In a personal injury case such as a car crash, an accident victim will be confronted with many types of legal documents. One type of pleading is a complaint. A complaint details the facts and legal reasons an injured plaintiff thinks are enough to support a claim for damages against a defendant.
In a personal injury case, a defendant does not need to prove anything. It is up to the plaintiff to show that the plaintiff is hurt, and what amount of compensation the plaintiff should get for the injuries.
After filing the complaint with the court, the plaintiff must serve the defendant with the complaint. When a defendant in a civil case is served with a complaint, the defendant can respond in several ways:
- Deny all liability and argue the plaintiff owes the defendant money.
- Reply to the complaint by filing a demurrer or a motion to dismiss.
- File an answer.
When the defendant files an answer, the defendant is appearing in the lawsuit. The defendant usually pays a filing fee. An answer is a defendant’s response to a complaint. In the answer, the defendant may deny allegations, offer defenses, or make counterclaims against a plaintiff. The defendant usually has a certain number of days to respond to a complaint after being served. The defendant can also bring in outside parties to the lawsuit by making cross-claims against other defendants, or third-party claims against third parties not involved in the lawsuit.
A demurrer is a pleading in a personal injury lawsuit that objects to a complaint because of a deficiency. A deficiency can be the cause of action not stating all the required elements.
A motion to dismiss is a defendant request to the court to dismiss a lawsuit because the plaintiff is not entitled to legal relief. A motion usually requires a court hearing so that each side may be offered due process to be heard.
If a motion to dismiss is denied or the demurrer overruled, the plaintiff may be given leave to amend any problems, and the defendant will be required to answer. Together, the complaint and answer identify the issues that will be disputed in a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact a personal injury attorney in the Philadelphia, PA area if you contemplate filing wrongful death, personal injury, or workers’ compensation claim.