To sue a company, you must file legal paperwork in the appropriate jurisdiction, which could be the court in the county where you reside or the county where the company does business. In addition, filing a complaint requires that you also pay a fee to purchase an index number for the case.
Then, someone must “serve process” (i.e., deliver the papers advising the defendant company of the lawsuit pursuant to technical legal rules that govern procedure,) upon the party being sued.
If a business or company is responsible for losses you have suffered, filing a civil action is an option you have to recover compensation for your losses. This civil action could be a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, depending on the circumstances of your case. A personal injury lawyer can handle your claim on your behalf.
- How do You File a Lawsuit Against a Company?
- How Long does a Lawsuit Take?
- What Types of Lawsuits do You Have the Option of Filing?
- How a Lawyer Helps You Sue a Company
- Learn More About How to Sue a Company Today
How do You File a Lawsuit Against a Company?
Broadlyl speaking, there are two ways to file a lawsuit against a business:
- Drafting, filing and arranging for proper service of the paperwork yourself
- Having an attorney take all the necessary and appropriate steps on your behalf
However, the process is the same whether you have a lawyer or not. Obviously, it is more work if you handle it yourself. In addition to the greater amount of work required to handle it yourself, the knowledge required is greater as well. Every step of the legal process is governed by technical legal rules. Failure to adhere to some rules can have devastating negative effects on your case.
Filing a Complaint
You must file what is known as a complaint against the company in a court with appropriate jurisdiction. Generally, you can file a complaint with a court in the county where you reside or where the business is located.
Typically, injured parties seek compensation via monetary damages, so how much you request could also determine the court where your complaint belongs. For instance, New York City civil courts handle cases up to $25,000, while the Supreme Courts handle claims over $25,000.
Most personal injury cases are brought in the Supreme Court and are filed through New York’s e-filing system.
Paying the Filing Fee
You will have to pay a filing fee to submit a complaint. This fee is currently $210 and will get your case an index number and a place on the court docket.
Serving the Company
After filing your complaint with the appropriate court, you must “serve” a copy of the complaint on the company (defendant), so it has a chance to respond. (“Service” of legal papers, as discussed above, is the term for the form of delivery that follows a specific set of rules in order to be deemed valid.) As the plaintiff, you cannot serve the legal papers to the company yourself. Instead, you would hire a process server to do it on your behalf.
Once the process server completes this task, the company will have 30 days to respond. This response could include a counterclaim that you, as the plaintiff, would have to answer.
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How Long does a Lawsuit Take?
Courts are typically busy and often have many cases on the docket ahead of yours. Furthermore, each side may file motions as the case advances through the litigation process toward the trial stage. For example, the defendant may file a motion to dismiss, arguing your case lacks merit or enough evidence to go to trial. In addition, either side could file motions for discovery to produce witnesses or documents.
Your case will also likely require several court conferences before your case sees the inside of a courtroom. During these conferences, both parties work out a schedule for the case under the supervision of the court. There would also be depositions, during which lawyers for both parties interview witnesses—the company’s lawyer would almost certainly depose you at some point.
Therefore, it could take weeks, months, or years before your case resolves. However, you are free to accept a settlement offer from the defendant if they make one.
What Types of Lawsuits do You Have the Option of Filing?
The type of lawsuit you file will depend on the circumstances of your case. For example, were you in a car accident caused by a truck driver’s negligence? If so, you could hold the trucking company liable for your injuries and financial expenses.
Here’s another example—perhaps you have injuries caused by a defective product. You could file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer in this case. Or maybe you were a guest or patron at a business and sustained an injury because of a known hazard (e.g., a slippery floor or broken stairway) without any warning. Then, you would file a premises liability lawsuit.
Finally, if you lost someone you love because of company negligence, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If such a tragic circumstance is what has led you to our website, you have our deepest condolences.
How a Lawyer Helps You Sue a Company
Personal injury lawsuits—and the legal system in general—can be complicated to navigate. However, obtaining legal representation eases your burden, freeing up your time and energy for other tasks.
A lawyer from our firm will evaluate your case during a free consultation and file a lawsuit on your behalf. Then, we will investigate the circumstances of your case and gather evidence to support your claim. You won’t be alone at any hearing because we will stand with you and protect your rights.
In addition, we will determine the value of your claim and negotiate with the defendant and their insurer to reach an appropriate settlement. Finally, we will prepare your case for court and present it to a jury if necessary.
Meeting the Statute of Limitations for Your Lawsuit
Remember, there is a deadline to file a lawsuit in New York, and we will meet the deadline in your case. In addition, the type of lawsuit you file will determine the filing deadline. For example, New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules § 214-A governs medical malpractice lawsuits, while New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules § 214 sets the timetable for other personal injury cases.
Certain cases, for example, cases involving a municipality or a wrongful death, would have shorter statutes of limitations, so a very careful review of the facts and circumstances by an experienced personal injury lawyer would be most prudent. Failure to take proper action before the expiration of the appropriate statute of limitation would be fatal to your case. In other words, your opportunity to recover compensation for the harm done to you would be lost.
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Learn More About How to Sue a Company Today
If you or someone you love suffered injuries and monetary losses because of a company’s negligence, you have the right to file a lawsuit to recover compensation.
A lawyer from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., is ready to talk to you about your case and review your options. Call us today for a free consultation and learn more about what’s needed to file a lawsuit against a company.