I Just Received a Court Summons, Am I Being Sued?
Don’t panic. A court summons doesn’t necessarily mean someone is trying to sue you, though you will have to appear before a judge. There are quite a few reasons you may have been summoned, and those reasons will require follow-through on your part. You may have been summoned because:
- You are being called as a witness to a crash
- Your number came up for jury duty
- Law enforcement is charging you with a minor crime
- Another person has filed a civil lawsuit against you for damages
If someone has named you as a defendant in a civil suit or a criminal case, you will be served the official complaint along with the summons. This may be done in person or in some cases through the mail.
The summons will tell you your docket number, the parties involved, and which court will decide the matter.
How Should I Respond?
You need to go to court, even if you weren’t at the scene of the crash or don’t have anything to do with it.
If you’re serving jury duty, you don’t need a lawyer. You won’t need to talk to an attorney if you’re a witness unless you’re worried you may say something that implicates you in a crime. In that case, it may be wise to seek legal counsel to ensure you don’t incriminate yourself.
You may want to hire an attorney if you’re being sued or facing criminal charges. In either case, someone will need to file an answer to the complaint. If someone is filing a suit against you and seeking money for property damage or personal injury, send a copy of the complaint and summons to your insurance company. Most policies require your insurer to hire a lawyer to represent you, and the company will pay the attorney up to your coverage limit.
If you find the court system confusing and difficult to navigate, an attorney can help you make your case and avoid mistakes.
What Do I Do Now?
If you were served with a civil complaint, you need to file an official answer to the complaint. Look at your summons for the deadline to submit your answer. It is essential to file your response on time, even if you weren’t at fault for the crash. If you don’t file promptly and appear in court as instructed, you will be in default, and the court can decide your fate without hearing from you.
Your answer to the complaint is your chance to give your side of the story. This is a legal document that addresses each paragraph of the complaint. You or your legal representative can prepare your answers, which should admit or deny each section or complaint, or else argue that the plaintiff has not provided enough information to allow you to respond.
Remember to follow court instructions in a timely manner. If you don’s judgement could be entered against you failure to comply with the court’s rules.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer If I’ve Received a Car Accident Court Summons?
In most cases, it’s a good idea to hire an attorney if you’ve received a court summons for a car crash. If you’re only serving on jury duty or giving witness testimony, you probably don’t need one. However, if you’ve been named a defendant in a lawsuit or a criminal case, an experienced lawyer can provide guidance and support. Courts have their own procedures, and your case could suffer if you aren’t sure what you need to do and when you need to do it.
If you have been summoned due to a car accident, contact us and we will connect you to our Phoenix accident lawyer for a free consultation.