A civil lawsuit is a legal process that settles disputes between private citizens or organizations, and proceedings usually involve two parties: the plaintiff and the defendant. Usually, a civil personal injury lawsuit seeks to recover damages arising from an act or omission that lead to your injuries or suffering.
Unlike criminal suits instigated by the state, anyone can initiate a civil case, and the burden of proof does not have to be beyond a reasonable doubt. However, cases like wrongful death fall on both sides, whereby civil and criminal lawsuits can be filed.
Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits
A civil personal injury lawsuit may arise from several aspects as long as you suffered harm directly or indirectly. The various types of personal injury cases include the following:
- Wrongful death
- Workplace accidents
- Injuries arising from defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Road accidents
Why Should I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The main objective for filing a civil personal injury lawsuit is to get compensated for your injuries and any other losses you might have incurred from the accident. Damages include the medical bills during your treatment, lost income due to inability to work, as well as emotional and psychological distress following the incident.
Another reason for filing a civil personal injury lawsuit is to prevent future occurrences of the acts or omissions which caused your injuries. Negligence is a key factor in personal injury lawsuits, and punitive damages which the court may award, are meant to deter the defendant and other people from future acts of negligence.
Steps in Filing a Civil Personal Injury Lawsuit
The first step involves filing a complaint in court and serving the defendant with the papers. The complaint identifies the factual and legal grounds for your civil personal injury lawsuit, identifies the parties in the suit, and the court in which you filed the suit.
In some jurisdictions, you might need to file and serve a summon as well, which notifies the defendant of the lawsuit against them. There is a filing fee involved in all these, and it varies depending on the state you are in.
The Discovery Phase
This step involves exchanging evidence between the legal parties of the litigants involved in the suit. Your attorney will interrogate the defendant or their representative, and if required, both sides may give sworn statements.
After that, both parties may enter negotiations to agree on a compensation package for you that will prevent the case from going on trial. If a settlement is not agreed upon, the case will proceed to trial.
How Long Will My Civil Personal Lawsuit Take?
The duration of your case is not predetermined, and it depends on its complexity. Most suits take one to two years before the verdict is reached.
The best way to go about it is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sheboygan to represent you in the negotiations. Well-versed lawyers expedite your civil personal injury lawsuit, making it hard for the defense’s attorney or insurance company to drag the case out.
What Else Do I Need to Know When Filing a Civil Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Perhaps the most important thing you need to note is that the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit is not infinite. Also known as the statute of limitations, this time frame is different across the states.
For instance, Wisconsin law dictates three years, beyond which you cannot file a civil personal injury lawsuit or pursue compensation. There are exceptions, though, and if you think you’ve gone past the stipulated time, a personal injury attorney is best placed to advise you on the matter.