LITIGATION Q&A

What do I do if I am served with a summons and complaint?

What do I do if I am served with a summons and complaint? The first thing you need to do is to determine when an answer to the complaint needs to be filed. In the majority of cases, an individual or corporation has 28 days from the date they receive the complaint in which to file an answer. In addition, it is important to note that ignoring the complaint, or just refusing certified mail, will not make the lawsuit disappear. By contrast, Ohio law has very broad authority that permits the initiation of a lawsuit and the methodology relating to perfecting service. Therefore, if you are served with a complaint, you must immediately notify your attorney and forward the original complaint to your insurance company. Your insurance company will contact you and thereafter a representative of Curtin & Curtin, LLP will be in contact with you as it pertains to the defense of the lawsuit. It is imperative that you not speak with anyone, about the lawsuit, absent your insurance company or a representative of Curtin & Curtin, LLP.

The accident happened nearly two years ago, why am I receiving a complaint two years after the accident?

Under Ohio law, an individual has two years in which to file an action alleging negligence as the basis of the complaint. This would include, by way of example, a motor vehicle accident. Oftentimes a delay is explainable by the fact that the plaintiff’s attorney may be assembling medical bills or may be in negotiations with your liability insurance carrier. The fact that a complaint was filed nearly two years after the accident is not designed to harass any individual, but oftentimes is due to some of the factors set forth above.

What do I have to do with respect to the defense of the lawsuit?

Curtin & Curtin, LLP handles all aspects of the litigation. Your involvement would include preparing answers to interrogatories, responses to request for production of documents as well as appearing at deposition and trial. However, through all of these steps, a representative of Curtin & Curtin, LLP will assist you. In order to maintain the lines of communications, it is also important for you to provide to us your business telephone number and address and to immediately notify us in the event that you change your home address or place of employment.

I do not believe the plaintiff has a valid complaint. Can I file a lawsuit against the plaintiff as a result of being sued?

Typically the answer to this question is no. Ohio law permits the initiation of a complaint if the attorney has a good faith belief in fact and in law that a valid cause of action exists. There are limited circumstances wherein a claim can be made for the filing of a frivolous lawsuit, but there are certain standards that must be met. In general terms, the courts of Ohio are open to all individuals and oftentimes that access to the courts does permit the allowance of lawsuits that may, at the end of a trial, prove to be meritless.

How long will it take for the case to settle or proceed to trial?

County courts, known as Courts of Common Pleas, vary with regard to the trial docket. However, a general rule of thumb is that you can anticipate a case being tried within two years from the filing of the complaint. Settlement can occur at any time and your liability insurance carrier, as well as Curtin & Curtin, LLP, always takes all necessary steps in order to attempt to effectuate a fair settlement.

Why do civil lawsuits take so long to be scheduled for trial?

Two types of cases are on nearly all courts’ dockets including civil and criminal cases. For constitutional reasons, criminal cases must be tried within a certain period of time and, therefore, courts appropriately have a legal obligation to promptly resolve criminal cases. In addition, civil matters normally involve the assembly of medical documentation and medical reports as well as the scheduling of depositions. These steps typically take a significant amount of time and, therefore, the courts do afford the attorneys involved in the litigation sufficient time to properly prosecute the case or prepare your defense.

Can I have my own attorney represent me in this case?

You always have the right to retain your own attorney, but you would be financially responsible for his/her fee. Liability insurance companies select law firms with expertise in the area of litigation and Curtin & Curtin, LLP is one of the firms that has been selected by your insurance company as a firm with the capabilities necessary to properly defend your case. You will not receive legal bill from Curtin & Curtin, LLP if you do have available liability insurance. In addition, your liability insurance carrier will commonly pay the costs associated with completion of depositions, retention of expert witnesses, as well as deposition testimony of expert witnesses.

DISCLAIMER

The content of this website is intended for informational purposes only and cannot be considered legal advice. Those persons reading this website should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information provided herein. All such persons reading this website are encouraged to seek out professional legal counsel should they have questions regarding their legal rights.