How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
Our experienced attorneys can guide you through the process
If you've suffered an injury due to someone else's negligence, you're not alone and have the right to seek compensation for your losses. A personal injury lawsuit can be your path to getting back on your feet after an accident, but the process can be complex.
The steps to filing a personal injury lawsuit may seem overwhelming, but our Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers are here to help. At Hal Waldman & Associates, our attorneys can guide you through every stage of the process, from gathering evidence and building a strong case to negotiating with insurance companies and, if necessary, representing you in court. Let us handle the legal process so you can focus on your recovery and moving forward.
What is a personal injury lawsuit?
A personal injury happens when you get hurt because of someone else's careless actions. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you're asking for a financial sum to be awarded to you to make up for the harm and losses you suffered. Essentially, the goal is to make you financially “whole” again.
Personal injury lawsuit process
The personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania consists of several phases, including:
Gather evidence and documents
Collecting evidence like pictures, medical records, and eyewitness statements is crucial. It shows what happened and how you were hurt. Gather what you can, but don’t be discouraged if you feel it is insufficient. A personal injury lawyer can collect evidence to support your case.
Send a demand letter
Your lawyer can send a letter to the person responsible for your injury on your behalf. This shows them that you are asking for compensation to settle the case. This letter explains your injuries and the costs you've faced. It's a formal way to start the conversation about getting compensated.
The statute of limitations, or legal deadline, is critical. Once this time limit expires, your lawsuit will almost certainly be dismissed. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is usually two years from the date of the accident or injury, but other deadlines can apply in some circumstances. That’s why you need to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights and options.
File a petition or complaint
In this stage, your lawyer will file a legal document, known as a petition or complaint, in court. This explains your case and asks for compensation. It will include what happened and why you should be compensated.
Wait for the defendant's response
The person you're suing (defendant) will have a chance to respond to your complaint. They can agree, disagree, or ask the court to dismiss the case. Your lawyer can handle these interactions while keeping you updated.
After both sides share their arguments, you may reach a settlement where the defendant agrees to pay you a certain amount. If not, your case can go to trial. Your personal injury attorney can handle negotiations for a fair settlement or prepare for a trial.
In this stage, both sides gather more information from each other, like asking questions and sharing documents. It helps everyone understand the case better and prepare for trial. A personal injury lawyer will know what information to ask for that will strengthen your case.
If a settlement is still not reached, your case will proceed to trial. During the trial, both sides present their evidence and arguments. Your lawyer speaks on your behalf and tries to prove that the defendant is responsible for your injuries.
Personal injury trials are almost always jury trials. That means a jury of your peers will decide whether the defendant is responsible for your injuries and, if so, how much compensation you will be awarded.
Get help with your personal injury lawsuit. Contact us today
There are many steps to the personal injury lawsuit process, some more confusing than others. To ensure a smooth process, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Hal Waldman & Associates. We have decades of combined experience helping injury victims file personal injury lawsuits. We want to take as much stress off your shoulders as possible so you can focus on your recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.