The first step of a personal injury lawsuit is to file your legal complaint with the court. Below are some of the critical components of a legal complaint.
Parties to the Case
You use this section to introduce the parties to the case. Essentially, this is where you identify the defendant (the liable party) and the plaintiff (you). You don't need to overdo it — the names and addresses of the respective parties suffice. If you are accusing several parties of causing your accident, list them all.
The factual allegations describe the accident as you remember it. Here are some of the things to include in the factual allegations:
- The date and time of the accident
- The location of the accident
- A brief description of the accident
Here is an example of a factual allegation "On 23 March 2020, Mr. Smith crashed his red Camaro on the back of Mrs. Doe's silver Camry. Mrs. Doe suffered a fractured neck, and the car sustained severe damages."
The legal allegations are the legal theories that you want to use to hold the defendant liable for your damages. If you want to use multiple legal theories, which is entirely possible and common, then you need to list them all.
Examples of legal theories that apply to personal injury claims include product liability, negligence, and intentional torts. For example, you can state that the defendant had a legal duty to maintain their premises but failed to do so, and their failure caused you to slip and fall.
Claims for Relief
The claims for relief are the specific actions you want from the defendant. Do you want monetary compensation? State the specific amount. Do you want the defendant to stop doing something? State what it is. Do you want the defendant to do something? Mention what it is. For example, in a breach of a contract dispute, you may want monetary damages or expect the defendant to see the contract through.
Jurisdiction and Venue
You also need to specify why you have chosen that particular court to hear your case. This section deals with personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, and venue. The venue is the actual court that will handle the case.
Here are some of the factors that determine venue and jurisdiction:
- The defendant's residence
- Defendant's business
- Location of the accident scene
- Plaintiff's residence
For example, in a slip and fall injury case, the location of the premises may determine the jurisdiction and venue. Speak with a personal injury attorney for more information.