If I have been served papers as a third party defendant in an accident, how do I answer it myself?

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2014

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If I have been served papers as a third party defendant in an accident, how do I answer it myself?

I have no money to pay to have a letter prepared for me to answer.

Asked on October 14, 2014 under Accident Law, Tennessee


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A letter won't be sufficient as a response.

You need to file an answer to the complaint.  The complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons.  Your answer to the complaint must be filed with the court prior to the deadline stated on the summons.  You will also need to serve by mail the other parties in the case.

At the law library, look in the index of Pleading and Practice for answer to a complaint.  This will give you the general format for an answer to a complaint.  Ask the law librarian to help you find it.

After drafting the answer, make extra copies and file it with the court with an attached proof of service.  The proof of service verifies that you mailed it to the other parties.  List the names and addresses of the other parties on the proof of service.  You can use a court form proof of service or you can write your own.  If you write your own, it just says that the attached documents were sent via first class mail unless stated otherwise on ________ (date) to ___________  (names and addresses of the other parties.  Sign and date it under penalty of perjury at the bottom of the proof of service.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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