Who Are the Plaintiffs and Defendants in a Personal Injury Case?

hands of lawyer explaining a contract to a clientIf you were injured by another party’s negligence, you may need a personal injury lawyer. Before beginning your search for one, it can help to understand some basic terms used in these cases. Two key terms you need to know describe the central roles of a personal injury case: the plaintiff and the defendant.

Arnold Law Firm breaks down these two roles in the article below, including how they play out during a legal claim.

When someone else’s negligence causes you harm, we strongly recommend seeking legal help. You may be eligible to recover significant compensation to help pay for your medical costs, lost wages and other damages.

Call to discuss your situation in a FREE case review. (916) 777-7777

Who Is the Plaintiff in a Personal Injury Case?

In personal injury cases, the plaintiff is the person who got hurt. This could be someone who was involved in a car accident, slipped and fell at a store, or got bitten by a neighbor’s dog. As the plaintiff, you are the party bringing the lawsuit. In essence, this means you are saying, “Hey, I got hurt, it was not my fault, and it cost me a lot of money that I need to get compensated for.”

The Defendant in a Personal Injury Case Is the Party Being Sued

The defendant is the party on the other side of the legal case. This person or company is the negligent party you are suing for damages. The defendant could be an individual, a company or multiple parties. The defendant is the party that was negligent and who you believe is responsible for causing your injuries.

Common examples of personal injuries caused by negligence include:

  • Tailgating driver who got too close and rear-ended your vehicle
  • Store that failed to warn you of a spill, causing you to slip and fall
  • Distracted driver who ran you over in a designated crossing area
  • Dog owner who failed to control his or her dog, causing you to get bitten

Why These Titles Matter

It is not so much about understanding legal jargon as it is about understanding your role and your rights in a personal injury case. As the plaintiff, for example, you may be getting hit with mounting medical bills after a car crash that you did not cause. As such, you have the right to seek compensation for damages related to that accident. This is where having a skilled personal injury lawyer in Sacramento becomes vital to the outcome of your case.

What Is Your Role as a Plaintiff?

As a plaintiff or injury victim, your primary role is to prove that the defendant was negligent. You must also prove how that negligence caused your injury and resulted in damages.

Personal injury cases are rarely straightforward. Often it can come down to what you can prove because it is not enough to just say what happened. Plaintiffs need to provide tangible evidence that backs up their claims.

Strong evidence for a personal injury case may include:

  • Photographs of where the incident occurred, such as the crash scene after being involved in a collision.
  • Medical records from the day of the incident, ongoing treatments and follow-up appointments
  • Witness statements from people who may have seen events leading up to your injury
  • Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists

Handling a personal injury case on your own is challenging for many reasons. In part, because the legal process is complex and often confusing. Deadlines are easy to miss. Without legal guidance, victims can easily make mistakes that could severely damage their cases, especially when they are injured and stressed.

Understanding the Defendant’s Defense

The defendant is usually represented by lawyers for an insurance company. Attorneys for the defense might say the accident was not their clients’ fault. If the defendants’ attorneys cannot fully prove a client is blameless, they may try to shift some of the fault to the plaintiff to reduce how much the insurance company has to pay for damages. The defendant’s side may also try to argue that your injuries are not as bad as you first stated. They have the resources to fight back, and they will.

Why Plaintiffs Need a Lawyer

Having an experienced personal injury lawyer is key to maximizing your claim. A good lawyer knows the ins and outs of personal injury cases. They should have the staff and resources to investigate your case and gather strong evidence on your behalf. Your lawyer should also talk to witnesses to ensure they are prepared to give testimony and that they are credible. Attorneys handle the back-and-forth communication with the defendant’s lawyers, so you do not have to. They work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve, whether it is to pay for related medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

How Can You Choose the Right Lawyer?

Naturally, all attorneys are not the same. Different attorneys have different strengths and specialties, just like doctors, teachers or scientists. You need to find an attorney who specializes in personal injury law and who has been doing it for some time. It could benefit you to find someone who specializes in a type of personal injury case.

For instance, if you suffered a slip and fall injury, having an attorney who has a successful history handling slip and fall cases could greatly benefit the outcome of your case. You also want someone who has an in-depth understanding of Sacramento’s laws. And most importantly, you need someone who cares about you and your case.

Understanding The Legal Journey Ahead

A personal injury case involves many challenges and unexpected difficulties along the way. If you have a valid case, it is important to recognize that it could take weeks, months or sometimes years to resolve.

Understanding your role as the plaintiff and how it differs from that of the defendant is vital. As a potential plaintiff, we strongly recommend optimizing your chances of success by finding an experienced lawyer with a proven history.

Need Legal Help After an Injury? Call Our Trusted Law Firm Today.

If you need legal help after an injury caused by another party’s negligence, Arnold Law Firm is ready to help you recover the compensation you need. We want you to be able to focus on healing from your injuries and other losses.

Once your injuries have stabilized, we encourage you to call our law offices as soon as possible. Our staff are ready to take your call 24/7. Request your free case review to discuss your situation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys in Sacramento. We can help determine whether you may have legal options. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay.

Need Legal Help? Call (916) 777-7777 today to discuss your situation.