What Does It Really Mean to Take Someone to Court in California?
If you watch movies and see someone taking another person to court, it’s almost always very dramatic and exciting. Lawyers make witnesses cry, judges yell and bang the gavel, and the seats are full of people who can’t wait to explain. Of course, this not at all the reality of most cases. Read on to learn what you can really expect if you take someone to court and then reach out to Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.
It starts with a lot of paperwork
Before we file a lawsuit, we will generally lay out the case in a detailed letter to the insurance company in question. We will attempt to get the insurance company to do the right thing and pay the damages they owe. Unfortunately, it’s common for people and companies to not want to take responsibility for what they’ve done.
That said, the next step is not just to walk into court and be at trial. We’ll then file a complaint with the court. At the low end, this may be four letters but it could be as many as 50 pages in the case of complex accidents or catastrophic injuries. This complaint will set forth the general grounds for the lawsuit. Once it’s filed with the court, we serve the defendant and the case moves on.
The defendant then has 30 days to respond to the complaint. If there is insurance coverage then that company will likely step in and bring their own counsel who will file the answer to the filed complaint. Next, both sides conduct what’s known as discovery. This includes sending questions back and forth, and documents are typically requested. The documents will vary based on the case. For example, in a motorcycle accident, the following documents would likely be requested:
- Medical bills and documents
- Documents supporting lost wages
- Photos of the motorcycle
- Estimates for repairs
- Police reports
- Statements from witnesses
In today’s world, posts on social media may be requested too. This is why we don’t recommend you post anything about your accident, even if you think your privacy settings are private.
Next is the deposition
Once discovery is over, it’s time for the deposition. This is where people appear under oath and answer questions. Typically their attorney and a court reporter are present. Anything said here can be brought up at trial, so it’s important to make sure that the truth comes out here and doesn’t change once the trial comes up.
From there everything can be different
While most personal injury lawsuits follow the above timeline, at this point they can go off in many directions. It all depends on the plaintiff’s goals or the case, what the defendant is offering, and other factors. Regardless, it’s easy to see that this is not a process that a layman is likely to have a lot of success with. This is why we hope you’ll call Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 sooner rather than later. Let’s get started with a free case evaluation.