Filing a Lawsuit in Brentwood, California
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If you think that you may want to file a lawsuit, you should not make this decision lightly, and there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account. Obviously, you should never go into a lawsuit without at least consulting a reliable Brentwood, California civil litigation attorney.
The Brentwood, California attorney you end up contacting will be able to advise you on whether you have a good case. If you do, they will also advise you on your best options on how to proceed. Your lawyer can also inform you about what their fees are, and if they have multiple payment options.
Steps for Filing a Lawsuit in Brentwood, California
Consultation With Your Attorney: Before filing any lawsuit in Brentwood, California, you should speak with a local attorney. Your Brentwood, California attorney will be able to advise you on the merits of your lawsuit, and your chances of success.
Drafting The Complaint: In Brentwood, 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 normally 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 Brentwood, 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 certain 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.
Await Defendant's Response: When you have served the defendant with the complaint in Brentwood, California, the defendant has time to respond. The most frequent response is known as an "answer," in which they specifically address the factual allegations you've made against them, normally by denying most of the allegations. They might also move to dismiss the case if they can argue that the complaint is legally flawed. A judge then has to rule on this motion. If the defendant doesn't respond within a specific period of time, they are said to have "defaulted." This allows the court to enter a default judgment, in which the plaintiff essentially automatically wins the lawsuit. Once this happens, the defendant, if they're ever located, can be served with the judgment, and will have very little power to challenge the merits of your case.
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This simple outline is meant to give you a general idea of what goes into filing a lawsuit in Brentwood, California, but it is by no means a comprehensive guide.
Therefore, if you want to file a lawsuit against someone in Brentwood, California, you should not hesitate to speak with an attorney, who will be able to advise you on the best way to proceed.