Why Would I Be Served Court Documents?

If you find yourself asking “Why would I be served court documents?” There are only two reasons behind it. This is because someone is suing you or because you are involved in a legal proceeding. Either way, you will need to be prepared once a process server finds and hands you court documents. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know should something as unexpected as being served court documents happens to you.

The Kinds of Legal Papers

There are many kinds of legal papers to keep in mind. Here are a few types:

Complaint and Summons

A summons notice is designed to inform you that a lawsuit was placed against you or the organization you run. It will tell you the time in which you need to respond.

Proceedings in the federal court will typically provide a period of up to 21 days from the date of service within which you must file a response. Meanwhile, a Writ of Summons from a circuit court has a period of 60 days and one from the district court is 30 days.

On the other hand, a complaint is a statement from the opposite party regarding a claim against you or your company.

Notice of a Hearing

These papers will provide short notice regarding a hearing, or an injunction. These papers will usually require your immediate attention. This is because a Notice of Hearing that requires urgent legal attention such as an injunction or a temporary restraining order (TRO) will have extremely short deadlines. A date will typically be included with the notice and you will need to call your lawyer.


Even if you’re not directly involved in a lawsuit, you may still be required to give testimony and collect information during a legal proceeding.

It will generally specify the date for the compliance or response for the subpoena, and you may need to fill out any objections before the specified time of response. While the typical deadline to file your objection is between 10 to 14 days after service, it can be earlier than this.

What You Need to Do

Once you’re aware of any legal papers sent to you, it’s best to take note of where, when, how, and who received the papers. You should never ignore legal papers, even if you think the claims are baseless. Should you ignore the papers, you may lose the right to object to a subpoena or resist a TRO.

Moreover, if you choose to ignore a summons and complaint, the allegations against you may be given a default judgment. If you fail to provide notice, you could also lose insurance coverage for claims, or lose the right to be compensated.

Call Our Team at EGA Process Serving Today

If you are unsure of how to proceed after being served court documents, call EGA Process Serving at 1-888-565-7774. We have been serving the needs of lawyers, agencies, and pro-se individuals throughout Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia for more than a decade. Our staff is both knowledgeable and accountable, with a dedication to getting the results you’re looking for.