What is a Defendant?
The parties on opposing sides of a personal injury case are referred to as the defendant and the plaintiff, respectively, in legal jargon. The party who was injured is known as the plaintiff, and the party who was responsible (being sued) for the injury is known as the defendant. It is extremely unusual for the actual person who caused the injury to be the one who is being prosecuted for the crime.
Here are a few case examples:
- The insurance company in a case involving a motor vehicle collision represents the party (defendant) who was at fault for the collision.
- The dog owner’s homeowners insurance is almost always named as the defendant in a case involving a dog bite.
- In a case involving premises liability, the defendant in the case is the insurance company that defends the company that owns the premises.
- The defendant in a case involving a defective medical device is the company that manufactured the device (or the corporation’s insurance company).
This is significant because it indicates that it is not necessary for you to go after a specific individual in order to win your case. Insurance policies almost always hand over cash to settle claims. In the vast majority of cases involving personal injuries, you do not have to make anyone pay out of their own pocket for your recovery.
Is There Ever a Time When the Defendant is an Individual?
Sometimes, but not always. This is something that would most likely occur in the event of an accident involving a driver who was uninsured. You have the option of pursuing a claim against the person personally in the event that they were the cause of a car accident and they did not carry the appropriate insurance coverage as required by the state. Even in these kinds of circumstances, a competent attorney may be able to locate another policy from which the client can pursue financial compensation. In that case, the individual’s assets might be used to pay for the recovery.
In a Personal Injury Case, What Does the Defendant Have to Prove?
To be perfectly clear, the defendant does not have to provide any evidence or proof of anything. You, the person who was injured, are the one who is responsible for proving that the other party was responsible for your injury and determining the monetary value of the damages.
In actuality, however, they will employ a wide variety of strategies to refute the claim that you have made. The following strategies are the most common:
- The accident was actually your fault and not theirs.
- You were already injured before the accident with the defendant.
- You failed to get medical treatment or did not follow the treatment plan.
- You are exaggerating the severity of your injuries.
- The amount of money you are asking for is not justified by your injuries.
- The defendant was not negligent in any way, thus making you responsible.
As you can see, a good number of these strategies involve getting very personal and are even accusatory in nature. Confronting this kind of argument can be a challenging and emotionally taxing experience. One of the many reasons why it is so critical to have a capable personal injury attorney on your side is because of situations like this one.
If you were involved in any type of accident and believe it was the fault of someone else, you’ll need to contact a personal injury attorney for legal help.
The tactics we listed above are ways in which the insurance company will try to place blame on you for the accident. Without an attorney, it can be hard to defend yourself and prove that the accident occurred because of someone else’s negligent actions.
The Brown Firm provides a free consultation to all accident victims. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.
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