If you’ve been injured in an accident in California that was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another person, you may be entitled to collect a substantial amount of compensation. How much you collect will depend how serious your injuries are, how much time you lost from work, and many other factors. You know that collecting money damages can help your family recover financially from the impact of your injuries, but the thought of a lawsuit is intimidating. No worries – an experienced California civil litigation attorney can guide you through the process, and help you collect the compensation you deserve.
The First Step Is Filing a Complaint
Lawsuits are commenced by injured persons, called “Plaintiffs”, serving a “Complaint” on the people and/or companies that are responsible for their injuries, who are called “Defendants.” For a car accident this might be the driver of a car that hits a pedestrian or the driver of another vehicle that goes through a red light. It could be the owner of a supermarket with a slippery floor, the manufacturer of a defective product or the owner of a dog that bit you.
Next, You’ll Be Served With An Answer
In California, the Defendants have 30 days to respond to the complaint. They can either file an “Answer” admitting or denying each allegation in the complaint or a “Motion to Dismiss” the “Complaint.” A “Motion to Dismiss” will only be successful if the “Defendants” can prove that that none of the facts alleged in the “Complaint,” are sufficient to state a cause of action. A “Motion to Dismiss” will not be granted if any facts are in dispute. That’s why the more common response to a “Complaint” is an “Answer.”
The Discovery Process
The bulk of the litigation process is the exchange of information known as “Discovery.” This includes requests for production of documents, depositions, and other methods of collecting testimony and evidence. For complicated cases, the discovery process can last for years.
Settlement or Trial
Once the evidence has been exchanged, an experienced California civil litigation attorney will try to settle the case prior to trial. Preparing a strong case will usually result in a very high settlement amount, making a trial unnecessary.