What is a Complaint?
When you submit a complaint, you are formally notifying the courts of your intention to sue, as well as any other parties that you mention in your claim. This begins the legal process.
Even though the opposing party likely knows that you intend to make a claim, this is the official notice on record. All parties identified in the lawsuit need to be informed of the lawsuit in order to react to it.
What Kind of Information is Contained in a Complaint?
Your complaint can be thought of as an overview of all of the allegations that will be made in your case.
Your complaint is required to contain the following:
- Any key identifying information about which court you are submitting to
- The county where the injury happened
- The names and identifying information of the defendants (the parties you are suing)
- The case number, if there is one
In addition, you are going to give your complaint a title. If you do not present all of this information in the correct format, you run the risk of having your case thrown out. This is one of the many reasons why it is beneficial to hire an attorney.
- A thorough description of what you claim happened. This should establish each of the facts that are required to prove the type of case that you are attempting to prove. If you were hurt on the property where you are suing the owner of the property for premises liability, for instance, you will not only need to demonstrate that you were wounded on the property; you will also need to demonstrate why the owner of the property had a duty of care toward you. Give each fact, scenario, or concept its own paragraph, and number the paragraphs as you go along.
- The types of damages you are asking for. Damages or “relief” are terms that relate to the things that can result in monetary compensation being awarded, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, or lost wages. Put everything in the complaint that you legally have a right to, based on what occurred. If you leave something out, generally speaking, you cannot win any other damages that were not initially included.
It is essential to provide as much detail as possible when registering a complaint. You need to detail everything that you are saying took place, as well as everything that you are requesting in your lawsuit, in as much detail as possible.
For instance, if you and your child were involved in a car accident, but your complaint did not mention any of the injuries that your child sustained, it will be difficult to go back later and ask for damages for those injuries, even if those injuries are legitimate. This is due to the fact that it will give the impression that you are changing your account about what took place.
The complaint is a broad overview of what happened. You do not have to go into every insignificant detail, nor are you required to reveal all of your evidence.
It is in your best interest not to get more detailed than is absolutely necessary, as you do not want to be pigeonholed in the event that fresh information emerges.
Composing persuasive complaints is an art form, which is one of the reasons you should look for a lawyer who concentrates solely on personal injury cases.
Hiring a lawyer who has penned hundreds of complaints similar to yours will know which strategies are most effective.
How Do I Go About Filing a Complaint and Having It Served?
You or your attorney are generally responsible for ensuring that your complaint is filed with the appropriate court and that it is served to all of the parties that are identified in the lawsuit that you are involved in.
The majority of lawsuits involving personal injuries will be filed with either the superior court in your county or the state court. However, there can be several exceptions to this rule.
The complaint will also be served to the individuals who are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
There are specific procedures to follow when serving a complaint to a defendant, and in the event that the defendant asserts that they were unaware of its existence, you will be required to demonstrate that you adhered to these procedures.
You should, in the vast majority of instances, either make arrangements for the papers to be served by the office of the county sheriff or hire a trained process server. There is a charge associated with having documents served.
Contact an Attorney for Legal Guidance
Your claim does not need to be written, filed, or served by you personally. When you hire an attorney for legal help, they will make sure that your complaint is done correctly and filed on time.
You have significantly higher chances of getting the outcome you are looking for when you hire an attorney to help with your case.
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