The preliminary investigation that was done by Attorney Poston and his team of hired experts is now complete. So what is the next phase in the truck accident lawsuit? That would be identifying the defendant or defendants and then the actual filing of the civil lawsuit itself. One of the tactics that Attorney Poston or any other good truck accident litigator will do is name as many defendants as possible in an accident where a truck driver is at fault. This tactic, although it increases the complexity of the lawsuit greatly, also increases the chances of winning the suit against at least one of the defendants and increases the pool of financial assets that a winning settlement or court award can draw from.
Before getting into the details of having multiple defendants in a civil lawsuit, it is important to know a little bit about how the actual lawsuit is filed with the court.
After looking at the all the facts from the preliminary investigations it has been decided by your legal team that you have a valid argument as a victim and a strong case for being awarded compensation if you bring forth a civil lawsuit. The next step in the lawsuit’s procedure is the actual filing of the documents with the court to commence with the civil suit.
It is important to note, much like fingerprints, no two lawsuits are ever the same, despite the fact they are required to follow the same set of rules and procedures. Most lawsuits relating to trucking accidents are also filed with state courts as opposed to federal ones. Civil lawsuits are also settled out of court or dismissed outright over a whopping 95% of the time. Just because lawsuits are often settled out of court often, don’t let that fact fool you, there are very much still a complicated litigation process that takes a skilled lawyer such as Blain Poston to get you the results you desire.
Once Blain Poston files the lawsuit on your behalf you become the ‘Plaintiff’. This name is simply derived from the fact that a lawsuit is no more than a formal ‘complaint’ that you have been wronged and incurred a loss by actions from another person or entity.
The person, persons, entity, or entities you claimed have wronged you become the ‘Defendant’ or ‘Defendants’ in the lawsuit. Once served notice of the lawsuit the defendant has 30 days to acknowledge the lawsuit by responding. This response by the defendant is called an ‘answer’ and may contain an admission of guilt (good luck on that one) or a denial of the claim against them.
Often times an answer will be accompanied by a ‘cross complaint’ or a ‘counter suit from the defendant or defendants, which states they are actually the victims and the plaintiff is the one who has wronged them. An example of this; your lawsuit states that a truck driver that the defendants are affiliated with caused a wreck which harmed you in some way; the defendants counter suit states that you actually caused the accident and were therefore the one who caused harm to them. This is a tactic often applied by a defendant’s legal defense team to take some pressure of them and put it back on you and your legal team. A civil suit is not a race to the finish where the first person who files the suit wins; many times the defendant will win the counter suit and the plaintiff will get nothing. It can and does happen. Having Blain Poston’s expertise by your side will greatly minimize this risk.
Once the civil suit has been served, even if the defendants have not given their answer, the plaintiff’s legal team will begin filing motions of discovery. A motion for discovery is seeking the facts that the defendants will use to support their innocence in response to your complaint. At the same time this is happening, the defendants’ legal team will also be filing motions of discovery against the plaintiff. Discovery is very important because any evidence that is not disclosed in the discovery phase by either side may be deemed inadmissible when presented at a later time.
With all things relating to a trial being set in motion there are a few more things that can happen before the actual trial begins.
After all these steps have taken place, the civil lawsuit trial is then ready to commence.
Blain Poston knows how to use all of these things wisely and timely. He is smart enough to realize that if these tactics are used frivolously that there is no easier way to put off the presiding judge or jurors and take a step backwards in the case. Attorney Poston’s experience will lead him to instinctively choose to use or not use these filings at the appropriate times.
Of course no lawyer just jumps right in and starts selecting defendants to add to the lawsuit. There are some things to be considered when selecting the defendants to be named in the lawsuit. Just as your legal team conducted a thorough investigation into the accident itself, so too must they conduct a thorough investigation into potential defendants in the lawsuit. There are also cases where even though you can name someone as a defendant, there are times it is not advisable.
Also, just as it was advised that you hire an attorney such as Blain Poston to get working on your behalf as a victim in a large truck accident, so too will many of the persons or entities you are about to name as a defendant as in your suit. It is often the case that a person or entity that expects to be named as a defendant in a lawsuit will start preparing their defense even before they are formally named as a defendant in the suit. All the more reason to hire Blain Poston as soon as possible after becoming a victim in a large commercial truck involved accident, so the defendants do not get a head start on your legal team preparing their defense or counter suits.
You know the advantages now of naming multiple defendants in your civil suit, but one must be aware of the potential drawbacks of this also, and there are many. Here are some possible scenarios when it comes to multiple defendants in a lawsuit.
This is one of the more unusual and interesting things about having multiple defendants in a civil suit. There are a lot of crazy things and combination of outcomes that can potentially happen. You may have one defendant who is dismissed from the suit, one you settle out of court with, and yet another you end up going to trial with. It can and does happen.
A lot of time the ability to do things, such as settle, depends upon the state laws of the court your suit was filed in. In some states all the defendants assume the same liability percentage wise across the board in addition to owing their percentage even if they settle for a lesser amount before the verdict. In that case there is no benefit to making a settlement because if the defendants lose the case they will still end up owing their percentage up to what they settled for; and if the defendants win the case you lost money while the others had to pay nothing. This highlights that there are scenarios when you would not even consider settling the suit in some of the states who had these types of rules.
Here is where having the expertise and experience of Attorney Poston comes in. Mr. Poston will take a look at the evidence and facts of the case and decide how he needs to proceed when it comes to naming defendants in the lawsuit. He will seek to create balance in his selection of defendants and also generate a money pool for an award. He may strategically settle with one defendant to place the fear of losing in the others and force them to settle for an appropriate amount also. If it goes to trial he will bury the defendants in stacks of facts that he and his legal team have uncovered to lead to the biggest monetary award possible in winning the suit. If a defendant is out there who can add something to the case, attorney Poston will seek them out, find them, name them in the lawsuit, and have them contribute their fair share to the monetary award or a settlement amount as it pertains to the truck related accident.
Brad Pistotnik Law, P.A.
10111 East 21st St
Wichita, KS 67206