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How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Pennsylvania (Part A)

When you or a loved one are injured in an accident in Pennsylvania-a slip and fall in a grocery store aisle, a car crash, etc.-and believe that the accident was caused by someone else's negligence, you probably have a lot of questions about your rights for legal recourse.

This is especially true when your medical bills and other accident related expenses begin to spiral out of control. As you recuperate, you should consult with a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer to discuss filing a Pennsylvania personal injury claim.

A Philadelphia personal injury lawyer will have the time and resources to go over the facts of your case, determine if someone's negligence was a factor in the accident and assess the strength of your claim. Once this occurs, your lawyer can begin the process to file a Pennsylvania personal injury claim.

The claims process involves:

  • filing a complaint;
  • preparing a summons and service of process;
  • awaiting the defendant's answer; and
  • filing more documents.

Filing a Complaint in a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Claim

Let's start with the complaint which will be filed on behalf of you, the plaintiff. This legal document is considered a pleading, and it initiates your Pennsylvania personal injury claim. It summarizes the actions that led to your injuries and the damages (compensation) you are seeing.

The complaint usually contains:

  • names of all parties involved in the accident;
  • the court's jurisdiction;
  • your allegations;
  • facts about the accident as they relate to the defendant; and
  • a demand for judgment (also called a wherefore clause or prayer for relief, which states the amount of damages you seek.)

The complaint notifies the defendant of your Pennsylvania personal injury claim. It may be detailed or brief, depending on your allegations and the amount of thorough information that you are able to provide to your Philadelphia personal injury lawyer.

The Summons and Serving of a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Claim

After a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer prepares your complaint, they will work on the summons and service of process.

The summons notifies the defendant that:

  • they are being sued;
  • the complaint has been filed;
  • there is a deadline to answer the complaint or attempt to have it dismissed; and
  • there will be consequences if the deadline is not met.

Your Philadelphia personal injury lawyer will make sure that the summons and the complaint are served (delivered) to the defendant. The court will then have jurisdiction over the defendant and the Pennsylvania personal injury claim.

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