Most people who get sued respond to the papers they receive right away. Finding out that somebody is suing you can be downright scary. Even if they’re confident that their insurance carrier will take care of it, that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve been named in a personal injury lawsuit. This always surprises our South Fulton accident lawyers when the defendant in a lawsuit we have filed ignores the complaint.
It would be one thing if our paralegals mailed the complaint to the defendant via the regular mail. We do send a courtesy copy by regular mail. However, in almost all personal injury lawsuits our Georgia accident attorneys use a courier that will hand deliver an original copy of the complaint to the defendant. We also follow that up with a copy of the letter sent via certified mail. What the defendant chooses to do with the complaint after it’s delivered is entirely up to them.
Here, we’ll discuss what your options are if the defendant refuses to acknowledge the fact that your South Fulton accident lawyer filed a personal injury lawsuit against them. If you have any other questions about your car accident lawsuit, contact our office directly. We can set up a date and time for you to come into the office for your free, initial consultation.
How Does the Defendant Find Out They Have Been Sued?
When you sue somebody in Georgia, you are required to personally serve them with a copy of the complaint. An original copy is to be sent to the defendant and the court. You must also send a copy of the complaint to the defendant via regular and certified mail. If they sign the certified mail card, it will be deemed that they have received the complaint.
The same is true if they sign for the papers when the courier drops it off. If they evade service, your Georgia injury attorney may need to hire someone to personally serve the complaint on the other driver. If you have ever seen a movie where a process server has to run from big dogs and pistols when serving legal papers on someone, that is not the way it is in real life. Process servers actually work very professionally and most defendants begrudgingly accept whatever paper they need to serve upon them.
How Long Does the Other Party Have to File a Response?
If you file a civil lawsuit against someone in Georgia, they have 30 days to respond. This is fourteen real days – not calendar days. If they don’t file a response within that time frame, your South Fulton accident lawyer can file a motion requesting a default judgment. The judge has to grant this motion if the defendant did indeed ignore your complaint. They do not have a choice in this matter. However, the defendant can come back and petition the court to reopen the case. They’ll claim that they didn’t know the personal injury lawsuit had been filed or that they never received a copy of the complaint. Even if you don’t believe a word of this, your Georgia injury attorney will need to prepare to prosecute your case.
There’s a Good Chance the Judge Will Grant Your Motion
If the defendant ignores your complaint, your South Fulton accident lawyer will file a default motion with the courts. This motion will be requesting that the judge issue a judgment in your favor. This judgement will be for the full amount of your claim. If your Georgia injury attorney asks for attorney’s fees in the body of your complaint, the judge will grant these as well. In a way, this is a win for you.
However, there is something you have to remember. The kind of person who ignores a personal injury lawsuit that has been filed against them is not the kind of person who has a ton of assets. If the defendant had insurance, your South Fulton accident lawyer would have named them in the lawsuit. You can bet that they would have responded to your complaint. This means that the other driver must not have had insurance at the time of the crash. Your only chance of recovery will be domesticating the judgment and trying to execute on it. Luckily, this is something your Georgia injury attorney can help you do as well.
Reach Out to a Seasoned Georgia Injury Attorney for Help with Your Car Accident Lawsuit
If you have been involved in a serious car accident, you’re probably feeling several things right now. You are likely angry at the person who caused your crash. At the same time, you’re worried about how you’re going to pay all the outstanding bills related to your accident. Therefore, it must be extremely frustrating to learn that the person who caused your crash completely ignored the legal papers they received. The good news is that ignoring the complaint isn’t going to make the personal injury lawsuit go away. In fact, it actually makes your Georgia injury attorney’s job a lot easier. Rather than have to deal with the possibility of a trial, all they have to do is file a motion to have a default judgment declared in your favor.
We suggest that you reach out to one of our seasoned South Fulton accident lawyers within days of your car accident. This gives you the best chance of resolving your claim as quickly as possible. If the defendant is just going to ignore your personal injury lawsuit, then you may as well sue them right away. Of course, there is no way to know if the defendant is going to respond or not. They have time to file a response. Until that waiting period is over, you can’t just assume they’re going to ignore it.
For now, what you need to do is call our office so we can schedule your free, initial consultation. Regardless of what the other driver does, you need to protect yourself and your legal rights. The best way to do that is to meet with an experienced Georgia injury attorney right after your accident. This way, they can get started on your case and fight to get you the damages you deserve.