Now that you’re confident your lawyer understands the true nature, extent and degree of your brain injury that gave rise to your accident or medical malpractice case or that of your loved one, it’s time to further our discussion on the anatomy of a lawsuit.
Step one of the legal process in a brain injury case or any other personal injury matter is for the lawyer to file the lawsuit called commencing the action. The first thing the lawyer must consider is where to venue your brain injury case. Meaning, what county—for example the Bronx, Brooklyn, New York—the action should be commenced in. There are certain rules that govern where your case can be brought which are beyond the scope of this blog. However, if your lawyer has experience in navigating the court system in the Supreme Courts of the State of New York, they will know where the best venue would be for your brain injury case. The reality is a jury in one county may value your brain injury case at one number, while a jury in a different county may believe fair compensation for your brain injury case is worth double or triple that number. Think conservative jury pools, as versus more liberal jury pools, when it’s time to choose where to venue your brain injury case. Sometimes, based on the rules of law governing venue, your lawyer will have no choice but to bring your brain injury case in a less desirable county.
The next step is for your lawyer to draft a “summons and complaint” particular to your brain injury case. The purpose of this document is a notice giving function. Meaning, you’re letting the defendant(s)—the person or entity you sued—know they are in fact being sued. Basically, in contains individualized allegations, in separate paragraph form, that state or allege what your brain injury case is about—the time when, and place where the claim arouse, and that you’ve been injured. The summons and complaint is filed in the court and then served on the defendant(s). The defendant(s) should be able to read this summons and complaint and understand the claims against them and that they involve physical damages that consist of brain injury.
Defendant(s), by their attorney, respond to the summons and complaint by filing and serving what is known as an “answer.” The answer corresponds to each of the allegations that you made in your complaint. It can admit, deny or deny upon information and belief any particular allegation. Those allegations not specifically denied are deemed admitted. But for sure, when it comes to your allegation of brain injury, you will see deny, deny, deny.
To conclude this segment, you brain injury case will begin its journey through the court system once the summons and complaint is served and answer received. In our next Anatomy of a Lawsuit blog, I will discuss what happens next. Stay tuned.