Jason Stephens | October 3, 2023 | Personal Injury
If you are injured in a personal injury accident, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. When you do, it will be important to understand the roles of the different parties that are involved.
In any personal injury lawsuit, there will be a plaintiff and a defendant. However, some cases are more complicated and involve numerous different parties.
Plaintiffs in Personal Injury Cases
Prior to filing a civil complaint, you are known as an accident victim or a claimant to insurance companies. The plaintiff is the party that initially files the personal injury lawsuit. This is the person who sustained the injuries in the accident. When you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. When you do this, you become the plaintiff.
In some personal injury cases, there are multiple plaintiffs. This can happen when there is a singular accident that results in multiple injured parties. If you and your friend slip and fall on a wet grocery store floor, you might each choose to file a lawsuit.
Defendants in Personal Injury Cases
When you file a personal injury lawsuit against a person or business, they will become a defendant in the case. This is the party that caused your injuries.
Some personal injury cases involve more than one defendant. If you are injured in a truck accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the truck driver and the trucking company. A skilled personal injury lawyer will seek to hold anyone potentially liable accountable by including them in the personal injury lawsuit. Doing so can help you recover the compensation you deserve after a personal injury accident.
The Plaintiff’s Burden in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In order to recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, you will likely need to establish that your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence.
You must provide evidence of the following to prove negligence:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached the duty owed to you
- The defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries
- You suffered harm
If you can prove that the defendant acted negligently, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries.
The Defendant’s Defenses in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that a plaintiff can recover damages from a defendant if the plaintiff is less than 51% responsible for the accident. If a plaintiff is more than 50% responsible for their injuries, the plaintiff is barred from receiving compensation from the defendant.
A plaintiff may also be barred from receiving compensation if the statute of limitations expires. In Texas, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit or you will be barred from recovering compensation.
Defendants Can File Counterclaims and Crossclaims
When a plaintiff initiates a personal injury lawsuit, a defendant may file a counterclaim in return. A counterclaim is most often a legal claim against a plaintiff.
Defendants can also file crossclaims against other parties. This allows the defendant to claim that someone else is partially or fully responsible for your injuries.
Third Parties in Personal Injury Cases
In addition to defendants and plaintiffs, some personal injury cases will also involve third parties that are subsequently added to the lawsuit.
Third parties in personal injury cases include the following:
- Impleader: A new third party brought into the lawsuit by the defendant
- Intervenor: A party that petitions to join an existing lawsuit
When there are impleaders, intervenors, or other third parties are added to your personal injury lawsuit, it can be complex. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate this process and hold each at-fault party accountable.
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Fort Worth, TX 76107