Plaintiff vs Defendant – Defined

Plaintiff vs. Defendant – Defined

This may seem like a rudimentary discussion for many of you, but there are plenty of our readers who do not know what the difference is between the terms plaintiff and defendant – and we are here to remedy that.

After all, if you find yourself in a court case, it’s a good idea to know which side of the argument you are on.

So let’s dive in, shall we? – Plaintiff vs Defendant

A plaintiff is a legal name reserved for a person or group of people who initiate a lawsuit in a court of law against an individual or business. It is the plaintiff who is seeking legal recourse, and if successful, a judge will rule in their favor.

Meanwhile, a defendant is the party in a case who has been accused or charged with committing an offense against the plaintiff. Just like it is the plaintiff’s job to prove their case, defendants must defend themselves against the formal accusations brought against them. If not, they will lose the case.

Terminology not the same across all legal cases – Plaintiff vs Defendant

With all that being said, the terms plaintiff and defendant are not used consistently across different types of law.

For example, while plaintiff and defendant are terms traditionally used in civil cases such as those involving a personal injury claim, breach of contract, fraud, medical malpractice, or negligence, family law cases such as divorce or child custody refer to the plaintiff and defendant as the petitioner and respondent. In criminal cases, complainant is often used instead of plaintiff or petitioner. A person charged with a criminal offense is still referred to as the defendant.

A perfect example of a petitioner’s role in family law is during a child-support enforcement case. The petitioner would be the party in the case who is seeking child support payments from an ex-spouse (respondent) who is either behind on payments or has chosen not to pay altogether. They would initiate a formal complaint and ask a judge to intervene.

Call Nelson Law Group Today!!

It is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your situation, no matter which side of the argument you are on. Give our knowledgeable staff at Nelson Law Group, PC a call if you have any questions regarding this or any other issue.

Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A Nelson click here.