Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

How Do I File A Lawsuit?

I would like to know how I can go about filing a lawsuit against an insurance company for damages resulting from an automobile accident? I just need to know how to file, not how to win, or what info I will need to win, but how to file. Thanks a lot.

Asked on 2/27/01, 9:14 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Jeffrey Zinder Zinder & Koch

Re: How Do I File A Lawsuit?

You prepare the complaint and the related papers and go to the clerk's office of the appropriate Court pay the fee and file the papers. If you do not want to engage an attorney there are local paralegal offices that may be able to help. You can also purchase consumer friendly guides on this from NOLO PRESS.

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Answered on 4/24/01, 10:02 am
John Bisnar Bisnar & Chase, LLP

Re: How Do I File A Lawsuit?

Your question is, "How do I file a lawsuit?". My answer is very poorly. Why? First you don't sue the insurance company in an auto accident case. You sue the responsible parties, not the insurance company. File against the insurance company and you'll be laughed out of court. The insurance company didn't cause the accident. You have no claim against them whatsoever.

Let's assume that you file the correct type and kind of law suit against the appropriate parties and make the appropriate allegations and file it timely in the right court, what message are you sending to the insurance company about your ability and skill in going against their law firm? This is like you and I trying to play the Lakers or Yankees or some other top professional sports team. You, who doesn't know even who to sue, is going to take on a firm of seasoned professionals? Not such a good message to send to the insurance company.

If your case is small enough, go to small claims court ($5,000 max.). The forms are very eash to fill out. Go to the small claims court for the area where the accident happened or where the defendant lives, get the forms and file it there. The form is easy to understand and complete.

If your matter is larger than $5,000 get an experienced attorney.

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Answered on 4/24/01, 10:55 am

Re: How Do I File A Lawsuit?

Your question has been directed to me as I specialize in Personal Injury Law.

In an automobile accident where you are going to sue the other driver, you do not name the insurance company as a defendant nor do you sue or serve the other insurance company. Your lawsuit has to be filed against the other individual who you feel is responsible for the accident. That defendant then has to be served with the lawsuit and in turn, the defendant will turn the lawsuit over to his or her insurance company.

You go about filing the lawsuit by picking up the proper forms from an attorney or from the court. You need to make sure you file the lawsuit in the proper court based on where the accident took place or where the other driver lives. You then complete the Summons and Complaint (lawsuit papers), make extra copies and take the forms to the clerk's office in the appropriate court with the proper filing fee.

If you are in the Orange County area, you can call my office for some additional help.

Yours truly,



10101 SLATER AVENUE #218


TELEPHONE 714- 963-5123

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Answered on 4/26/01, 8:38 pm

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