What Is A Summons?

SUMMONS-scaledAfter being injured in an accident, knowing what to expect when pursuing your claim brings you peace of mind. Some of our most frequently asked questions are about the summons. At the beginning of a lawsuit, a summons and complaint are two legal documents served to all defendants. The summons informs the defendant of the plaintiff’s commencement of the legal action and demands that they answer the complaint. The complaint is a written document detailing the plaintiff’s reasons for pursuing the lawsuit. It states the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant and the damages they seek compensation for. 

Serving A Summons  

New York State law forbids any party to the legal action from serving the summons. The person who serves the summons must be at least 18 years old. Process servers are typically used to serve these legal documents. The three methods of delivering a summons are:

  1. Personal Delivery: The summons is handed directly to the defendant;
  2. Substituted Delivery: The summons is left with another person to pass on to the defendant, and a copy is mailed to the defendant; and
  3. Conspicuous Delivery: When personal or substituted delivery cannot be accomplished, the summons may be left where it is likely to be found. This method also requires a copy to be mailed to the defendant. 

The Defendant’s Response 

Once a summons and complaint have been served, the defendant has a deadline to serve the plaintiff with a copy of the response, also known as a notice of appearance. Then, the original response and proof of service must be filed in the County Clerk’s Office. To be considered timely, the notice of appearance must be sent to the plaintiff’s lawyer within 20 days of personal service or within 30 days if the service was completed another way. The defendant can either admit or deny each of the plaintiff’s claims in their response. Alternatively, suppose the defendant does not answer on time. In that case, they will be considered in default, and the plaintiff could apply for a default judgment.

Do You Need Help Preparing A Summons And Complaint Against Someone That Caused You To Suffer An Injury?

Taking on a defendant’s large insurance company alone can be extremely intimidating if you are the victim of any accident and are considering pursuing legal action. It is imperative that you consult with highly experienced legal counsel. Jed Dietrich, Esq. has been exclusively litigating injury claims for almost 25 years. The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s battle-tested attorneys have an extensive track record for obtaining the best results. Consequently, after being served with our complaint, the defense lawyers and insurance adjusters will likely be compelled to offer you a larger settlement package. Our veteran litigators would be honored to evaluate your case’s strength and answer all your questions. We are available 24/7 by calling 716-839-3939 or completing the online consultation form







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