In the city of San Luis Obispo, people often ask what it means to “file suit,” and why we do it. There is a misconception that people who file lawsuits are money hungry or greedy. The truth is that when people are injured in some way due to the negligence of another, they are well within their legal right to seek compensation for their financial difficulties.

Filing suit simply means that a person, either on their own or with the assistance of an attorney, fills out and submits paperwork to a court asking for a lawsuit to proceed. The person is suing another person or an entity, or both, in order to recover “damages” that have been sustained due to negligence. A person may file suit due to an accident, a workplace injury, a medical mistake, a birth injury or any other type of situation that resulted in harm.

For example, a person involved in a vehicle accident may sue the other driver if they have been injured or their property was severely damaged. Another person may file suit against a medical professional if that professional was negligent or made an error and an injury resulted from their actions. When a person is injured or sustains damage to their property, they have immediate and unforeseen financial concerns. People may choose to file suit as a way to have these monies returned to them or to have someone be held accountable for paying for future bills related to the case.