When you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer may talk to you about summary judgment. What is it, and what does it do for your case? Here's how to decide if it's a good move for you.
What Is Summary Judgment?
Summary judgment is a possible way of deciding a case early instead of going to trial. It is different from a settlement because it's decided by the judge instead of the two parties coming to an agreement.
Summary judgment is used when the two parties disagree on the law instead of the facts of the case. The point of a jury trial is to have the jury decide the facts of the case. The judge always decides the law of the case. If the parties don't dispute the facts, there is no need for a jury because it's then up to a judge to apply the law to the given facts.
Another use of summary judgment is when a party doesn't think disputed facts matter. Instead of agreeing to the facts, they argue that the judge should rule the same way even if the judge accepts the other party's version of the facts. If the judge does think that the facts matter, the judge will send the case to trial instead of granting summary judgment.
Why Would a Personal Injury Defendant Want Summary Judgment?
A personal injury defendant will try to use summary judgment to dismiss the case. They'll argue that they're not legally responsible for causing the harm that happened to the plaintiff or for the amount of damages that the plaintiff is claiming.
To get past a defense motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff needs to show that they have a good chance of demonstrating enough facts to win at trial. The facts they intend to show would also need to match the law.
Why Would a Personal Injury Plaintiff Want Summary Judgment?
The main reason a personal injury plaintiff would want summary judgment is to get the case over more quickly. For example, they might believe the evidence is so clear that the defense can't dispute it.
A plaintiff might also be worried about a surprise jury decision. The lawyer might think a trial has a small chance of proving more facts for a higher award but also a chance of losing. The plaintiff might not want to take the risk if the defense will agree to a set of facts that has no chance of losing.
To learn more about how personal injury cases work, contact a local personal injury attorney today.
You walk into your favorite grocery store and right away, you slip and fall only to sprain your ankle. You can't perform your job because it requires standing on your feet all day, which means that you can't make any money to support your family while your ankle heals. There was no warning that the floors were wet after being cleaned in the store – so what do you do? It's probably a good idea to think about filing a personal injury lawsuit. Of course, anyone with experience with a personal injury case will tell you just how important it is to work with an attorney throughout the process. I'd like to share insight I've learned through three personal injury cases that I myself have had to go through in the past. I think the information on this website can help people like you, who need some personal injury guidance.