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The Stages of a Personal Injury Lawsuit—Part One

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Personal Injury Lawsuit Stages – Part 1

When you have been the victim of someone else’s carelessness, you want the legal process to move swiftly, so that you can get the compensation you need to cover your losses and move forward. It’s a process, though, and it can take a while to actually get the case in front of a jury. If you know the steps involved in the process, though, it can help make the time seem shorter. Contact a personal injury lawyer with all your questions.

The Pleadings

Before anything will happen, you’ll need to file a complaint with the clerk of the court. You must do this within a specific period of time after your injury, as set forth in the Statute of Limitations in your state. In New Jersey, that’s two years from the date of your accident or when you discovered your injury, if it wasn’t readily apparent.

In the complaint, you’ll name all parties who potentially contributed in any way to your injury, identify the ways in which they were liable for your injuries and ask the court for damages, a monetary award to compensate you for your losses. Once you’ve filed your complaint, the defendants will have a specific period of time in which to file a response, or answer, to your complaint. If the defendants don’t file their answer on time, you may be able to get a default judgment.


Once the complaint and answer have been filed, you typically move into the discovery phase of the process. Discovery is a legal term that refers to the gathering of evidence supporting or refuting a claim. In the American legal system, the concept of open discovery is the rule. That means that any evidence you obtain must be shared with the other party. Open discovery promotes a reasoned decision by an informed jury.

Discovery can take a number of different forms, including:

  • Depositions—In a deposition, a potential witness is sworn to tell the truth and faces questions from attorneys on both sides. A court reporter is present and prepares a permanent record of the testimony.
  • Requests for production—Either party may ask the other party to produce documents or other evidentiary items that are relevant to the case.
  • Interrogatories—These are written questions pertaining to the case, submitted by one party to another party. In most instances, the court will establish a limit on the number of interrogatories.

Contact Our Office

If you or someone you love has suffered needless injury because of the careless or negligent acts of another person, our personal injury lawyer can help protect your rights. For a private meeting with experienced personal injury attorneys, contact us online or call our offices, in New Brunswick at 732-247-3600 or in Somerville at 908-448-2560.

Contact Our Office

To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us online or call our offices, in New Brunswick at (732) 247-3600, in Somerville at (908) 448-2560, or in Freehold at (732) 828-2234.

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Multiple Offices Across New Jersey

New Brunswick

111 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Phone: (732) 247-3600


21 North Bridge Street
Somerville, NJ 08876

Phone: (908) 448-2560


31 W. Main Street 1st Floor
Freehold, NJ 07728

Phone: (732) 828-2234