Journal Première Occasion du 27 octobre 2017 présenté par Bob C et Guerrier Dieuseul.
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How and where do I file a personal injury lawsuit?
After an injury, the specifics of how and where you will be filing your lawsuit depend on the nature and extent of your losses. Who you’re trying to sue and where the incident occurred may also be factors. Read on for the details.
Small Claims Court
You first need to decide whether you are filing your claim in small claims court or civil court.
Small claims court is for lawsuits with a low amount of damages (meaning the amount of money you are asking for as compensation for your losses).
Most states set a small claims limit of somewhere between $3,000 and $15,000 (for the rules where you live, see Nolo’s 50-State Chart of Small Claims Court Dollar Limits).
If the amount you plan to ask for is below your state’s threshold, you may want to consider small claims court. An advantage of small claims court is that cases proceed faster and more informally compared with civil court. In fact, once the initial papers are filed, your case will probably be resolved after one court appearance.
If your damages are higher than the limit for small claims court, then you need to file your complaint in the proper branch of your state’s civil court system.
Jurisdiction and Venue. You need to file your complaint in a court that has the authority to preside over your case (jurisdiction) and is in the appropriate location (venue). While federal courts need federal jurisdiction to hear a case, almost any case can be filed in state court in terms of subject matter. Certainly a state civil court will have jurisdiction over a personal injury matter. Venue is typically the place where the defendant resides, and/or where the injury occurred.
Initial Documents. Your attorney will handle the preparation and filing of the initial documents in your personal injury lawsuit.
If you don’t have an attorney, go to the court’s website and locate the local rules regarding the forms of “pleadings.” Look for the form of a “complaint,” which is the opening filing in the lawsuit, where you will state your case against the defendant.
Some websites may even have sample pleadings you can use to draft the complaint. Pay attention to the kind of information you need to include. For example, almost all local rules require a statement in the complaint asserting that the jurisdiction and venue are proper.
The website should also tell you what forms or documents you need to attach to your complaint. For example, sometimes when you sue a local government (New York City, for example) you are required to first file a Notice of Claim before you file the complaint. You must then attach the notice of claim to the complaint.
Filing the Complaint. Your attorney (or you) will take the complaint (and any necessary supporting documents) to the courthouse and file it with the clerk of the court.
Bring your checkbook or exact cash to pay the filing fee (typically between $200 and $300) because the courthouse may not accept credit cards. Get details on the filing fee through the court’s website or by calling the clerk of the court.