What Type of Forms Are Needed to File a Lawsuit?


Quick Answer

Forms required to file a lawsuit include a complaint, or petition, summons and service of process, according to FindLaw. Depending on how the case progresses, additional forms, such as an answer, counterclaim, reply to counterclaim and cross-claim, may be necessary to proceed throughout the course of the lawsuit.

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Full Answer

Forms required to undertake a lawsuit are called pleadings and are filed with the court, explains FindLaw. The complaint is generally the first pleading filed. It highlights the reasons why the plaintiff is suing the defendant, lists the parties involved, states all relevant facts about the dispute, lays out the legal justification for the suit and notes the appropriate court to hear the case. Additionally, the plaintiff typically makes a demand for relief, such as monetary damages or any other actions he requests of the defendant.

Next, the court issues a summons to be served upon the defendant to notify him that he is being sued; this step must be completed before the lawsuit can progress any further, notes Nolo. Along with the summons, the defendant is presented with a copy of the complaint. Several methods of service are generally used, and the legal technicalities dictating how service must be completed varies by jurisdiction, but most courts require either personal service or service by mail as a starting point.

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