What Facts Go in a Complaint?

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A complaint is the document a plaintiff files with the court at the beginning of the lawsuit. A complaint describes how the defendant injured the plaintiff.

Only the most important, basic facts should in a complaint. The purpose of the complaint is not to tell every detail of your story. The purpose of the complaint is to put the defendant on notice for the action or inaction for which he is being sued.

For example, if a case is a car accident case, the complaint need only allege basic facts like these:

1) The Plaintiff was operating her vehicle in a safe and prudent manner;

2) The Defendant failed to use reasonable care while operating his vehicle;

3) The Defendant’s vehicle hit the Plaintiff’s vehicle; and

4) The Plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of the Defendant’s failure to use reasonable care.

The details of your story will be developed during the “discovery” phase of your case. Your attorney can use them to negotiate with the defendant or to tell your story to a jury.

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