How do I draft a personal injury complaint? 37 Answers as of May 30, 2013

How do I draft a personal injury complaint?

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The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
This is a very difficult question to answer. There are several things that must be contained in the Petition/Complaint depending on the type of cause of action you are filing. You should consult an attorney or call your local bar association for assistance. Depending on where you are filing, you may be able to get some information from the clerk of court.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 8/8/2012
Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
Drafting a Complaint can be fairly technical- more so than a simple answer here can provide- you are best advised to see an attorney to make sure it is done correctly and in sufficient time.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 6/20/2012
Fox Law Firm LLC
Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
You may not need an actual complaint. If you were injuried, you may automatically have a personal injury case and simply need an attorney to negotiate your settlement.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/20/2012
Ford, Howard & Cornett, P.C. | Bradley Cornett
If you do not know how to draft your own personal injury complaint, then you need a lawyer. You may have the legal right to proceed without a lawyer (pro se), but that often yields a poor result. If you have a valid personal injury case, there will be multiple lawyers willing to represent you on a contingency fee (for a portion of the recovery). Most attorneys will provide a free initial consultation without obligation.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/20/2012
Lapin Law Offices
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
If your personal injury case is worth less than $3,500.00 you could file it is Small Claims Court. The Nebraska Supreme Court's website has information on how to file a Small Claims Court case as well as a form you can complete. I do not know of an easy way you can find the information you would need to draft a personal injury complaint. A complaint must: have a caption; identify the parties; demonstrate that it is filed in the correct court; indicate why you believe the at-fault party (the defendant) is at fault; what your injuries and damages are; and finally contain a prayer for relief (what you want from the at-fault party). There are many things that cannot be put in a complaint. However, there are too many of these to list. If you intend on filing a personal injury complaint yourself, you should try and find a complaint that you can look at to draft yours. There are various organizations and entities that offer sample complaints that you could use. If you are going to use a sample complaint, you need to make sure it complies with Nebraska law. Each state's law are different and what might be proper in another state might not be permitted in Nebraska. To help ensure your complaint complies with Nebraska law, you should look at publications authored by Nebraska organizations or entities.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 6/19/2012
    Gebler & Weiss, P.C. | Jerrie S. Weiss
    You can obtain forms at the courthouse.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/19/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    You hire a lawyer. If it was easy to do, people wouldn't need lawyers. The complaint is only the 1st step in the litigation. You must serve the other party(s) properly. Make sure you have evidence certified for admission, answer any counterclaim that the defendant may pose. There are far too many issues to explain and frankly, that's exactly what we do for a living. It would be no different than asking a mechanic how to rebuild an engine or a doctor to explain how to perform surgery. It is complex and what we spend years of school to learn. Do yourself a favor and hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 7 - 11 set out the basic format or framework for pleadings. These Rules can be found on the SC Judicial Department Website. The website also includes forms, which I believe includes some sample complaints. However, you will have to research the law in your specific case to determine what factual allegations to include. For example, in a products liability case, you would want to set out alleged facts that, if proved, would support a finding that the product was unreasonably dangerous, based in the legal factors that are to be considered in determining whether a product is unreasonably dangerous. In an Automobile Accident case, you want to set out alleged facts that would show the alleged at fault driver was negligent. One way to get started would be to go to the Clerk of Court and ask to see a file involving the same type of lawsuit, and look at the complaint (for example, an automobile accident case, a medical malpractice case, etc.). If you are not in small claims court, you really should get an attorney. There is much more to successfully completing a case than drafting a complaint.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
    I would not advise doing this on your own. If it is done incorrectly, your claim can be barred forever. Seek the help of an experience attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert | David W. Hibbert
    Drafting complaints is an art to some. The basics include naming the various people involved in the claim, the basis for jurisdiction over the parties involved, the basis for venue involved, and the facts and legal basis giving rise to the claims made, and the relief that you claim due under those facts.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    It depends on what court you are in, the kind of claim and the amount claimed.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Go to the courthouse and look in the index. You will find many PI suits. Most lawyers have form notebooks of one kind or another. See a lawyer if you have a significant case.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Pearson, Butler, & Carson, PLLC
    Pearson, Butler, & Carson, PLLC | Matthew R. Kober
