The Initial Stages of a Lawsuit

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A commonly asked question that people who have been injured ask themselves is as follows: when do I need to file a lawsuit? The answer to this question is that a lawsuit needs to be filed when an injury has occurred and the party or parties responsible for causing the injury have failed to accept responsibility for the harm they caused and compensate you fairly for the damage the injury has caused you. The following is a birds-eye-view summary of what the early stages of a lawsuit in South Carolina consist of.

The Summons and Complaint

In South Carolina, an injured party has three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit to preserve their rights to recover for the injuries and harms sustained as a result of another party’s negligent or bad acts. A lawsuit officially begins when a Summons and Complaint has been filed with the court. For more information on whether the proper court to file a Summons and Complaint is federal court, state court, or magistrate court, contact a personal injury attorney before you file the lawsuit to know how to proceed.

Once the Summons and Complaint has been filed with the proper court and served on the party or parties who caused your injury, whether they be a business entity, a driver, or another at-fault party, they have 30 days to file an Answer to the Summons and Complaint. Once the Summons and Complaint has been filed and served and an Answer filed in response, which is referred to as the “pleadings” in the case, the process of “discovery” begins.

What is Discovery?

“Discovery” is a legal term of art that simply describes the process of the person or people injured, called the “Plaintiff(s),” and the party or parties that are being sued, called the “Defendant(s),” provide to one another the evidence that will be used in the case. This will include both sides asking for any and all information that is relevant to the case. Discovery provides you the opportunity to provide information related to how you were injured, how it has affected your life, and what your case is really about.

Reach Out to a Lawyer to Learn More

To learn more about what you should include in your Summons and Complaint, what information from the Defendant(s) can be received by the Plaintiff in your case once the lawsuit has begun, what information about you is off limits and not subject to discovery, or any other questions about how to effectively begin and manage the early stages of a lawsuit, please reach out to see if we can provide guidance with directing you on how to start your case.

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