The Process of Suing

Suing someone involves filing a legal document with the court. This document lays out your claims against the defendant and what kind of “relief” you want from them, such as money.


The process of suing is a complex one, requiring legal expertise. But understanding the process will help you get started.

Complaint and Summons

In many jurisdictions, the first step in a lawsuit is to formally serve a summons and complaint on the defendant. This serves a dual purpose: not only is it necessary to notify the defendant that there is a lawsuit against him or her, but also to inform the court and the defendant of the substantive basis upon which the lawsuit rests and the type of damages the plaintiff seeks.

Defendants are given a set amount of time — typically 20 or 30 days to respond to the complaint. They should start working on their response early and well before the date set by the court to avoid missing the deadline.

The answer should include anything that the defendant admits or contests in the complaint, as well as any defenses the defendant wishes to assert. Additionally, it should describe what caused the alleged harm and explain why the defendant is responsible for it.

While some parties will resent the process, it is important to understand that failure to appear or otherwise comply with the summons and complaint will result in default against the party. Default will result in the party being denied the right to proceed with the case and potentially having their property seized or sold.

To rebut the allegations in the complaint, the defendant must answer it in writing. This is a critical part of preparing the initial steps in a civil action and should be done with an attorney who can ensure that you are addressing all relevant issues.

Once the attorney has reviewed the complaint and analyzed the allegations, the lawyer will decide whether or not to file a motion to dismiss. A motion to dismiss will be used in a number of situations, including when the allegations are frivolous, when there is no legal basis for the lawsuit or when the defendant has not been served with the complaint.

When a motion to dismiss is filed, the judge will hear the argument and decide whether or not to grant the request. Once the decision is made, the case will move on to trial. If a jury finds in favor of the plaintiff, damages will be awarded. If the jury does not find in the plaintiff’s favor, the case will be remanded to the lower court for further proceedings.


When you or a legal representative files a lawsuit, you have to give notice to other parties involved in the case as well as the court. This is known as service of process, and every state has laws that describe how this must occur.

The first step in serving papers is to make sure you know the correct people to serve. Whether you are suing an individual or a business, each person must be served individually with copies of the documents filed in the case.

It’s important to know who to serve because it can make a big difference in the outcome of the case. If you don’t serve the right people, you could lose your case or even get thrown out of court.

In order to serve a person, you must find out their address and other information. You can ask a friend, or you can look it up on your local court’s website.

Often, it’s possible to use a process server or a courier to deliver papers to the defendant. However, there are times when this won’t be possible, and a substitute method of service must be used.

You may want to consider contacting a local lawyer to help you determine the best way to serve your defendant. They can also help you understand how to prepare your paperwork so it will be properly served.

Personal Service: Generally, the best way to serve papers is to personally hand them over to the defendant. This can be done at the defendant’s home or another location.

Substituted Service: If a person cannot be served personally, New York law allows for the service of documents to be left with an agent or representative of the named party. These agents can be employees or even friends or relatives of the person being served.

The process server must then fill out a proof of service form that tells the court how and when service was made on the person, as well as where it took place. Once the process server has completed this, the case can proceed.


When you or a loved one is pursuing a claim in the court system, you may encounter the term “discovery.” This phase of litigation is vital to ensuring that both sides have all the facts necessary to prepare for trial. It can also help to prevent unexpected surprises at the trial.

While the discovery process can be a daunting task, it is critical to understand that it is often the key to obtaining the justice you deserve. This is especially true in a personal injury case, where you will likely have to give up some of your most private and intimate details in order to win compensation and accountability for the harm done.

There are several different types of document production, each of which is designed to uncover information that will be relevant to the case. These may include medical records, employment history, financial documents and more.

Typically, the parties will have a conference to plan for the discovery phase of the case. During this meeting, each party will discuss what type of documents they need and how to request them.

Once the documents are requested, a judge will decide whether they should be produced. If they are not produced in a timely manner, the party making the requests can file a motion with the court asking the judge to compel the other side to produce the documents.

The discovery phase can take months, but it is essential to the success of your case. It is also the only way to ensure that all of the evidence is available when you go to trial.

This is because it is common for a defendant to try to hide or suppress important evidence that would be useful to the plaintiff. It is very important that all parties to a case are aware of the discovery process and that they participate in it.

There are many different forms of discovery, and each party must respond to the other side’s questions in a timely manner. If a party fails to comply with the rules of discovery, it can be liable for penalties. If you are facing a lawsuit and need to know more about the discovery phase of your case, it is important that you consult an attorney who can provide you with more information on the matter.


The process of suing involves filing a complaint with the court, then serving it on the defendant. This document describes your damages or injury, explains how the defendant caused the harm, shows that the court has jurisdiction over your case, and asks for relief from the court.

Typically, a plaintiff will seek monetary compensation for his injuries or other types of equitable relief, such as an injunction to prevent the defendant from doing certain things again. However, some types of cases are resolved through mediation or negotiations before the plaintiff takes the matter to trial.

Once a lawsuit has been filed, both parties are given a deadline to respond to it and may file counter-claims. During this stage, both sides must carefully research and prepare their case.

The longest phase of the process is called discovery, which involves a structured exchange of information between the parties. This is meant to eliminate surprises and clarify what the lawsuit is all about. It also allows the parties to decide whether or not they should settle or drop frivolous claims and defenses.

This is the most difficult part of the process, but it is critical for a fair and efficient trial. It can take months, or even years, to gather the evidence and witnesses that are necessary for a successful case.

During this time, both sides will conduct research, interview witnesses, and hire experts to help build their case. The plaintiff and the defendant will also participate in a pre-trial process of potential juror interviews called a voir dire, which helps select the jury.

After the trial has ended, both parties can appeal the verdict to an appellate court. The appellate court reviews the jury’s verdict to look for errors or if there were any discrepancies between the law and the facts of the case. If an error is found, the appellate court can reverse the decision or order a new trial.

During the trial, the lawyers for each party will present their case to the judge or jury. This includes opening statements, witness testimony, and closing arguments. The attorneys for both sides will try to convince the judge or jury that their arguments are reasonable and that they have a good chance of winning.