Who Are the Plaintiffs and Defendants in Personal Injury Cases?
August 9, 2023 | Personal Injury
Personal injury cases involve two central figures: the plaintiff and the defendant. These legal matters require understanding the roles and responsibilities of each party.
Personal injury cases revolve around the principle of negligence. A “negligent” party is one that failed to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would in similar circumstances. This failure often causes physical, emotional, or financial harm to another person (the plaintiff).
A personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate your claim in Phoenix, Arizona, during a free case review.
Plaintiffs in Personal Injury Cases in Phoenix, AZ
The plaintiff is the person or business entity who files the lawsuit in a personal injury case. This party is the victim of the alleged negligence who has suffered harm or damages. The party may also be surviving next-of-kin, such as in wrongful death cases.
The plaintiff begins the legal process by filing a complaint and serving a copy on the negligent party. The complaint is a legal pleading that details the defendant’s negligence and the damages caused.
Damages could be physical, emotional, or financial. Examples include injuries from a car accident, emotional distress from harassment, or lost income due to injury. The general deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Arizona is two years from the date of injury.
To receive compensation for these damages, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent and that the defendant’s conduct proximately caused their injuries. Proximate cause means demonstrating that the damages are sufficiently related to the defendant’s negligence.
Plaintiffs have the burden of providing the damages they incurred by a preponderance of the evidence. Under this standard, the plaintiff must convince a judge or jury that there is a greater than 50 percent chance that the claim is true. Plaintiffs often support their claims for damages using medical bills or evidence of emotional distress and lost wages.
Defendants in Personal Injury Cases in Phoenix, AZ
The defendant is the person or business entity that the plaintiff claims was negligent and is responsible for their damages. The defendant could be a variety of entities.
Common defendants include individuals, such as another driver in a car accident, or businesses, such as where a customer slipped and fell. In other cases, the defendant may be a medical practitioner in medical malpractice cases or a governmental entity when hazardous public property causes harm.
The defendant has an opportunity to respond to the allegations once the plaintiff has filed their complaint and served a copy on the defendant. This response is called an answer. A defendant’s answer will admit or deny the allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint. It may also assert defenses to the plaintiff’s claims, such as comparative negligence or assumption of risk.
An attorney typically represents the defendant. One may be provided by the defendant’s insurance company when the incident is covered under an insurance policy. This often occurs in automobile and premises liability cases. The defendant’s lawyer will attempt to minimize their potential liability and the damages the defendant may be required to pay.
What Happens When There’s More Than One At-Fault Party?
Multiple parties may bear responsibility for the plaintiff’s injury. In these cases, each party would be a defendant in the case.
Arizona’s courts apply a pure comparative negligence standard. Under this standard, each defendant will only be responsible for the negligence attributable to them. For example, imagine a three-car accident. If Car 2 and Car 3 are found 50 percent at fault, they are each only responsible for 50 percent of Car 1’s damages.
Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
The legal dynamic between the plaintiff and the defendant in a personal injury case is complex.
The plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the defendant’s negligence and the extent of their damages. On the other hand, the defendant aims to limit their liability and the amount of damages they may owe. Both parties attempt to present the most persuasive case at each juncture.
Understanding the roles of the plaintiff and defendant is vital in personal injury cases. Personal injury lawyers in Phoenix, AZ guide plaintiffs through evaluating a case, establishing negligence, and proving damages.
Contact the Arizona Personal Injury Lawyers at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
5151 E Broadway Blvd. Suite 1600
Tucson, AZ 85711