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Definition - What does Complaint mean?

Filing a complaint is one of the first steps to initiate a personal injury lawsuit. The complaint, which is simply a legal document, will contain not only the formal announcement that the plaintiff is seeking damages for an injury or loss they have sustained, but also the allegations and the amount of damages they intend to seek.

The form and style of the complaint may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but there are strict standards. Talk to a personal injury lawyer or find examples online for more information about filing a complaint.

Complaints should outline the full extent of the plaintiff's injuries, the facts surrounding the case, who is being sued, the amount of compensation requested, and why the plaintiff believes they have the legal right to request compensation.

Writing a legal complaint for a personal injury case

The first step to creating a legal complaint is to detail information about the plaintiff and the lawyer handling the personal injury claim, including their name, bar number and address. The letter must also establish why a specific court has jurisdiction to hear the personal injury case.

Next the plaintiff will list the type of case and the amount of the injury. For example, is your case a car accident claim, wrongful death suit or a property damage case? The plaintiff should also outline how the defendant breached their duty of care and how their actions led to the plaintiff's injuries.

Next, the complaint should clearly state the plaintiff's financial, mental and physical suffering, including all of their losses such as medical costs, wage loss, property loss and pain and suffering.

Finally, the complaint should document the facts of the case: what happened, the date and time it happened, and the amount of compensation requested. The plaintiff must date and sign the complaint form.

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