You’ve heard the term “Plaintiff” before, but sometimes it’s challenging to tell who is who in a case. When you suffer a personal injury, such as a car crash injury, you have several ways of recovering compensatory damages. In most cases, you can simply reach out to your own insurer or the insurance company of the other driver to get a fair compensation. However, it is not always this easy.
In some cases, you will have to go through a longer and more complex legal process. This happens when you must file a lawsuit to get damages for your accident-related losses. Although lawsuits are rare, they are usually the final option in instances when the insurer won’t pay or when the driver has insufficient or no insurance.
Before you file a lawsuit for your crash-related losses, it is important to understand how the process works. You will also need to learn many new terms that will be routinely used in filing the lawsuit and proceeding with it. One of these is the term ‘plaintiff.’
Who is the Plaintiff?
In a car accident lawsuit, a plaintiff is simply someone who files the lawsuit. If you have suffered losses in a car crash and you feel that another driver’s negligence caused it, you can initiate a lawsuit. This makes you the plaintiff.
The ultimate goal of a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is to force the other party, through legal means, to pay up a fair compensation. It is important to understand that when you initiate a lawsuit and become a plaintiff, the burden of proof is on you.
Your role as a plaintiff starts only when you formally initiate a lawsuit. This is done by filing the requisite paperwork with the relevant court. The presiding judge then determines the nature of the pre-trial activities and the schedule of the trial itself.
Plaintiff and the Burden of Proof
When you file a car accident lawsuit as the plaintiff, it is entirely your responsibility to prove your claimed version of the case. This means that you are responsible for gathering the relevant evidence, invoking the relevant laws, consulting any witnesses or medical experts, and ultimately helping a jury make a decision. In many cases, this also means that you must hire a qualified personal injury attorney to represent you during the court proceedings of the case.
Difference between Plaintiff and Defendant
A defendant is the exact opposite of a plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit. If you are filing the lawsuit against an at-fault driver, the driver you are suing is the defendant. The latter is called so because he or she has the role of defending themselves against your request for compensation as a plaintiff.
It is possible for multiple plaintiffs and multiple defendants to exist in a given lawsuit. For instance, if you believe that the negligence of several parties contributed to your crash, you can nominate all of them as the defendants. Similarly, if multiple drivers are impacted by the negligence of a vehicle, they can collectively sue the driver or vehicle owner for compensation.
A person formally becomes the defendant once he or she receives the summons issued by a court following the filing of a lawsuit. From then on, the defendant is required to present a suitable defense against the allegations presented in the court.
Being the Plaintiff and Defendant Simultaneously
It is possible for a party to be a plaintiff as well as a defendant. This happens when a defendant that you are suing decides to counter-sue you. This is typically done over allegations of defamation or another legal wrong. It is also known as a counter-claim. A defendant can often bring a counter-claim against you, as a defendant in a car crash claim, simply to put pressure on you and stress you out. If you have sound legal advice at this stage, you can make the right decisions without buckling under the pressure.
Hiring a Reliable Car Accident Attorney in Miami
If you have suffered a car accident in Miami, our highly qualified attorneys at Englander Peebles can help you. Being a prestigious and well-known law firm in the region, we help you file for compensatory damages in connection with an auto accident.
Our attorneys help you through all the stages of a car accident claim. This includes negotiating with the insurer and failing that, launching a lawsuit to get you fair compensation. With our extensive legal experience as a leading firm, you have significantly better odds of winning a lawsuit. Call us today to discuss your case with our attorneys for free.