Filing a Lawsuit in Barstow, California
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If you're considering filing a lawsuit, there are numerous things you need to consider, and it is not a decision to be made lightly. You should not file a lawsuit without seeking the advice of a Barstow, California civil litigation attorney first.
When you retain a civil litigation lawyer in Barstow, California, they'll be able to give you some very useful advice, particularly in devising a strategy that maximizes your chances of winning your lawsuit. You'll probably also wonder how much this lawsuit is going to cost you, especially if you don't win. This largely depends on the attorney's fee structure. If the attorney charges an hourly rate, you will simply have to pay the lawyer for every hour they work. This can add up to a huge amount of money, very quickly. If they charge on a contingency basis, you do not have to pay any attorney's fees unless you win, and payment comes in the form of the percentage of the judgment. However, if you lose, you might still be responsible for costs, such as court fees, which are incurred no matter what happens to the case.
Steps for Filing a Lawsuit in Barstow, California
Consultation with your attorney: Before you proceed with any legal action in Barstow, California, you should seek the advice and counsel of a good Barstow, California attorney. He or she will be indispensable in helping you succeed in your lawsuit.
Drafting The Complaint: In Barstow, California, the first step to filing a lawsuit, once you've actually decided to do so (in consultation with your attorney), is writing a complaint. A complaint is simply a list of facts that you allege against the defendant. A court must look at these allegations and determine if they add up to a valid cause of action, assuming they're true. If they do not add up to a cause of action, the case may be dismissed. The complaint also usually ask the court to provide specific relief, should it rule in the plaintiff's favor.
Serving the Defendant: When you have decided that you want to file a lawsuit in Barstow, California, and have drafted the complaint, your next major step is to file the complaint with the court, and serve it on the defendant. The defendant must be given at least several weeks' notice that they're being sued, and as much time to review the complaint. This is a matter of basic fairness and due process, and allows the defendant to hire a lawyer and get to work on a defense. The law requires that the defendant be served in a few specific ways. The first choice is to give it to them in person. This has to be done by a person who does not have any direct involvement in the lawsuit. If that isn't possible, the defendant can be served by giving the complaint to another adult member of their household; this is called substituted service.
Awaiting the Defendant's Response: Once a lawsuit has been filed, and the defendant has been served in Barstow, California, the defendant has time to respond. They usually do so by drafting an answer to the complaint, in which they deny the plaintiff's allegations, or assert a legal defense. If the defendant fails to respond within a set period of time, they will be in default, and you may be able to get a "default judgment" against them, in which all of your allegations against the defendant are treated as if the defendant admitted them, and you only need to prove that you've suffered losses that warrant the damages you're asking for.
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This simple outline is meant to give you a general idea of what goes into filing a lawsuit in Barstow, California, but it is by no means a comprehensive guide.
Accordingly, it's always a good idea to speak with a Barstow, California litigation attorney if you are contemplating filing a lawsuit against a person or company.