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Maureen May
Maureen May
Attorney • (410) 321-6000

Major Players in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

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Most people who are injured and subsequently file a personal injury lawsuit have little or no experience with the legal system, and a thorough understanding of who is involved in a typical personal injury case can alleviate some of the associated stress and help make the case run more smoothly.

Here are some of the individuals who are involved in a personal injury case, along with their unique roles:

  • Plaintiff. The plaintiff is the person who suffered the injury and initiates a lawsuit by filing a complaint in a court of law, accusing another person of wrongdoing.
  • Defendant. The defendant is the person or institution against whom a lawsuit is brought, or stated another way, the person being sued. The defendant tries to prove the accusation wrong.
  • Personal Injury Attorney. A personal injury attorney is one who represents the plaintiff, and has the burden of proving the case. Personal injury attorneys provide legal representation to those who claim to have been injured, either physically or psychologically, as a result of the negligence of another party.
  • Insurance Defense Attorney. A lawyer hired by the defendant’s insurance company (under the terms of his insurance contract) to represent the defendant against the plaintiff’s lawsuit. Insurance defense attorneys are often local attorneys that have contracted with insurance companies to defend their policyholders.  Some are actual employees of the insurance company, set up as a law firm.
  • Insurance claims adjuster. A claims adjuster is an employee of the defendant’s insurance company tasked with putting a value on the plaintiff’s claim for damages. They investigate personal injury claims by interviewing the claimant and witnesses, reviewing police and medical records, and inspecting property damage to determine the extent of the company’s liability.

Although every personal injury case is different, each usually follows the same basic format. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the process and steer you toward a successful resolution.