A defendant's first pleading in a case, which addresses the dispute on the merits and presents any defenses and counterclaims.  A typical answer denies most of the plaintiff's allegations and claims complete defenses to allegations that are not denied.


After receiving a [[wex:plaintiff|plaintiff's]] [[wex:complaint]], a [[wex:defendant]] must respond with a [[wex:pleading]] called an answer. In the answer, the [[wex:defendant]] must address each allegation in the [[wex:complaint]]. Some jurisdictions allow defendants to make a general denial of all allegations in the [[wex:complaint]]. The [[wex:defendant]] may also raise [[wex:counterclaim|counterclaims]] or [[wex:affirmative_defense|affirmative defenses]].

If a [[wex:defendant]] does raise [[wex:counterclaim|counterclaims]] in her answer, the [[wex:plaintiff]] must respond to those [[wex:counterclaim|counterclaims]] with a [[wex:pleading]] called an "answer to a counterclaim." The form and content of an "answer to a counterclaim" is similar to that of an answer. In the [[wex:federal_courts|federal courts]], if the [[wex:defendant]] does not plead a [[wex:counterclaim]], [[wex:plaintiff|plaintiffs]] may only file a "reply to an answer" with the court's permission. See the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See also the federal courts' website for sample complaints.

See [[wex:civil_procedure|Civil Procedure]].