Simply put, a plaintiff is the person filing a claim in court. The defendant is the person or party the plaintiff has brought the claim against. The plaintiff must file a statement of claim, or petition, which is a sworn statement that contains all the required information for a proper claim to be made.
Filing a claim as a plaintiff is generally done when the plaintiff has been injured in some way, such as in a car accident. The injury the plaintiff has suffered resulted in damages caused by the defendant. The plaintiff in this situation is seeking compensation from the defendant to cover the damages. As we’ll discuss below, the plaintiff can only recover damages if they prove the defendant is responsible for them.
The best way to support your claim as a plaintiff is by working with an attorney. If you have suffered a physical injury in a car accident, workplace accident, or other incident, working with a personal injury attorney from Spaulding Injury Law will support the best outcome in your case. We offer free consultations to determine how we can help you as a plaintiff.
When Can Family Members Act as the Plaintiff?
If you have lost a loved one due to an accident caused by someone or something else, you could be entitled to compensation through a legal action known as a wrongful death claim. Under Georgia Code 51-4-2, when a person is killed as a result of a homicide or a wrongful death, then the surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, a child or children may file suit to recover the value of the life of the decedent. The value of the decedent’s life is determined by the evidence provided.
In a wrongful death claim, the compensation you are entitled to includes the lost financial and emotional contribution of your loved one to your household. Their earnings from the time of the accident through their working life should be included, so that you and your family do not suffer financially because of your tragic loss.
Other instances where family members can act as the plaintiff include when the injured family member has been incapacitated or is unable to bring a claim on their own behalf. Members of their family can be appointed as representative and bring a claim on their behalf, with the assistance of an attorney as preferred.
How Does the Plaintiff Start a Personal Injury Case?
To begin a personal injury case, the plaintiff must put together a claim to file in civil court, as we briefly touched upon above. The claim must include evidence to demonstrate the party that is at fault for the accident or incident, the party being targeted as the defendant liable for compensating the plaintiff. We’ll discuss how to prove the liable party briefly in the next section below. In addition to proving what party is liable, you have to prove your damages with evidence.
You can only collect on damages that you can prove with evidence. When it comes to an injury that might lead to long-term medical costs and an impact on your earnings, this comes in the form of expert opinions. You’ll need evidence from medical experts detailing the cost of your injury and its long-term requirements, and evidence from occupational experts to measure the impact of your injuries on your ability to work. Your personal injury attorney helps you schedule these appointments and collect the evidence you need to support the best possible outcome in your case.
What Does the Plaintiff Have to Prove in a Personal Injury Case?
To collect compensation for the costs and damages associated with your injury, you first need to prove that someone or something else caused the accident that led to your injuries. This is a legal term known as negligence, which has four parts: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Based upon the unique facts and circumstances of your accident, you must prove that the defendant owed you some duty, that the duty was violated and caused an accident, and the accident led to injuries that caused damages.
For example, in a car accident with a driver that was engaging in drunk or intoxicated driving injured you, the driver had a responsibility or duty to drive sober, they broke that duty and because of that caused an accident, and the injuries from that accident led to damages for you. In this instance, the driver would be liable for your damages.
To support the best outcome in your case, the American Bar Association advises you to find an attorney that practices in the area of your case. In the same way you would not go to a heart doctor for your foot problem, you would not go to a business attorney for your personal injury case.
Connect with an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney to Help
Collecting fair and complete compensation for your personal injury requires that you collect evidence to substantiate your damages, then successfully claim these damages from the responsible party. Generally, the party liable for paying you will be the insurance company of the responsible party. Insurance companies do not work for you, they work for profit, and your claim is a cost to them. Profits are increased by decreasing costs, and the insurance company will do this by denying your claim if they can or by paying as little as possible in a settlement.
A dedicated personal injury attorney from Spaulding Injury Law is available to review your case and let you know if we can help. Your initial consultation is cost-free and risk-free, and we only get paid if we win on your case. This is because if we take your personal injury case, we will take it on contingency, which means we only get paid if we win a settlement or a jury verdict in your favor. We are paid out of a portion of the earnings that we generate on your behalf that we’ll agree upon before getting started. You pay nothing up front and nothing out-of-pocket, ever.
To learn more about how the personal injury attorneys at Spaulding Injury Law can help you every step of the way on your personal injury case, schedule a consultation or call us at (770) 744-0890.