In legal talk, the two sides of a personal injury case are known as the defendant and the plaintiff. The plaintiff is the person who was injured; the defendant is the party responsible for the injury. However, it’s rare for the actual person who caused the injury to be the defendant. Instead:
- In a car accident case, the insurance company that covers the person who caused the accident is the defendant
- In a dog bite case, the dog owner’s homeowners insurance is typically the defendant
- In a premises liability case, the insurance company representing the company that owns the premises is the defendant
- In a faulty medical device case, the corporation that made the device (or their insurance company) is the defendant
This is important, because it means you do not have to go after an individual person to win your case. Claims are almost always paid out by insurance policies. In fact, in most personal injury cases, you don’t need to make anyone pay out of pocket for your recovery at all.
Are there times when the defendant really is an individual?
Occasionally, yes. This would most likely happen in an uninsured motorist accident. If someone caused a car accident and they don’t carry the proper insurance required by the state of Georgia, you have the option of pursuing a claim against them personally. Even in these cases, a good lawyer may be able to find another policy to seek a recovery from. Otherwise, the recovery could come from the person’s assets.
What does the defendant have to prove in a personal injury case?
Strictly speaking, the defendant does not have to prove anything. It is up to you, the person who was injured, to prove that they caused your injury and how much the damages are worth. In practice, however, they will use a variety of tactics to counter your claim. The most common tactics are:
- The accident or injury is actually your own fault.
- You already had the injury before the incident with the defendant.
- You failed to seek medical attention, or didn’t follow the treatment, and made your own injury worse.
- You are exaggerating the severity of your injury.
- The amount of money you’re asking for is not justified by your injury.
- The defendant wasn’t negligent in any way and thus isn’t responsible for the cost of the injury.
As you can see, many of these tactics get very personal and are even accusatory. Facing these kinds of arguments can be difficult and emotional. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to have a good personal injury lawyer on your side.
Have you been injured? John Foy & Associates offers a free consultation with some of the most experienced and respected personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.