Filing an AnswerEach defendant then has a certain amount of time (usually thirty days) to file a document known as an answer. The answer will contain statements that either admit or deny (the important allegations are always denied) the allegations contained in the complaint. The answer will also contain any affirmative defenses that the defendant wishes to assert, and these will be in the form of allegations.
For example, the defendants in an asbestos case may allege (make an allegation) that the plaintiff did not file his or her lawsuit before the deadline (called the statute of limitations) established by law.
The burden of proof in an asbestos lawsuit is a "preponderance of the evidence," which essentially means that the party (the plaintiff and defendants are called "parties") with the burden of proving the truth of an allegation must prove it more likely than not that the facts contained in the allegation are true. Each party has the burden of proof on its own allegations. So the plaintiff has the burden of proving the facts alleged in the complaint and denied in the answer, and the defendant has the burden of proving the facts alleged in the affirmative defenses.