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The Process of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

A top Washington DC personal injury lawyer like those at Cohen and Cohen, P.C. knows that, when it comes to personal injury lawsuits, there are various steps injured victims must take in order to receive the compensation they deserve. The first step involves filing a complaint with the courthouse. Victims do not need to stress about filing a complaint themselves; their lawyer can draft a complaint on their behalf. An injured victim’s Washington DC personal injury lawyer is the only person who can sign the pleading, as the complaint consists of crucial information that is needed to notify the court as to the nature of the case itself and the requested compensation.

Importance of a Complaint

As an experienced Washington DC personal injury lawyer may attest, the significance of a complaint should not be underestimated. As the first pleading created by an injured person against the at-fault party, the complaint outlines the details of the accident, the resulting injuries sustained, and the monetary compensation requested.

The complaint isn’t filed only once; it is filed at many different stages during the personal injury claims process. Consulting with a Washington DC personal injury lawyer on this matter will likely be beneficial to the injured party, who may be offered a settlement by the insurance company far below what they deserve. An experienced lawyer can help ensure that the victim is compensated for the (oftentimes substantial) expenses that come along with an injury, including loss of wage, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

Typically, a lawsuit is necessary in order for the insurance company to grasp the severity of a personal injury claim. Legal action sends the message that the injured party has every intent to move forward with their claim as soon as possible in order to receive adequate compensation, all with the help of an experienced and qualified Washington DC personal injury lawyer.

Answering a Complaint

In Washington D.C., the district rules require the defendant to thoroughly evaluate the complaint and admit or deny each of the allegations in the complaint. Then, a Washington DC personal injury lawyer can compose the answer to the complaint. Usually, the secondary information regarding the name, location of the incident, and address will be acknowledged; however, the defendant probably won’t admit liability for any medical damages in their response.

Filing a Counterclaim

If the injured victim believes that the plaintiff is at-fault for causing the accident, that defendant may initiate an independent lawsuit with the help of a Washington DC personal injury lawyer against the defendant. 

The Summons

A summons is a part of the complaint and is served on the defendant or at-fault party. The summons is issued by the clerk’s office and gives the defendant guidance on how to reply to the complaint, the deadlines they need to meet, and how to begin the initial steps. A default may be entered if the defendant disregards the summons. As a Washington DC personal injury lawyer can explain, if the defendant admits to the allegations in the complaint, the plaintiff can then take the steps that are needed to obtain a judgment.

After the Summons

Once a summons is served, it is up to the defendant to file a responsive pleading. Pleadings allow each party to notify the court about the details of the case. That said, not every detail is necessarily included in the pleadings; instead, the pleadings serve as a way to give the court more understanding as to why the parties are there and what roles they played. Usually, when a defendant or at-fault party is served, they provide a copy of the case information to their insurance company. Afterwards, the insurance company can provide the at-fault party or defendant with a Washington DC personal injury lawyer who can then answer the complaint and initiate the discovery process.