Bakersfield, CA asked in Personal Injury for California

Q: I have filed a civil case for personal injury on my own. But I’m not sure about serving the other party and the summons?

I had an attorney that quit at the last min. So o am trying to handle this the best I can. I just do not know if o have to serve her. One lady told me no it has all been done another said mo it hadn’t. The court is really confusing me and I can’t get into see the law help center. Not that they are much help either

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3 Lawyer Answers
Patrick William Steinfeld
Patrick William Steinfeld
  • Coronado, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Search process server and let them handle it. If you have questions at this stage, you need to get an attorney. As litigation proceeds, the questions get harder and the consequences greater.

Dan Rowan Cortright agrees with this answer

Brett Christopher Drouet
Brett Christopher Drouet pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I am truly sorry your former attorney quit at the last minute. If you are going to represent yourself, you have a complicated undertaking ahead of you, and I strongly recommend you find another attorney to represent you if you can.

If you can't find another attorney, then you can contact legal aid organizations in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties to name a few. Many law schools also have legal clinics that may be able to help you. Many courts have online Self-Help services, which you can seek assistance.

Your former attorney should have provided you with your case file. If your case has been filed, then a court number would have been assigned to it. If the lawsuit (e.g., Complaint, Summons and other required court documents) have been served, then there should be a proof of service signed by the process server in your file. If the lawsuit has been filed but not served, then there are many reputable process serving companies, who can be located on the internet to serve the defendant(s).

As a plaintiff, you will need to serve the defendant(s) with the lawsuit (see documents above) and comply with all procedures and requirements like an attorney. Again, your best option is to get another attorney or seek assistance from legal aid organizations, law school clinics and/or courts' Self-Help online services.

Eric Gene Young
Eric Gene Young pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I concur with the others who answered your question, but I would also add that you should check with your local bar association. Many county bar associations operate lawyer referral services that can pair you up with an attorney who may be willing to take on your case, or perhaps, even assist you behind the scenes for a lesser fee.

No one should attempt to represent themselves in any type of civil litigation. There are many pitfalls for the unwary. And, in all likelihood, you will be dealing with a defense attorney(s) who will do whatever they can to take advantage of the situation. Find someone to help you.

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