Every lawsuit starts with a summons. It is the formal notification to a person or company that someone else is suing them. A lawsuit cannot start without a summons, because the person has to know about the lawsuit in order to defend themselves.
The process of delivering a summons is known as “serving” it. Normally the summons must be received directly to the person in question (or an appropriate individual at a company). It is put in their hand, not simply sent through the mail. If the person cannot be found or contacted, it is possible to serve a summons by public notice in the newspaper.
How do I serve a summons to someone?
The summons is a document filed at the beginning of the lawsuit process, along with your complaint. The complaint is a formal description of the injury or loss you suffered and how the other party is responsible, along with what you’re asking for as compensation. Your lawyer will file this complaint with the clerk of court, and also file a summons form. The summons will then be served to the defendant.
In Georgia, you cannot send the summons directly to the other party. It must be filed with the court, which will then entrust the Sheriff or a US Marshall to serve the summons.
What happens when someone receives a summons?
The summons will include a copy of the complaint and tell them how long they have to respond. In Georgia, this is normally 30 days. If they do not respond in this time the court may find the case in your favor.
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