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Facing a Small Claims Lawsuit in Wisconsin? Here's How to File an Answer

Posted by Nathan DeLadurantey | Apr 22, 2024

Being sued in Wisconsin small claims court can be stressful. But don't panic! You have the right to defend yourself. A crucial step in your defense is filing an answer. This blog post will guide you through the process of filing an answer in Wisconsin small claims court.

What is an Answer?

An answer is your written response to the lawsuit complaint filed against you. It allows you to inform the court of your position on the matter. Here's what you need to include in your answer:

  • Deny or Admit Claims: State whether you agree or disagree with each allegation made by the plaintiff in the complaint.
  • Provide Reasons: Briefly explain why you disagree with any claims you've denied.
  • Present Counterclaims (Optional): If you believe the plaintiff owes you money, you can file a counterclaim within your answer.

How to File an Answer:

  1. Obtain the Answer Form: Visit your county's circuit court website or clerk's office to obtain the "Answer and Counterclaim" form (SC-5200V). Most courts have the form available online or in person.
  2. Fill Out the Form: The form includes step-by-step instructions. Fill out the form carefully and completely, including:
    • Your name and address
    • The plaintiff's name and address
    • Case number
    • Your response to each claim
    • Any counterclaims you may have
  3. Make Copies: Make at least three copies of your completed answer form. One for your records, one for the court, and one to serve on the plaintiff.
  4. File the Answer with the Court: Take the original and one copy to the clerk's office of the circuit court in the county where the lawsuit was filed. Pay any required filing fees (typically minimal in small claims cases).
  5. Serve the Plaintiff: The final copy of the answer needs to be delivered (served) to the plaintiff. There are different ways to do this, such as certified mail or having someone over 18 who is not involved in the case hand-deliver it. Proof of service (a form you'll usually receive with the answer form) must be filed with the court.

Meeting Deadlines:

  • It's crucial to file your answer within the timeframe stated in the summons you received with the complaint. This is typically 20 days. Missing the deadline could result in a default judgment being entered against you, meaning you automatically lose the case.

Seeking Legal Help:

While you can represent yourself in small claims court, consulting with an attorney specializing in debt collection or small claims cases can be beneficial, especially for complex situations. They can guide you through the process, ensure your rights are protected, and potentially represent you in court.


Remember: Filing an answer is your chance to defend yourself in a small claims lawsuit. Follow the steps outlined above, meet deadlines, and consider seeking legal guidance if needed. By taking action, you can protect your rights and potentially achieve a favorable outcome in court.

Attorney Nathan DeLadurantey offers free consultations to explain your legal rights in Wisconsin. Free consultations can be scheduled online. 

About the Author

Nathan DeLadurantey

Nathan DeLadurantey ATTORNEY [email protected] Nathan is a skilled consumer lawyer who handles cases and trials all over Wisconsin. Phone consultations are always free and welcomed. Nathan has helped clients receive large jury verdicts and settlements stemming from consumer law violations, and is ready and able to assist.


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