If two parties in a personal injury case are unable to reach a settlement out of court, a lawsuit may be filed. Filing a lawsuit is a deceptively complicated process, involving multiple documents and a specific timeframe. In the case of the Kogan & DiSalvo client who fractured her ankle on a company’s staircase, no settlement was reached despite an extended period of negotiations. The defendant, a Florida-based LLC that owned the staircase which injured Kogan & DiSalvo’s client, refused to offer a reasonable compensation throughout the settlement negotiation process.
After exhausting efforts to resolve the case prior to a lawsuit, Kogan & DiSalvo prepared multiple documents on behalf of the client for the impending court proceeding. The first was a summons, which is essentially the document that gives the court jurisdiction over the defendant. The summons was served on the defendant by a process server, along with the complaint.
The complaint is the document that lays out the allegation that plaintiff must prove to show that the defendant is responsible for the client’s injuries and damages. Kogan & DiSalvo lawyers also served discovery requests along with the initial complaint to start to gathering information from the defendant. A plaintiff is entitled to know what documents and evidence they may use at trial ahead of time, and they may also look for other information that might be relevant to the cause of action.
Response from the Defendant
The opposing party’s response to the document that Kogan & DiSalvo filed on its client’s behalf in Florida was to deny liability and claim an affirmative defense, alleging that the plaintiff was the one who was negligent for falling down the stairs. The defendant also raised additional defenses, including blaming a third party for the negligence which caused the fall. In addition, the defense claimed that the relevant medical bills were unreasonable and exaggerated. Affirmative defense, third-parties, and exaggerated medical bills are all common defenses in personal injury cases.
From the time they received the summons and the complaint, the defendant has 20 days to respond by either filing an answer to the complaint or by filing a motion to dismiss the complaint. In this case, the opposing party responded with a principle pleading, called an answer to the complaint, in which they addressed the allegations of the complaint.
Filing a Motion to Strike the Affirmative Defenses
Once Kogan & DiSalvo received the defendant’s answer, the plaintiff’s attorneys proceeded on the client’s behalf by filing a motion to strike several of the affirmative defenses. In this case, the affirmative defenses were either inapplicable or the defendant did not provide ultimate facts to support those defenses. Instead, they simply alleged legal theories, such as the negligence of third parties, without providing any specific information. As a result, those affirmative defenses were stricken from the case.
Initiating a lawsuit is one of the many aspects of the law that may be difficult to impossible for a layman to perform without retaining counsel. If you have suffered a personal injury, the lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo could represent your legal claim at every step of the process.