After suffering a serious injury in a car accident, you may have reason to pursue a civil claim against the driver considered at fault. Though many individuals consider such legal proceedings relatively common, you may not fully understand the process that your case may go through as you work to gain compensation for allowable damages. Luckily, many civil claims move forward in a similar order, though some steps may change depending on state law.
If you would like to file a civil claim in hopes of gaining restitution, you may want to prepare yourself for a potentially long process. However, in the end, your efforts may prove worth the time. The first steps involved in the proceedings include:
- Filing a complaint and summons: A complaint expresses the claims you wish to bring against the party considered at fault for your accident, also known as the defendant. The summons contains the order for the defendant to appear in court and gain awareness of the claim filed against him or her. Typically, your legal representation prepares your legal documents.
- Answering the complaint: Once the appropriate parties have served the defendant with the summons and complaint, the defendant must then take action. He or she typically has a certain period of time in which he or she must attend to the legal documents. An answer may include any plaintiff's claims to which the defendant would like to admit, plaintiff's claims to which the defendant contests and claims the defendant has against the plaintiff.
- Unanswered complaint: If the defendant does not answer the complaint, a default judgment could take place against the defendant.
- Discovery: Discovery takes place when the parties involved exchange prudent information. This information may include written questions, documents relevant to the case and sworn statements transcribed by a court reporter or officer. The parties and their legal counsel then use this information to make preparations for the case.
A lot of work may prove necessary in order to complete just these first few steps toward your civil case. However, in many instances, the effort you put forth when preparing for court proceedings could play a considerable role in the outcome of your case. Therefore, you may wish to take the time to review the steps needed to get started and how you could bolster your efforts.
Because much of your legal journey will likely involve certain documents and court filings, you may wish to gain assistance in order to ensure that the creation and filing of your documents is completed correctly. An experienced Dallas County attorney could help you through these processes and offer guidance through your entire case if you wish to gain such an advocate.