Can You Sue a “John Doe” or “Jane Doe” Defendant in a California Personal Injury Case?
If you have been injured by a person but do not yet know who they are, can you sue them or do you have to wait until their identity is known? It might surprise you to know that in some situations, you can sue a “John Doe” as a stand-in for the real person. Curious to know more? Read on, then contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.
What Exactly is a John Doe Defendant?
This is a stand-in for the “real” person you will be suing. It is relevant if you have a case but are not sure of the name or identity of the person you are suing. They can be listed as a defendant by using the term “John Doe.” There can even be more than one defendant named this way. They would be “John Doe 1,” “John Doe 2,” etc.
Why Would You Name Joe De a Defendant?
If you have a personal injury case and know that someone else acted negligently and that negligence led to the accident, that does not necessarily mean that you know who they are. If you do not, you can start the proceedings and have their names added once they have been identified. There are a few reasons it might be necessary, including statutes of limitations, and to get access to records you can only access if a lawsuit has been filed.
What Do We Do When We Identify the Defendant?
At that point, you must amend the complaint to add their name and serve him or her with the lawsuit. You can amend your complaint just a single time before the defendant files their answer. If you want to amend your answer after that first change, you will need the court’s permission to do so.
When you amend the original complaint, you must use the same set of facts that were included in the original complaint and refer to the same accident and the same injuries that were named in the original complaint. Serving the identified person is an essential part of the process that lets them know they are being used and allows them to respond to the suit and defend themselves.
How Do I File a Lawsuit with a John Doe Listed?
Contact a personal injury attorney who can help you determine if you have a case and handle the filing. At Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas we can begin with a free legal consultation. This gives you a chance to determine if you have grounds for a case before you invest anything. If you do end up filing a lawsuit with us, you will not owe us for your legal bills until we win your case. If we do not win it then you do not pay any legal fees to us. Contact us today at 909-982-0707 to get the process started.