Filing a Lawsuit in San Diego County, California
If you live in
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 knowledgeable San Diego County, California civil litigation attorney.
Once you have hired an attorney in San Diego County, 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 give 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 San Diego County, California
Consultation with your attorney: Before you file a lawsuit in a San Diego County, California court, you need to meet and confer with a local lawyer. You lawyer in San Diego County, California can advise you on whether or not your lawsuit has merit, and how likely it is to succeed.
Drafting The Complaint: Once you decide that pursuing a lawsuit in San Diego County, California civil court is worth your time and effort, you need to file a complaint. The complaint can set the tone, and frame the issues, for the rest of the litigation process, which can drag on for months, or even years (and decades, in some cases). This is because the complaint lays out all the allegations against the defendant. It also typically asks the court for specific relief, should it rule in the plaintiff's favor.
Serving The Defendant: Once you, or your lawyer, have drafted a complaint, the defendant must be served with it, so they have notice that they're being sued, and are given time to prepare a defense. San Diego County, California has particular rules governing how a complaint must be served, for the service to be valid. Personal service (having someone give the documents directly to the defendant) is preferred. However, some courts will also accept service by mail in limited circumstances, or service upon an adult member of the defendant's household.
Await The Response: The defendant has a given amount of time to respond to your lawsuit, once they confirm that they've been served in San Diego County, California. The defendant will probably respond with an answer to your complaint. An answer is a document in which the defendant admits or denies the specific factual allegations made by the plaintiff. Normally, the defendant will admit the allegations that are not seriously in dispute (for example, if the lawsuit concerns a car accident, they'll probably admit that an accident did, in fact, take place), but deny the more serious allegations (they'll probably deny that they were responsible for the accident). If the defendant fails to respond within a predetermined period of time, they are in "default," and basically lose the case automatically.
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This simple outline is meant to give you a general idea of what goes into filing a lawsuit in San Diego County, California, but it is by no means a comprehensive guide.
Accordingly, it's always a good idea to speak with a San Diego County, California litigation attorney if you are contemplating filing a lawsuit against a person or company.