Once you have retained a motorcycle accident attorney, the next step is to start creating your lawsuit. This is done by filling out the necessary legal documents needed to start a lawsuit, then filing them in court. Known as pleadings, the paperwork you file will be a crucial piece to your case. The pleadings consist of several documents that represent each stage of the lawsuit:
Complaint: Also known in some states as a petition, a complaint form is the document used to name each party involved in the lawsuit, provide information about what you are claiming, and provide the pertinent facts surrounding the claim. Additionally, you’ll be able to demand what you’d like from the lawsuit and what you feel the defendant should do, such as pay for medical and property damages.
Summons: A summons is an ordered document that notifies the defendant of the lawsuit. A summons not only notifies the defendant that he or she has been sued, but it will also provide an allotted time and date in which the defendant must answer. If the defendant fails to answer the summons, the lawsuit is typically automatically defaulted in favor of the plaintiff.
Answer: If the defendant answers the summons, he or she can deny, accept, or file a counterclaim. If you receive notice of a counterclaim, you must respond with a reply in the same manner that the defendant responded to the summons.
Once you’ve completed the steps to start an accident lawsuit, the next step will be dependent on the defendant’s answer. In some instances, your attorney will come to an agreement with the defendant and/or the defendant’s attorney, and a settlement can be reached so that the case doesn’t have to go to trial.