Personal injury lawsuits involve two parties: the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff is the person who was injured and has decided to file a claim for damages. The defendant is the person against whom the lawsuit is filed. If you have been involved in a San Diego accident it is important to understand what rights and responsibilities you may have if a lawsuit is filed.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Plaintiff
If you have been harmed because of another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct in San Diego, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit for damages. Filing a civil lawsuit makes you the plaintiff in the case.
Potential plaintiffs can include:
1. Injured accident victims
When another person’s actions cause you to suffer an injury, you have the right to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
Example: You suffered a slip and fall in a restaurant and suffered a broken leg. You would have the right to file a lawsuit to recover damages from the restaurant for failing to keep you safe.
2. Family members of a victim who is killed in an accident
If you have a family member or loved one who is killed in an accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This allows you to recover compensation for the financial and emotional hardships you encounter because of the unexpected death.
Example: Your family member was struck and killed by a car while crossing the street. You have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages for funeral expenses, lost financial support provided by the victim, and loss of companionship.
3. The estate of a deceased accident victim
The personal representative of a deceased accident victim can file a lawsuit to recover damages that the victim would have been able to recover had he survived.
Example: Your family member was injured in a car accident and died from his injuries a few days later. The personal representative of his estate files a survival action to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and any other damages the victim would have been able to recover himself.
4. Bystanders who suffer emotional distress after witnesses an accident.
You can also be the plaintiff in a lawsuit if you suffer emotional distress because you witnessed a tragic accident.
Example: After having dinner at a downtown San Diego restaurant with your spouse you both leave in separate cars. You witness your spouse being struck and killed by a drunk driver. While you were not directly involved in the accident, witnesses your spouse’s death at the hands of a reckless driver gives you the right to file a lawsuit.
As you can see, you don’t necessarily have to be the person who is directly injured in an accident to be the plaintiff. Anyone who files a civil lawsuit will be known as the plaintiff.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Defendant
If the plaintiff is the person who files the lawsuit, who is the defendant? The defendant is the person against whom the lawsuit is filed. In other words, the defendant is the person who is being accused of causing the plaintiff to suffer an injury.
In California, more than one person can be named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit. California law is based on the theory of comparative fault. This means that anyone who contributes to the cause of an accident or injury can be held responsible for damages. When more than one defendant is at fault, each is liable to the degree they caused harm.
Potential defendants in a San Diego personal injury lawsuit can include:
- Negligent drivers who cause an accident
- Shop owners who fail to keep their stores and land safe
- Product manufacturers that fail to warn about dangerous defects
- Employers who fail to train and manage their employees properly
- Government agencies that do not fix dangerous conditions on roads and sidewalks.
Injured in a San Diego Accident? Call Injury Trial Lawyers, APC
Have you been injured in a San Diego accident? You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover monetary damages. When you file a lawsuit, you become the plaintiff. The person you are accusing of causing harm is the defendant.
As the plaintiff, you must satisfy the burden of proof in order to recover damages. In civil cases, this simply means that you must prove that your argument is more likely true than not. Hiring an attorney to handle your case will help to ensure that your case is proven by a preponderance of the evidence. Contact Injury Trial Lawyers, APC today to request a free consultation.