Primary Court Paperwork
If you are considering bringing a personal injury claim in Illinois, it is imperative that all of your court paperwork is properly prepared and filed. Even a relatively minor error in your primary court paperwork could cause an enormous amount of damage to your case.
Ultimately, it is highly recommended that plaintiffs seek guidance from an experienced Rockford, Illinois personal injury lawyer. To be sure, as a plaintiff in Illinois, an attorney can help you file your primary court paperwork to meet all relevant deadlines.
As a general rule, the first piece of official paperwork filed in a personal injury lawsuit will be your complaint. Also referred to as a ‘petition’, this is the core document that sets up the key details in your case. Among other things, your legal complaint should include:
- Identification of all parties involved;
- An explanation legal basis for your claim and the jurisdiction of the court;
- A specific statement of your legal claim;
- The basic facts that support such a claim; and
- A demand for a judgment (compensation).
Injured victims should never rush their complaint into the courtroom. It is critically important that your complaint is carefully crafted, with all relevant information included. While your complaint will not necessarily be the whole and final story, you need to make sure that it is strong and compelling, meeting all legal requirements.
Summons and Service of Process
Under Illinois law, a defendant in a civil claim has the legal right to notification that a case is being filed against them. Typically, this means that a summons will be served to them. Defendants must be served in the proper manner. The failure to do so is a significant procedural violation that could undermine an otherwise valid personal injury claim. You should seek guidance from a legal professional who can help you properly serve all implicated defendants in your case.
The Answer and Potential Counterclaims
In all civil cases, defendants have a legal right to answer the complaint against them. In essence, an ‘answer’ is simply an initial response to the plaintiff’s complaint. The defendant can choose to answer the complaint in many different ways. They may decide to challenge the validity of specific facts included within the complaint, they may attempt to introduce additional information that would potentially exonerate them from legal liability, they may raise affirmative defenses against the claim, or they may even decide to file a counterclaim against the plaintiff. Regardless of the specific tactic the defendant uses, injured victims should always ensure that any answer filed in their case is comprehensively reviewed by an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Can Take Many Turns
Finally, it must be made clear that your initial court paperwork is merely the beginning of the legal claims process. As your case moves forward, there may be other paperwork that you will need to complete and present to the court. Still, to ensure that your personal injury claim proceeds in the most effective possible manner, it is crucial that you get your case off on the right foot.