Litigation Lawyers in Malibu
If you live in , California, and believe that you have suffered some type of legal wrong, you may wish to file a lawsuit against the person who allegedly wronged you.
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 Malibu, California civil litigation attorney.
The Malibu, 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 Malibu, California
Consultation with your attorney: Before you continue in any legal action in Malibu, California, you should speak with a brilliant local attorney in Malibu, California. Your legal counsel can make sure you have the best possible chance of winning your case, and help you decide if you should file your lawsuit in the first place.
Drafting a Complaint: Once you have decided to go through with filing a lawsuit in a Malibu, California court, you need to draft a complaint, with the help of your lawyer. A complaint is normally the first step in actually filing a lawsuit. The complaint is the plaintiff's first opportunity to lay out the allegations against the defendant. If a complaint doesn't allege facts that add up to a valid lawsuit (that is, even if everything alleged in the complaint is true, the defendant has still not committed a legal wrong that the court can compensate), the case will have to be dismissed. When a case is dismissed for this reason, the court normally gives the plaintiff a chance to re-submit the complaint, with the errors corrected.
Serving The Defendant: Once you have drafted your complaint, you need to serve the defendant with it, and file it with the court. Malibu, California requires that lawsuits be served on defendants in a particular way. This is to ensure that the defendant has a good deal of notice that they're being sued, giving them time to find an attorney, and work on how they're going to defend themselves. It is strongly preferred to serve defendants in person (with a disinterested third party delivering the papers to the defendant). Sometimes, however, the defendant cannot be found, or is trying to avoid service, they can be served by mail with court approval.
Await Defendant's Response: When you have served the defendant with the complaint in Malibu, 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.
How Can A Malibu, California Tort Lawyer Help?
Filing a lawsuit in a Malibu, California court is a bit more complex than the basic outline laid out above.
Therefore, it is imperative that you consult a qualified civil litigation attorney before you file any type of lawsuit in Malibu, California.