What Does the Term “Plaintiff Attorney” Mean?
Like most fields, the legal profession is full of jargon that most people don’t understand. However, learning the basics comes in handy when you are in a legal dispute. The plaintiff attorney is one of the most common phrases you will hear in any legal proceeding.
This is arguably one of the most influential people if you are suing another party. Keep reading to find out all there is to know about a plaintiff lawyer.
Who is a Plaintiff Attorney?
Behind every legal dispute are two opposing parties. The plaintiff is the suing party, while the accused is the defendant. Each of these parties has a right to legal representation.
With more than 1.3 million lawyers in America, there is no shortage of options. A plaintiff lawyer is an attorney representing the harmed or suing party in court. They represent the “little guy” against local governments, corporations, and insurance firms in most cases.
By training, the defendant and the plaintiff are the same. The best lawyer will always win the case. However, the plaintiff’s job is often more challenging than the opposing counsel. Unlike the defense, the plaintiff lawyer has to prove that the defendant committed a crime, broke a contract, or was in the wrong.
Bearing the burden of proof is often challenging. That challenge doubles when going against a giant corporation.
Responsibilities of a Plaintiff Attorney
Representing the interest of a plaintiff in court comes with specific responsibilities. The primary role of a plaintiff lawyer is to get the best possible outcome for their client.
To do that, the plaintiff lawyer was to take on their legal duties and assume all the risks that come with it. Here are some of the crucial roles of a plaintiff lawyer.
1. Holding the Negligent Accountable
A legal dispute can arise between any two people or entities. Although the defendant and the plaintiff can be equally matched, that is rarely the case. Common cases litigated in court include medical malpractices, personal injury, and insurance. These disputes often involve huge corporations or businesses. It is the plaintiff attorney’s job to go against these powerful entities.
Negligence can be costly for the affected people. The physical, emotional, and financial damage caused by negligence often has life-changing consequences. The plaintiff lawyer holds these negligent parties responsible for their actions. The best way to do that is by securing financial compensation for the victims.
2. Leveling the Playing Field
Although it applies to everyone equally, money often tips it in the wealthy’s favor. Most large corporations and governments usually have a team of lawyers ready to squash any lawsuit.
Going against such companies can be intimidating. However, plaintiff lawyers are happy to take on this challenge. They protect the plaintiff’s rights regardless of the resources of the defense.
The plaintiff lawyer helps in conducting investigations, collecting and organizing the evidence for maximum impact. By taking on this role, they give the plaintiff a fair chance at trial. However, it would be best if you had an experienced plaintiff lawyer to balance the scales. Workforce and deep pockets go a long way in getting the ammunition needed to win a case.
3. Taking Financial Risks
Litigation is often an expensive venture. Putting up a strong case requires resources other than attorney fees. Unfortunately, most people who file lawsuits don’t exactly have deep pockets.
Plaintiff lawyers go around this by settling for a contingency fee. That means they get paid after winning, usually a percentage of the settlement. However, winning is not always guaranteed.
Before you can think about winning, the plaintiff lawyer has to present a strong case. This often means dipping into their own pockets to make things happen. In contrast, the defense attorneys usually charge by the hour and get paid either way. Common expenditures include
- Filing fees
- The cost of hiring expert witnesses
- Logistics such as travel expenses
- Gathering evidence
4. Pursuing Justice for Individuals
The constitution guarantees certain rights for all U.S citizens. However, these rights are often violated on a massive scale across the country.
According to a report by the Legal Service Corporations, 86% of legal disputes among low-income Americans are inadequately handled. Plaintiff lawyers are at the front line of the fight for rights enshrined in the constitution.
Without the plaintiff’s lawyer, the justice gap would be a lot higher. Thanks to plaintiff lawyers, governments compensate injured people, and hospitals accept responsibility for malpractices. Achieving these wins sends a strong message to the rest of society that actions have consequences.
5. Choosing the Right Plaintiff Lawyer
There is no arguing on the importance of plaintiff lawyers to the legal process. However, not all plaintiff lawyers are competent. There are certain qualities that a reasonable attorney should have.
Making the wrong choice can negatively impact your outcome. Here are the qualities you should look for when choosing a plaintiff lawyer.
6. Specialized Experience
Law is a vast profession with different areas of practice. For instance, personal injury law has several niches, including auto accident, workman’s compensation, and medical malpractice. For the plaintiff lawyer to be effective, they must have litigated some cases in your area of interest.
It is not enough to have the experiences in, say, medical malpractice suits. They have litigated those cases within your state or where you plan to sue. Success in one state doesn’t always mean they will do well in another. The more experience an attorney has in a specific area, the better your chance of a favorable outcome.
7. Compassion for Clients
Everyone has heard of jokes about lawyers. They always seem to portray lawyers as crooks. Indeed, there are dishonest lawyers out there. However, this outlook often stems from the lawyer’s ability to defend their clients to the bitter end. While their resilience is admirable, it helps to have a plaintiff lawyer who sympathizes with you.
Don’t just take their word for it. Find out what the previous client think about them. Some plaintiff lawyers take on all the financial responsibilities for their clients. You don’t need a lawyer who will leave you hanging when the checks stop coming.
You should start your search by combing through the best-ranked lawyers in legal organizations. Pay attention to lawyers who have gone out of their way to help their clients.
Lawyers tend to develop a reputation. While some are ruthless in defending their clients, others are notoriously unreliable. This is why you must do your research before even thinking of approaching a plaintiff lawyer with your case.
Corrupt lawyers can easily collude with the defense to mess up your case. Get information from previous clients and other people in the legal profession before settling on a plaintiff attorney.
A plaintiff attorney is the one person that can make or break your case. It makes sense that it is the first legal phrase you should learn. If you are suing, the lawyer that represents you is the plaintiff lawyer.
Knowing this won’t make it any easier to follow the legal proceedings, but it’s a start. In addition to understanding who they are and what they do, you should also know how to get the right plaintiff lawyer. It will make a massive difference in your case.