What to Expect When Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Most personal injury lawsuits follow the same basic procedure. The procedure that governs a lawsuit filed in Illinois state court is governed by the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. The Illinois Code of Civil Procedure can be found here.
Generally speaking, a lawsuit begins when a complaint is filed. The complaint should name all parties to the lawsuit, including the plaintiffs and the defendants. The complaint should be filed:
(1) in the county of the residence of any defendant who is joined in good faith and with probably cause for the purpose obtaining judgment against him or her and not solely for the purpose of fixing venue in that county, or (2) in the county in which the transaction or some part thereof occurred out of which the cause of action arose. 735 ILCS 5/2-101 (2015).
Further, the complaint should state each separate cause of action upon which a separate recovery might be had and should contain a plain and concise statement of the cause of action. 735 ILCS 5/2-603 (2015). A complaint must also contain a prayer for relief. 735 ILCS 5/2-604 (2015).
After the complaint is filed, it must be served upon the defendant. Service is ordinarily accomplished by providing the Sheriff’s office with a copy of the complaint and a summons. The sheriff's office will then serve the defendant with the complaint and summons. Proof of service of summons should be filed with the court.
After the defendant has been served, the defendant has thirty (30) days to answer the complaint.
The next phase of the lawsuit is discovery. There is a written component of discovery, and an oral component of discovery. The written component of discovery is generally accomplished by one party sending the adverse party a set of written questions called interrogatories and a request for the production of documents. Once the written phase of discovery is complete, discovery proceeds to the oral phase. The oral discovery phase is ordinarily accomplished by taking depositions. In general, a deposition is a means by which a party can ask another party, or witness, a series of questions under oath.
After the parties have finished discovery, a lawsuit will proceed to trial. The purpose of the discovery phase is to make both parties aware of what evidence is expected to be presented at trial.
While the basic procedures associated with a personal injury lawsuit are generally the same in every case, these procedures are highly nuanced. Each lawsuit must be treated differently. The Illinois Code of Civil Procedure is vast, and has the potential to present pitfalls to pro se claimants and attorneys who are inexperienced in these types of claims. Even simple mistakes have the potential to result in the dismissal of the plaintiff’s lawsuit. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, it is extremely important that you hire an attorney who is experienced in handling personal injury lawsuits.
The Law Offices of Frederick W. Nessler & Associates, Ltd. handles personal injury lawsuits every day. We have been helping injured people recover for over 35 years. If you have been injured, contact one of our attorneys today. We will help you obtain the compensation you need, and will provide the representation you deserve.
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We don't get paid unless your case is settled or won. Call our team of aggressive personal injury lawyers today at (217)698-0202 or click the button below to inquire about whether you have a viable personal injury claim. Our Springfield Office is located at 536 N. Bruns Lane, Suite 1, Springfield, Illinois 62702.