Our Orlando Injury Lawyers Explain Your Court Case Beginning to End
Part 2: Beginning the Lawsuit Through Initial Court Papers
The following is the second of a six-part series outlining a basic personal injury court case from beginning to end. Each part will explain the process, define some of the terms used in court documents, and give details as to the expected results. Previously, we discussed:
Civil cases make up most of the cases filed. The parties in a civil lawsuit are called the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff is the party bringing the lawsuit against the defendant.
Note: This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as formal legal advice.
Initiating a Lawsuit: Understanding the Terms
The lawsuit is started by filing a document called a complaint with a court, along with the filing fee. The complaint states what the lawsuit is about, why the defendant is responsible and the remedy the plaintiff is requesting, usually money damages. After the complaint is filed with the court, the clerk of courts issues a summons. The plaintiff must serve a copy of the complaint along with a summons on the defendant. A summons is an official court document notifying the defendant to answer the complaint within 20 days. If the Defendant does not file an answer within the time period, a default may be entered against the defendant.
The defendant’s written response to the complaint is called an answer. The answer admits or denies the allegations stated in the complaint. It also states any defenses to the complaint. In some cases, the defendant will first file a document called a motion to dismiss the complaint, instead of an answer. A motion to dismiss sets out reasons why the defendant believes the complaint is defective and should be dismissed. The Judge will rule on the Motion to Dismiss. If the motion is denied, the defendant must then file an answer to the complaint.
Possible Responses to Allegations
Sometimes the plaintiff will file a document known as a reply responding to the defendant’s answer. A reply states responses the plaintiff has to any defenses raised by the defendant in the answer.
These are the basic court papers at the beginning of an uncomplicated lawsuit. Many lawsuits are more complicated and may require court hearings to change the complaint and answer filed before the documents are final.
Our Orlando injury lawyers have decades of experience with court cases for personal injury, and we can make the process easy for you. Call 1-800-235-7060 today to contact our Orlando injury attorneys.