Who Are the Plaintiffs and Defendants in Personal Injury Cases?
Bill Allen | January 4, 2023 | Personal Injury
Personal injury cases can become complicated when a lot of people are involved. For example, a car accident case gets confusing when it’s a multi-car pileup on the highway that leads to complex lawsuits. Each party involved will likely try to pin the blame on everyone else after being involved in a crash, so how can you keep it straight and figure out who’s at fault?
It’s helpful to understand everyone’s role in a personal injury case, and the best way is to identify the plaintiff and defendant.
Who Is the Plaintiff and What Is Their Role?
The plaintiff is the injured person in a personal injury lawsuit. The plaintiff is the person arguing that they were hurt because of someone else’s negligence. They may be hurt because of a defective product or medical malpractice, for instance. The plaintiff starts the lawsuit by filing a civil complaint in court that outlines their claim. They also include the legal basis for recovering damages.
In some cases, the plaintiff may be a representative of another person, like a family member or caretaker. This is common in wrongful death cases when survivors file lawsuits under Florida law. The lawsuit holds a defendant accountable for damages on behalf of their lost loved one.
There can also be multiple plaintiffs in a lawsuit when someone hurts multiple people. For example, a passenger and driver of a car may both be hurt by a distracted driver. Both parties may have a lawsuit based on the same accident. In these cases, each of the plaintiffs usually has a lawyer, but they often work together to get the defendant to pay. They might file a complaint jointly and even participate in depositions together.
Who Is the Defendant and What Is Their Role?
The defendant is the person who is being sued. They are the person identified in the complaint by the plaintiff as causing the injuries. The plaintiff usually wants to make the defendant pay for economic and non-economic damages. In Florida, this can include medical bills and pain and suffering.
Once a lawsuit has been initiated, the Defendant has no choice but to settle or defend themselves. This means responding to the complaint and asserting affirmative defenses allowed under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Some defenses included contributory negligence or assumption of risk. If the Defendant has an affirmative defense, the case may be dismissed.
In some cases, the Defendant may be an insurance company that is refusing to pay when it is fairly due or a corporation that manufactured a bad product. There can also be several Defendants who are jointly responsible, for example, an insurance company and the insured.
Who Are the Other Parties Involved in a Personal Injury Case in Gainesville, FL?
There can be other parties to a personal injury case aside from the plaintiff and the defendant. For example, cross-claims and counterclaims may absorb new parties into the lawsuit. Florida courts allow for many different types of claims in a single personal injury lawsuit. Each party must respond to the lawsuit in its own way and defend its unique interests. Sometimes this can make a case more confusing and take longer to settle or go to trial.
Do All Cases Go to Trial in Gainesville, FL?
Many personal injury cases in Gainesville do not go to trial. Instead, they settle with a payout from the insurance party or defendant. This means that you probably won’t have to worry about all of the other parties in a lawsuit. However, if your case does end up going to trial or gets complex, it is important to know your role.
It is also important to talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer to guide you. You don’t want to be stuck in a trial without a good lawyer. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations as well – so if you were hurt in an accident, reaching out to determine whether you have a claim is likely worth the time.
Contact Our Gainesville Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Gainesville personal injury lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida: