Filing a Lawsuit in San Mateo 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 Mateo County, California civil litigation attorney.
Once you have hired an attorney in San Mateo 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 Mateo County, California
Consultation with your attorney: Before you file a lawsuit in a San Mateo County, California court, you need to meet and confer with a local lawyer. You lawyer in San Mateo 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 Mateo 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 have drafted your complaint, you need to serve the defendant with it, and file it with the court. San Mateo County, California requires that lawsuits be served on defendants in a specific 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 San Mateo County, California, the defendant has time to respond. The most prevalent response is known as an "answer," in which they specifically address the factual allegations you've made against them, typically 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 given 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.
Find a San Mateo County Lawyer that Specializes in Your Area of Need:
How Can A San Mateo County, California Tort Lawyer Help?
Filing a lawsuit in a San Mateo County, California court is a bit more intricate than the basic outline laid out above.
If you have suffered a legal wrong in and decide to sue the person who you believed wronged you, you should speak with a qualified San Mateo County, California attorney.