You have to immediately file an "answer" to the complaint. If you don't, then you may lose without being permitted to put up a defense. Even if your time to answer has run out, most courts will permit a last-minute answer to be filed.
How you answer a complaint depends upon whether or not it is verified (certified true under oath). If it is not, then you can file a general answer, which basically states:
- "Jury Trial Demanded. Defendant, YOURNAME, pro se, hereby appears and denies each and every allegation of plaintiff's complainit. Defendant further raises the affirmative defenses of _____ [fill in the blanks, separated by commas]."
- By: ________
- Defendant, Pro Se
Note: for a list of affirmative defenses, see this link.
As an alternative, you can use Form PLD-010
to answer the complaint.
If the complaint is "verified" (certified under oath as true), then you need a lawyer or you will screw this up and lose by default (without being permitted to defend). The plaintiff is, at this moment, counting on your refuses to pay for a lawyer, and thereby giving up your right to defend. The plaintiff may be completely wrong, but it will win, you will have a judgment against you, and the plaintiff will be able to garnish your wages, or seize your assets and accounts to pay the judgment (unless you file bankruptcy).
So, if you want to protect yourself, then you need to find a lawyer to represent you immediately
(if the complaint is vereified). For a civil litigation attorney referral, see this link.
Hope this helps.
NOTICE: My goal here is to educate others about the law. I am always available to answer your follow-up questions after you click Accept – however, if you do not click Accept, the website gets paid, and I receive nothing. This is true, even if you are on a subscription plan. So please click Accept, so that I will be able to continue to provide this service for others in the future.
And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!