In a personal injury case, there are many moving parts for both sides. One of them is the motion for summary judgment. This is an opportunity for the defendant to argue that no matter what evidence your attorney presents at trial, it will not prove that you were responsible for their injuries. If the judge agrees with this argument and grants the motion, then she will dismiss your case before it goes to trial!
What is a motion for summary judgment?
A motion for summary judgment is a request filed by the defendant in order to dismiss your personal injury action against them before trial. It can be granted or denied at any time prior to trial.
A motion based on the pleadings alone will not be granted without evidence being presented that would affect the outcome of your case. If you believe that this type of evidence exists, then it would be best for you to present it yourself during discovery.
In a personal injury case, who bears the burden of proof?
Bearing burden of proof
The burden of proof rests on the party asserting that an affirmative defense has been established and not on the plaintiff’s side, who must disprove it by a preponderance of the evidence.
The evidence is viewed in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
In a summary judgment motion, the judge will look at the evidence in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. This means that if there are questions about what happened and who was at fault, it’s up to you to prove them. The judge doesn’t want you spending time chasing down evidence that isn’t going to help your case—so instead of looking at all of it together, he or she will focus on just one side of things (in this case: yours).
If the moving party fails to meet this burden, the motion is denied.
The judge will then make a decision on whether to grant or deny the summary judgment motion. Your attorney will know what evidence needs to be submitted in opposition to a summary judgment motion and what arguments could be made against it.
Opposing party must respond
When you file a summary judgment motion, the opposing party has to respond to your arguments and may have to produce evidence in support of his or her claims. This can be time-consuming for both sides. If you are able to reach an agreement with the insurance company before filing a motion for summary judgment, then it may be possible for them to resolve any outstanding issues without going through this process.
The moving party may then file a reply brief and submit additional evidence if necessary.
The responding party, who is the opposing party in this case, must respond with his or her own brief by answering any new arguments that have been made by the moving party and/or submitting any additional evidence that he or she believes supports their position.
Reviewing all of the evidence
After reviewing all of the evidence, the judge will make a decision on whether to grant or deny the summary judgment motion. The decision is based on this evidence and what impact it has on your case as well as other factors. Personal injury attorney in Lethbridge knows what evidence needs to be submitted in opposition to a summary judgment motion.