- Personal Injury Lawyer
- Case Settlements
Filing a lawsuit after an accident without a personal injury attorney requires an extensive amount of paperwork. Here are some steps to help you through the free online forms provided by the California Judicial Council.
Let’s assume you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault. Most of the forms you’ll need will have a space at the top for “Attorney or Party Without Attorney”. If you are not being represented by a personal injury attorney, you will enter your own name and contact information on all forms.
In the right column, you will see a space listed for your case number. As a brand new case, you will not have this yet; however once assigned your case number will remain the same throughout the duration of your litigation.
Under case name, you will list the names of the parties, listing yourself as the plaintiff. If there is more than one defendant, you can list as many names as the space will accommodate. To abbreviate, you can list the defendant’s name followed by et al.
While browsing all forms, select the drop down bar for Case Management and select form number CM-010, Civil Case Cover Sheet. This form allows you to select the type of case you are filing. Remember, you are only checking one box so choose the one that best describes your case.
Go back to browsing forms and select the Pleading – Personal Injury, Property Damage, Wrongful Death tab. From there, the first form to use is the Complaint (PLD-PI-001).
Next, the Plaintiff may select the following forms depending on which causes of action have been alleged:
Every complaint must have a Summons attached, puts the Defendant on notice that they have 30 days from the date of personal service to respond to the allegations listed in the complaint. If the Defendant does not respond, the Plaintiff can file a default against him/her.
It is always a good idea to look at the local rules of the county in which your action will be filed. These rules vary, so you must check each county individually.
Here are the rules for Sacramento County courts.
It is also a good idea to check local forms to determine whether the county has special forms not listed on the Judicial Council website.
Once all of these documents have been completed, you must take the original, signed version and make two additional copies for filing. The Statewide Civil Fee Schedule breaks down the fee for any type of filing you have. For a personal injury matter, the filing fee is $435.00 unless a fee waiver is filed.
Clearly this can be a complicated process. The internet and the free resources available to self-represented parties make it easier; however, if you find that you need to file a lawsuit, sometimes your best resource is a personal injury attorney who is experienced with the complex processes and paperwork. Our firm offers a free consultation.
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