Critical Legal Info To Support You When Filing a Lawsuit

Are you looking for a basic outline of filing a lawsuit? Well, you’re in the right place.

In premise, the process consists of the complaint, the summons, service of process, answer to the complaint, counter-claims, cross-claims, so on and so forth.

The length and complexity of the lawsuit depend on the case, as well as a variety of other factors. In this article, we will cover all of the legal info that you will need to properly file a lawsuit.

So if that sounds like something you would love to know, just keep reading.

Beginning the Process: Complaint

Typically, the first document that is filed is a petition, a.k.a complaint. It provides an entire outline of the case that the plaintiff proposes against the defendant. The complaint is a file that identifies the entities involved, states the legal claims, sets the legal grounds for the power of the court, and describes the factual contents of the case. Thus, leading to the empowerment of the complaint.

The document will most likely have a prayer for relief. The plaintiff will have to provision what they want the defendant to do under the pretense of obligation by the court. For instance, to provide monetary compensation.

The focus of the document is to outline the legal and factual bases against the defendant. The facts in the complaint come from the knowledge of the plaintiff. Sometimes, upon information and belief is possibly used before some facts.

This means that plaintiff has heard about the facts from another entity or has formed the belief based on events in the described paragraph.

Most states require the complaint to be plain and simple, so don’t act surprised if the facts don’t seem to tell the entire story.

Service of Process & Summons Legal Info

The summons is an order from the venue in which the lawsuit will be litigated. It notifies the entities involved that they’ve been sued, and sets a time limit within which the defendant must seek to have the case dismissed. 

It will also describe the consequences of failing to appear or respond. The case can be decided without the defendant being present, and they will be bound to deal with the consequences even if they do not choose to participate.

Failing to respond will cause the case to be in default. The summons is a document, thus preprinted and formatted. It consists of the name of the court, entities involved, docket number, and notice.

The summons is to reach the defendant along with the complaint, either when somebody confirms their identity or when it is subject to delivery for them. The legalese for this is the service of the process.

The summons when served properly give jurisdiction to the court over the case, as well as the defendant. This means the court can make a decision about the complaint, and decisions that will affect the defendant with respect to the complaint. And that’s about it for the bulk of the legal info.


The response of the defendant to the complaint is an answer. The answer will address each part of the complaint, and reach respond can take on a specific form.

These forms are consisting of admission, denial, and insufficient knowledge to deny or admit. An answer can set forth a variety of defenses, which are legal reasons for why a defendant should not be liable. Some of these defenses may also play into a motion for dismissal.


If a defendant has the own claim against the plaintiff, one which arose from the circumstances that led to the initial complaint, it can be raised in the part titled “counterclaims.” The counterclaim will be completed in a similar fashion to the rest of the document.

Response to Counter-Claim

If the defendant asserts this counter, the plaintiff can choose to respond by completing the “reply”. This reply will admit, deny, or assert a lack of knowledge, in the same fashion as the original answer. The reply can also propose affirmative defenses.


Cross claims occur when there are several parties involved who are aligned as defendants or plaintiffs, as well as have their own dispute caused by the occurrence or transaction. 

For instance, if Driver C and B get sued by Driver D after an accident, but Driver B got injured by something driver C did, Driver B can choose to file a cross-claim in the same lawsuit.

Response to Cross-Claim

The person sued in a cross-claim will file a reply as well. The defendant will want to consider the variety of defenses available for this makes the lawsuit significantly more complex.

Third-Party Complaint

Sometimes a defendant sued has a legal reason to pass off the liability of the occurrence to another individual. For instance, in a contract, a third party promises to pay if the defendant is found liable in the case. This person can be brought into the lawsuit if the defendant files this complaint.

Like the regular complaint, it will set forth all of the same evidence and information mentioned earlier. It will also set a request for relief.

Response to Third-Party Complaint

The third entity that is used via a third-party complaint can file a reply, similar to the ones filed in all three of the prior examples. 

Lawsuit Process Elaborated

Now that you know the legal info behind the lawsuit process, you are well on your way to properly execute your suing process. As long as you hire an experienced lawyer and ensure to follow the law to the tee, you will most likely succeed in your case (given that the evidence is in your favor). If you are in dire need of a lawyer but don’t have the finances, get in touch with us and we will help you with pre-settlement funding.


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