of your claim, you should keep in mind that you will need time to prepare before you file and that there are filing fees and court fees applicable in most civil lawsuits. You will most likely also have to fill out court forms. Contact your local District Court’s Clerk’s Office to determine which fees and forms you’ll need to fill out.

The sections below will provide you with a few important steps you should take before filing a lawsuit. Following these steps can help ensure your well-being and build your case.

1. See a Qualified Medical Professional

Your health and physical well-being should be the first thing on your mind after an accident. Even if you don’t think you’ve been injured, you should always have a medical professional check you out after an accident.

Medical records are also very important when it comes to filing lawsuits and can provide documentation for an accident and the injuries you suffered as a result. They are also used when calculating damages to determine how much compensation you may be eligible to receive.

2. Gather Evidence

To help build your case and identify an at-fault party to file a lawsuit against, you should gather as much evidence as you can regarding the accident.

This can include police reports of the accident, witness statements from anyone who saw the accident happen, as well as footage from any nearby cameras. Medical documents and any documents pertaining to property damage after an accident are also important. Depending on the type of case you’re filing, the court’s rules, and the state law, you may need to provide different documents and waivers.

Gathering evidence is essential to building your case as well as determining how the accident happened. Without determining the cause of the accident, you may not be able to determine the at-fault party and file a lawsuit against them.

3. Hire a Skilled Lawyer

The right lawyer can help you file your claim as well as ensure your rights. They can help you negotiate the settlement you are entitled to.

As you will read below, lawsuit proceedings can be very complicated and lengthy. The opposing party is very likely to have a strong legal team that is willing to do whatever it takes to defend its client and break down your case. The right personal injury lawyer will have the resources and knowledge necessary to stand up to an opposing party and help you build an airtight case.

The legal team of Schwartzapfel Lawyers is hard-working and experienced in all different types of personal injury cases. Over the years, we have been able to secure millions of dollars for our clients through numerous successful verdicts and settlements. To find the right lawyer for you and your case, give us a call at 1-516-342-2200 today!

Filing a Lawsuit: Legal Process and Steps

After taking the initial steps to prepare and gather documentation, you can now begin the process of filing your lawsuit.

As a primer, the following are the five (5) main steps a lawsuit goes through, including filing a claim and receiving your settlement.

4. Filing Your Claim

To start a lawsuit, the first thing you must do to take civil action is to fill out a complaint form and submit an application to your local court clerk. The type of application you fill out depends on the type of case you are looking to file. Your lawyer can help you identify which application you need to file, as well as help you complete it.

Once you submit your application, it will be processed by the court. Next is the service of process, where the opposing party you are filing against will be informed that they are being sued and will be allowed to respond. It’s common to hire a Process Server to serve the court summons.

There are a few ways they may respond. They may file a counterclaim or deny all responsibility for an accident. Regardless of what their response is, they will have an equal opportunity to start building their case against yours.

After the opposing party has responded to your claim and presented their defense, lawsuit proceedings can begin. Depending on the complexities of a civil case, it can be months or even years before you receive a settlement.

If the opposing party fails to respond, you may file for default judgment, which a judge can approve.

For questions about how long it may take for you to receive a settlement, you can speak directly with one of the experienced litigation attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers by calling 1-516-342-2200 now!

5. The Discovery Period

The next step in the lawsuit process is referred to as the discovery period. This is when you and the opposing party share information, documents, affidavits, and more about the case and compare evidence regarding the accident. Lawyers on each side will have an opportunity to assess documentation and determine who is at fault.

To succeed, you will need strong evidence in support of your claim(s), as the opposing party may try to deny responsibility and/or present evidence that counters your claim(s).

6. Calculating Damages

Before you can negotiate a settlement, you must calculate the damages you suffered in the accident to establish the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.

Several items are usually taken into account when calculating damages in a personal injury lawsuit. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Expenses in repairing damaged property
  • Compensation for long-term health problems or disability
  • Lost wages if you are unable to return to work after an injury
  • Emotional distress as a result of an accident

While you may not be able to receive compensation for all of the calculated damages in a case, a good lawyer can help you maximize your financial recovery. To learn more now at no charge, please call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online!

7. Settlement Negotiation

Once all the evidence in the lawsuit has been reviewed and damages have been calculated, settlement negotiations between the parties can begin. In many cases, the at-fault party will offer the claimant a settlement.

From there, the claimant can decide whether to accept the settlement and close the case or keep negotiating. The lawsuit will not be closed until a settlement is agreed upon.

Going to Trial

If both sides are unable to agree on a settlement, then the case will probably go to trial. In court, the details of the court case may be presented in front of a judge and a jury via depositions, who will issue the final verdict. Either party may also request a jury trial.

While this may seem like an effective solution, going to trial may increase the time in which it takes for the claimant to receive a settlement. Trails can take years to conclude.

Fortunately, only 3% of personal injury cases ever go to trial. Lawyers on both sides of a lawsuit often try to avoid having to take a case to the state court and would rather negotiate a settlement outside of court. In the event that a settlement cannot be reached, however, going to trial is likely the next step.

Either way, the right lawyer can help you receive the compensation you are entitled to as soon as possible and will stand up for you against an opposing party to negotiate the best possible outcome for you.

At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, we can help provide you with the best lawyer for you and your case. To schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced legal professionals, dial 1-516-342-2200 today. Alternatively, visit us online and possibly save yourself miles of headache, heartache, and financial strain down the road.

Don’t wait! Your future is too important to leave to chance. Protect it today by having Schwartzapfel Lawyers fight for you every step of the way. Call now!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!


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