If one is lawfully served with a Summons and Complaint in a civil action and then fails to respond by filing with the court and serving the opposing party with an Answer that person is subject to having a court order entered granting the relief requested in the lawsuit. This is called a Default Judgment and has the same effect as if the case went to trial and the person lost the case.
A Summons tells the defendant where, when and how to appear, defend and file an Answer. A Complaint sets out the facts giving rise to the suit and specifies what relief (usually money) the person filing the suit wants.
A lawyer needs a thorough understanding of the facts of the matter and may have to review statutes and case law to prepare an Answer so do not wait until the last minute to seek legal counsel.
Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.