Whether you’re the plaintiff in a personal injury case, or a defendant, there is always the chance that the judge will dismiss the case. This usually works in the defendant’s favor.
There are four common reasons a judge might choose to dismiss a case.
#1) Procedural Problems
The most common procedural problem is failing to file within the statute of limitations. The moment that clock starts running is sometimes a matter of dispute, which is why lawyers don’t just summarily refuse to get involved with such cases.
There are other points of procedure that must be completed in a timely fashion for the case to remain valid.
And issues of venue and jurisdiction impact civil courts just like they impact criminal ones.
#2) Defendant Not Responsible
This is different than determining whether the defendant’s negligence brought harm to the plaintiff. This is a matter of determining whether the chosen defendant is in any way a responsible party.
Issues of who is responsible for damages aren’t always clear-cut, and it is entirely possible to attempt to bring suit against a defendant who shouldn’t be involved at all. A good defendant’s lawyer will spot the opportunity to bring this problem to the court’s attention, and will use it to the defendant’s advantage.
#3) Plaintiff’s Percentage of Negligence Is Too High
Tennessee is a comparative negligence state. This means that the courts also consider what the plaintiff may have done to bring damages down upon his or her own head.
If the plaintiff is ruled to be at least 52% negligent then it becomes impossible to seek damages from the defendant. At that point, the courts are saying the plaintiff is mostly responsible for putting himself or herself into harm’s way.
#4) Motion of Summary Judgement
Both the plaintiff and the defendant can make a Motion for Summary Judgement.
This means one side or the other is claiming that the facts of the case are perfectly clear. So clear that a trial isn’t even necessary.
And based on those facts, they’re asking the judge to just go ahead and rule in their favor. Judges don’t do this often, but it does happen.
How Strong is Your Case?
A good attorney can give you the most likely scenarios when evaluating your case. And it pays to have one that has advocated for plaintiffs and defendants alike.
If you’re in the middle of a personal injury action, contact our offices today.