Auto Accidents: The Complaint And Answer

A personal Injury action is a form of civil action, typically initiated by a claimant through his or her attorney, as opposed to criminal actions, which are initiated by government authority representatives. A civil action is commenced by the filing of a complaint. In a personal injury action, it is not uncommon for a complaint to be several pages in length, and include multiple counts. Some complaints are even more complex, depending on the circumstances of the case. In cases where there may be multiple parties at fault, the complaint may be both complex and lengthy.

When your accident attorney files a complaint on behalf of a claimant, with the appropriate court having jurisdiction over the matter, the clerk assigns a case number, which is then recorded on the complaint. This information is then entered into that county’s court docketing system. Any future filings, by either parties are then entered into what is commonly referred to as a docket. Many counties provide online access to civil case dockets, where the general public can view docket entries pertaining to a specific case, and the corresponding date of entry and/or filing.

Along with the complaint, your accident attorney will request that the court issue a special document, which is referred to as a summons. The summons permits the complaint to be served upon opposing parties. Service of process can be completed by a county sheriff authorized to serve process, or by a private process server. At Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. we prefer to use a private process server because it is typically the most efficient means of effectuating service.

The essential purpose of a summons is to provide notice to an opposing party that a lawsuit has been filed against them, and that failure to respond within the time period required by the summons could result in a judgment against that party. Most commonly, response from the opposing party or parties will come in the form of a responsive pleading referred to as an Answer, which typically will include Affirmative Defenses. However, it is not uncommon for an opposing party to attempt to dismiss a matter by filing a motion, such as a motion to dismiss. Our injury attorneys recognize when an insurance company is acting in bad faith by attempting to dismiss a matter through the filing of frivolous or wrongful dispositive motions.

Given the above stated it is easy to see the complexities involved in a civil cause of action, even in the initial stages. There are many procedural rules pertaining to a civil complaint, and these requirements must be adhered to or the claimant risks dismissal of the case. As such, it is imperative that you seek consultation with a licensed Illinois attorney so that you can ensure that your legal rights are adequately protected. For a FREE personal injury consultation with one of our Chicago accident or injury attorneys, contact Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. today at (773)516-4100, or through our website at

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