What Can I Expect Immediately After Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
In New Jersey, when you’re hurt because of the wrongful conduct of another person, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses in a court of law. What does the process look like? How do you get from the act of contacting an attorney to securing full and fair compensation for your injuries? In this series, we walk you through the key components of the process. In this first blog, we look at what happens immediately after you retain an attorney.
A Complaint Is Filed
The legal process begins when you file a document called a complaint. The complaint may be filed in state or federal court, based on the circumstances of your case. In the complaint, your attorney will set forth the basic facts that support your legal claims:
- The parties—parties—Who seeks compensation for losses and who is believed to have caused those losses
- The facts of the case—What happened to bring about the legal claim
- What you are seeking from the at-fault party—party—The losses you sustained and want the defendant to pay
The complaint must be filed within a certain period of time after the accident that caused your injuries (or after discovery of the injuries, if they weren’t apparent at the time of the accident). This period is known as the statute of limitations. Your attorney will confirm when your complaint must be filed.
The complaint must also be delivered to the at-fault party (the legal term is “served” on the defendant).
An Answer Is Filed
Once the defendant is served, they have a limited amount of time, specified by the court rules, to respond to the allegations in the complaint. This must be done in writing in a document known as an “answer” to the complaint. If the defendant does not file the answer within the specified period, the injured party may ask the court for “default judgment.” The defendant may be able to get a default judgment thrown out but only in very limited circumstances.
Contact the Cintron Firm
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Attorney Mark Cintron has worked as a prosecutor and has extensive courtroom experience, so he’s always ready, willing, and able to protect your interests before a judge or jury. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or (201) 535-0323 to set up an appointment.