    This is a very complicated question. There are multiple things that are required in a complaint. You should hire a personal injury attorney who is also a litigation attorney. Not all personal injury attorneys have litigation experience.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    Hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Usually with a computer or typewriter. Since the 20th century, we no longer do things with pen and ink on paper. If you are asking what format to follow to do your own suit, thereby saving money by not having to hire a lawyer, then my answer is: DO NOT DO IT. If you still are going to be insistent, then my answer would be to find a book with sample forms, and hope to heck that it conforms to the law of your State. However, once you file suit, you will be dealing with a lawyer, and you will have to know what to do and how to do during the phase known as "pre-trial discovery". That is when you are going to get destroyed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    I cannot ethically answer the question as I do not represent you. If I answered and you relied upon the answer and something went wrong you would blame me. Retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    You HIRE an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/30/2013
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    A complaint is simply that. Brevity is valued in our business. Facts / Duty / Breach of that duty / Injuries proximately caused by the breach. That about sums it up. But note that is the easy part. Get you a Great Lawyer Son. Injuries and all other damages must be documented or the insurance company will not consider them.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    I would suggest you complete law school first.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    Well frankly you don't. "Complaints" are formerly named "Petitions" and it takes years to learn how to draft a petition along with all the other documents that must be filed with a Clerk of Court. If in small claim's court it's by form and you can get those from the clerk of court's office. But if to be filed in district court it's much more difficult and not easily explained.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    I would not draft the complaint without the assistance of a lawyer. It is not for the inexperienced.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Koning & Jilek, P.C.
    Koning & Jilek, P.C. | Jonathan Neal Jilek
    One who is not a lawyer should not draft a personal injury complaint on their own. Injured people should consult a personal injury lawyer. There are complex rules and procedures which must be followed prior to and after the filing of the complaint. There are certain requirements for filing a complaint which are specific to the type of complaint which is filed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Tuttle and Associates | Jeffrey Brook Tuttle
    If you have to ask, you shouldn't.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    List the facts of who you are, who the defendant is, where the injury occurred, what the defendant did wrong, how what the defendant di wrong caused your injury and/or damages and the amount of your damages.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    The CA Judicial Council provides forms on line: http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm Go to the drop down menu and click on pleading-personal injury There is a lot more to it. You need a Summons. You also need a Civil Case Cover Sheet. Those forms are on that site too. Some counties, like Los Angeles, have an additional form. In LA, it's a Civil Case Cover Sheet Addendum. You can get that under the Forms section (in the left column) from their court website: http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/civilCaseSummary/index.aspCaseType=Civil
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/30/2013
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    You need to allege the facts of the injury and/or the accident, and state what damages you suffered, and why the other side is legally liable for those damages. However, you should not attempt to bring a personal injury case on your own. The other side probably has insurance, and they handle thousands of cases per year, and they know what they're doing. You need an attorney if your case has gotten to the point you need to file in court.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Your County Courthouse should have a law library that will have form books. You could also try the County Clerk's office, look up someone else's lawsuit and use that format.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Bernstein & Bernstein, LLC | Lowell E Bernstein
    I would suggest you retain an attorney if you plan to pursue litigation.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 6/17/2012
    Law Offices of Tanya Gendelman, P.C.
    Law Offices of Tanya Gendelman, P.C. | Tanya Gendelman, Esq.
    Drafting a personal injury complaint can be complicated and you risk doing it improperly. You should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/17/2012
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    Library's or internet has samples of summons and complaints. THe name of the parties and the cause of action and relief are stated in individual paragraph form, The summons must be served in accordance to the CLPR. Failure to do so properly would and could jeopardize your case in the future. You should contact an attorney to discuss your matter further.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/17/2012
    Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
    You can't act like a lawyer. For you to ask the question means you don't have a clue as to what is needed
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/17/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You don't. Hire an attorney, it's your only realistic option.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/17/2012
    Ross Law L.L.C.
    Ross Law L.L.C. | Jeremiah Ross
    It sounds as if you need a personal injury attorney. A majority of Personal Injury Attorney's work on a contingency basis. In certain cases they can take even small cases and the other side will pay their attorney's fees. Therefore, you would receive the entire award and they would not take 1/3 or 40% of the award.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/15/2012
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