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The Importance of Filing an Answer


What is an Answer? 

The Answer is the first action a Defendant (person being sued) may take in a lawsuit. After the Plaintiff (person suing) files a complaint, the Defendant has the opportunity to file an answer in response to the complaint. 

What is the Purpose of an Answer?

The ultimate goal in any lawsuit is resolution of the argument between the Plaintiff and Defendant, and the Answer is the first step in resolving the argument. The Plaintiff asserts various claims and facts in the complaint, including but not limited to dates, dollar amounts, liability, duties of the parties, and actions taken by the parties. The Defendant uses the Answer to either admit to, deny, or ask for more information regarding each of the Plaintiff’s claims. Any claims the Defendant admits to will be accepted by the Court and are no longer arguable in the lawsuit. Any claims to which the Defendant denies or asks for more information will be argued later in the lawsuit through a process called Discovery. 

What Will Happen if I Don’t File an Answer?

If the Defendant fails to file an answer to the Plaintiff’s complaint, the Plaintiff may ask the court to award Default Judgment. This means the Plaintiff writes a letter to the Court stating the Defendant has failed to argue and that all of the Plaintiff’s claims are true and therefore the Plaintiff is owed Judgment. If the Plaintiff wins judgment, the lawsuit is over and the Plaintiff wins. The Defendant no longer has an opportunity to argue.

How do I file an answer?

If you have received a complaint from the Franklin County Municipal Court, visit the Self Help Center. Center staff will walk you through completing an answer form and talk to you about potential next steps in a lawsuit.

Still have questions? Visit the Self Help Center Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 3 PM.