How Do You Begin A Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If a claim for personal injuries does not settle, a lawsuit will need to be filed. It is the filing of a complaint that officially begins a personal injury lawsuit. This document is legally referred to as a pleading. If you have a small case with limited injuries the case should be filed in District Court. If you have significant damages, then Superior Court is the proper court to commence the lawsuit.
After you file the complaint, as well as the required statement of damages in court, you must then have the complaint served on the person you have sued. The law refers to you as the plaintiff and the one you have sued as the defendant.
The best way to effect service is to have a sheriff serve the complaint on the defendant(s). This will cost, depending on the travel time for the sheriff, around $50.00.
You must serve the complaint on the defendant(s) within ninety days of the filing of the complaint in court. Once service has been made, the defendant(s) has twenty days to file an answer in the court in which the complaint was filed. You must then send to the court the proof of service which shows that you properly served the defendant(s) with the complaint. It is then that the discovery phase of the lawsuit begins. That will involve interrogatories, requests for production of documents, depositions, etc.
It is very important that the lawsuit is filed in the appropriate court. If it is not, then the case may be dismissed and you will need to refile in the appropriate court.
If you have a Massachusetts personal injury case, I STRONGLY suggest you contact a local Massachusetts personal injury lawyer. The litigation of Massachusetts personal injury claims is laden with traps for non-lawyers who simply do not know how to navigate the litigation process.
Keep in mind the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Massachusetts is three years. That means if the lawsuit is filed during that time period, it will forever be time-barred.
Best of luck with your Massachusetts personal injury claim!