If you get caught up in a lawsuit, you will quickly realize that lawsuits have their own vocabulary. You might wonder, are you the plaintiff or the defendant? It’s essential to understand your position if you are involved in legal action.
Defining Plaintiff vs. Defendant
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:
The plaintiff is the party who brings a legal action or in whose name it is brought — as opposed to the defendant, the party who is being sued.
So, the person who files a lawsuit against another party is the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s lawsuit is an accusation that someone else did wrong that damaged the plaintiff. The party accused in the lawsuit of committing wrong-doing that harmed the plaintiff is the defendant.
There is an easy way to remember what the differences between defendant and plaintiff are: The word “defendant” contains the word defend — think of the defendant as the party in the lawsuit that must defend themself or be defended against an accusation.
It’s essential to recognize that the plaintiff is not the same thing as a victim. Yes, the victims of medical malpractice, police brutality, or the FELA Lawsuits often launch lawsuits in which they are the plaintiffs. However, the term “plaintiff” does not, by definition, mean you are in the right or that you were truly harmed. Some people file frivolous lawsuits or lawsuits based on falsehoods. They, too, are considered the plaintiff in the lawsuit they bring against another party, though in reality, they are not victims.
The term defendant is used both for civil litigation (lawsuits) and for criminal cases, but the term plaintiff applies only to civil cases.
Plaintiff and Defendant Roles in Criminal Cases and Civil Lawsuits
In the United States, a criminal prosecution alleging a crime has been committed is always filed by the government against an individual. The individual accused of a crime is the defendant.
Victims of a crime first contact the police to report the crime. Once police investigate and charge a suspect, the prosecutor, as the government’s representative, can take the accused to trial. The accused then becomes the defendant. Typically, when a defendant is convicted, they lose their freedom and are sent to prison. The victim of the crime gets no direct benefit from the trial, except perhaps a sense of justice.
If you have suffered financial harm because of someone else’s actions and want monetary compensation, you can file a lawsuit. This makes you (the victim) a plaintiff. The person or company you accuse of having harmed you is the defendant.
What is a Plaintiff’s Role in Litigation?
As discussed above, the plaintiff files the lawsuit, alleging the defendant has harmed them and seeking monetary compensation for the damage done. The plaintiff accuses the defendant, who must then defend their actions. But in a lawsuit, the plaintiff also has the burden of proof. This means that the plaintiff must prove their allegations against the defendant or the lawsuit will be decided in the defendant’s favor.
In most civil lawsuits, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. This means that to win your lawsuit, you must convince the judge or jury that there is a greater than 50% chance your allegations are true.
What if the Lawsuit Settles Out of Court?
So, what is a plaintiff, and what is a defendant if the lawsuit settles out of court? The only time the defendant in a lawsuit agrees to settle out of court is when they expect the trial to be more expensive than the settlement. Generally, this happens when the plaintiff’s case is so strong that the defendant is confident the plaintiff would win in court. The settlement provides the compensation a judge or jury would be likely to award without tying up the court’s time.
Even when the lawsuit settles out of court, it can take lengthy negotiations before the plaintiff and defendant agree upon a fair settlement. Typically, both sides are represented by attorneys trying to get a decision favorable to their client. Unfortunately, even once the defendant admits they were at fault, they don’t want to pay as much compensation as the plaintiff wants to receive. As a result, personal injury lawsuit settlements can take months or even years to close.
If you are the plaintiff vs. a defendant in a lawsuit and need money now to pay your bills while your attorney continues to fight for a better settlement, a lawsuit loan from Tribeca could be your solution.
How a Lawsuit Loan Can Benefit the Plaintiff in a Lawsuit
If you are the plaintiff in a lawsuit, you have likely suffered financial harm that can only be exacerbated by the lengthy negotiations to settle your case. The defendant’s attorney may be counting on this, hoping your financial burdens cause you to accept a smaller payment now, just to stop the pain.
A lawsuit loan acts like a cash advance against your future settlement. It is a loan that uses your future settlement as collateral. Therefore, it is considered a non-recourse loan, meaning the lender has no recourse to seek repayment from any other source than the collateral. In fact, if you lose your lawsuit, you don’t have to repay a cent!
There is no financial risk to the borrower in a lawsuit loan.
Tribeca Lawsuit Loans provides legal funding to help plaintiffs in financial distress meet their financial obligations while their attorney fights to get them the best possible settlement. We fund a vast array of personal injury cases and mass torts. If you want to get the full compensation your case deserves but you’re struggling to make ends meet in the meantime, we can help!
Because we will never see a penny of your own money, our lawsuit loan application includes:
- NO credit check
- NO income verification
- NO asset evaluation
Simply visit our Apply Now page to give us some information about your lawsuit and your attorney’s contact information. We’ll see how much money we can provide for your case. If you prefer to ask your questions by phone, please call us at (866) 388-2288 to speak with one of our friendly team members, who are ready and happy to help answer all of your plaintiff vs. defendant questions and more.
We can provide the money you need to pursue the settlement you deserve!