How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
If you have been injured because of the negligent conduct of another party, you are entitled to seek compensation for the harm you suffered. However, because you can do something, does not mean you know how to do it. While many people will probably advise you to file a personal injury lawsuit, the necessary steps might not be clear. The first step is to retain our Philadelphia personal injury attorney. The Reiff Law Firm has years of experience litigating complex personal injury claims. Below, we discuss what is involved with filing a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania.
Deadline to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
You do not have an indefinite period to file a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania. The statute of limitations governs the deadline to file a claim following an injury. Pennsylvania law requires a personal injury lawsuit to be filed within two years of the incident that caused the harm.
This deadline does not mean that your case must be completed in two years, but you must have your claim filed with the court. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Pennsylvanians to miss this deadline. They might be working with an insurance company that is purposefully extending the process. Sometimes a person is just procrastinating moving forward with legal action because they are focusing on their medical treatment. You should retain our Pennsylvania personal injury attorney immediately after suffering an injury. Our office will ensure that no deadlines are missed and work to preserve crucial evidence that could be unavailable if you delay.
How a Personal Injury Lawsuit Works in Pennsylvania
No matter your injury, there are some basic steps every Pennsylvania personal injury lawsuit follows. First, you must have been injured. If you were in a car accident but were unhurt, you probably do not have a basis for a personal injury lawsuit. Next, you should hire our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer to start preparing your case, including collecting physical evidence, medical reports, and witness testimony.
After the initial evidence is reviewed and evaluated, our law firm will draft the complaint. The complaint includes a statement of what occurred, the defendant, the compensation being sought, and the legal basis for the lawsuit.
Next, the complaint is served to the defendant. Served means that the person you are suing is physically handed a copy of the complaint. Under some circumstances, this might be accomplished through the mail. This is the official beginning of your lawsuit.
Typically, once the complaint is served, the defendant will file a response with the court. The response will answer every fact alleged in the complaint, either admitting it, denying it, or stating an answer is not required. The defendant will list any defenses they have and might file a counter-claim asserting that you were at fault. It is critical to have an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney working on your case due to the complexities of litigation.
Before your case goes to trial, there are a number of other things that occur. First, both sides might file pre-trial motions. If the defendant believes that your complaint fails to state a legal basis for a lawsuit or if the stated facts do not establish negligence, a motion to dismiss the case could be filed. On the other hand, if our Pennsylvania personal injury attorney feels that the supporting facts establish a clear victory, a motion for summary judgment might be filed.
In a personal injury lawsuit, both sides are required to share the evidence they have. Known as discovery, this is often done by filing interrogatories and a request for the production of documents. Interrogatories are written questions that require a response. The request for documents is just what it sounds like, a formal request for emails, receipts, reports, bank statements, medical records, or any other material that is relevant to the case. In many cases, the plaintiff, defendant, and other parties, such as witnesses, could be deposed. A deposition is a formal questioning of an individual under oath. Our experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney will aggressively pursue all the relevant evidence and is skilled at drafting interrogatories and conducting depositions. In many cases, it is the quality of the evidence that determines the verdict.
Trial or Settlement
Once both sides have filed their pre-trial motions and gathered all the evidence, the case could proceed to trial. It is not uncommon at this point in the process for a settlement offer to be put on the table. If that happens, our Pennsylvania personal injury attorney will review the offer, the amount you are seeking, and the strength of your case to advise you on how you should proceed. No matter what our office says, the final decision is yours.
If you wish to proceed to trial, each side will present their case to the judge or jury. Our office will present the physical evidence and question any witnesses or experts. The defendant will do the same. Depending on the type of trial, a judge or jury will render a verdict and a compensation award if you prevail.
To File a Personal Injury Lawsuit, Contact Our Pennsylvania Attorney
Personal injury litigation is complicated. If you have suffered physical harm and financial losses due to another’s negligent conduct, you deserve to be compensated. To ensure your case is handled professionally and vigorously fought, you need our knowledgeable Pennsylvania personal injury attorney. You do not get multiple chances to file a personal injury lawsuit – you want it done right. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free consultation to review the steps necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit.