Litigation Lawyers in Petaluma
If you live in , California, and believe that you have sustained some form of legal wrong, you may wish to file a lawsuit against the individual who allegedly wronged you.
If you think that you may want to file a lawsuit, you should not make this decision easily, 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 qualified Petaluma, California civil litigation attorney.
Once you have retained an attorney in Petaluma, California, he or she will be able to help you devise a strategy on how to proceed, which will hopefully maximize your chances of success in your lawsuit. Your lawyer can also provide you a rough idea of how much the lawsuit is likely to cost, taking into account court fees, expert witness fees, and other costs.
Steps for Filing a Lawsuit in Petaluma, California
Consultation with your attorney: Before you file a lawsuit in a Petaluma, California court, you need to meet and confer with a local lawyer. You lawyer in Petaluma, California can advise you on whether or not your lawsuit has merit, and how possible it is to prevail.
Drafting The Complaint: In Petaluma, California, the initial step in filing a lawsuit is drafting a complaint. The complaint is a document that lays out all of your allegations against the person you're suing. It generally provides necessary background information, details the injuries you suffered, and why the person you're suing is to blame for those injuries. It also usually contains a specific "prayer" (request) for relief - a brief statement telling the court what the plaintiff is asking of it, such as monetary damages, and injunction, or other relief.
Serving The Defendant: Once you have drafted your complaint, you need to serve the defendant with it, and file it with the court. Petaluma, California requires that lawsuits be served on defendants in a certain 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 highly preferred to serve defendants in person (with a disinterested third party delivering the papers to the defendant). Occasionally, 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: In Petaluma, California, the law gives civil defendants a fairly long period of time (a month or two usually) to respond to a lawsuit against them. The most common response is either an answer (where they address the factual allegations against them, usually denying most or all of the allegations) or a motion to dismiss (where the contend that, even if everything alleged in the complaint is true, those facts would not establish liability). If the defendant does nothing, and fails to respond, they run the risk of having a default judgment entered against them. This usually means that the court automatically rules against them, treating the plaintiff as if they won the lawsuit. This gives the plaintiff a judgment against the defendant, which they can seek to collect using all legal means.
How Can A Petaluma, California Tort Lawyer Help?
This article gives you a general picture of what is necessary to file a lawsuit in Petaluma, California. However, it should not, under any circumstances, be read as a complete guide to the litigation process.
You should seek the advice of a qualified litigation attorney if you are planning on filing a lawsuit against somebody who you think has wronged you in Petaluma, California.