What is a Plaintiff?
The plaintiff and the defendant are the two sides of a personal injury case. The person, family, or group who was wronged by the injury could be the plaintiff. For example, in a car wreck case, the plaintiff is the person who was hurt in the accident. In a case of nursing home neglect, the plaintiff is the person abused in the nursing home or their family.
A personal injury claim is a formal “complaint” about the injury. The person who brings about the lawsuit is called the “plaintiff.”
When Can Family Members Act as The Plaintiff?
In a personal injury case, the plaintiff is typically the one who was hurt, not their family. But there are two main instances when the family members can act as the plaintiff and file the claim on behalf of the injured.
Wrongful Death Cases
A wrongful death claim is made when a person dies due to a personal injury accident. The family of the deceased has the right to ask for money to compensate for their loss.
The Person is Not of Sound Mind
If the person hurt by the accident can’t go to court or file a claim for whatever reason, a family member can do it for them.
For instance, if a parent with advanced Alzheimer’s was hurt in a car accident, his adult children might be able to file a claim on his behalf. Or, a family may file a claim on behalf of an accident victim if the victim is in a coma.
An injured person, in their right mind, is typically the only one who can file a claim. But the person’s family often plays a big part in getting them to stand up for their rights and file the claim in the first place.
How Does the Plaintiff Start a Personal Injury Case?
The plaintiff or their attorney must fill out the necessary forms and file them with the court to start a lawsuit. Every jurisdiction has different rules about how forms should be formatted, filed, and served on the defendant, so it’s best to let your lawyer do this. Your lawyer will ensure you don’t miss any deadlines by incorrectly filing or serving the documents.
When the plaintiff files the first set of documents, they also pay a filing fee. The court will then stamp the documents with the date they were filed.
The lawsuit doesn’t start until the plaintiff gives the defendant hard copies of the papers. This can be done by a licensed process server or by someone who is not involved in the case. Then, the plaintiff must file an “Affidavit of Service” with the court.
What Does the Plaintiff Have to Prove in a Personal Injury Case?
In a personal injury case, you don’t have to prove your case “beyond a reasonable doubt” as you do in a criminal case. “Preponderance of the evidence” is all that is needed to prove the case. This means that a reasonable person would agree with the plaintiff if they looked at the facts of the case. This is a much simpler goal to reach.
But it is up to the plaintiff to prove their case to receive compensation. This is why having a good lawyer on your side is so important.
Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at The Brown Firm
If you have been injured, the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Brown Firm offer free consultations to accident victims in Georgia and South Carolina. Call 800-529-1441 to speak with our personal injury team today!
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