Understanding Dispositive Motions And Your Personal Injury Case

The fact that your accident was caused by a careless driver is likely all too clear to you, but often you must take a case before a judge and jury to get the compensation you need and deserve. You will soon find that trials are lengthy events, full of postponements and delays. One major area of delay is the filing of motions. Motions are filed by both sides, and they can either greatly affect your case or affect it very little. One type of motion that could cause your case to come to a dead stop is the dispositive motion. Read on to learn more so that you won't feel confused during your day in court.

Nondispositive motions: These motions often deal with very minor issues and seldom, if ever, cause any real change to your case. The nondispositive motions are usually administrative in nature and deal with minor details of courtroom procedure.

Dispositive motions: These types of motion have the potential to have more impact on your case, and in some instances a dispositive motion filed by the plaintiff could even end your trial, immediately, if approved by the judge.

Motion to dismiss: One such dispositive motion is the motion to dismiss. If you had not had advance warning, this type of motion could cause you to feel utter panic when presented in court. Often coming right at the beginning of the trial (or even before it begins), the motion to dismiss is an attempt to convince the judge the case has no merit and should be dismissed. If the case is dismissed, you must file and begin the entire process all over again. Alternately, the motion will ask the judge to take a look at the available evidence and make a ruling right away, without the trial having to proceed. You should understand that this motion to dismiss is very common and can be considered routine in nature. The other side must give reasons for this request, such as the following:

1. Jurisdiction: There are two types of jurisdiction: personal and subject matter. With personal jurisdiction, the motion will allege that the suit was filed in the incorrect state. For example, your accident occurred in Alabama but you are actually a resident of Florida. If you filed your suit in Florida, you are using the incorrect jurisdiction. Subject matter jurisdiction refers to the type of court. For example, a personal injury suit filed in a probate court would be the wrong subject matter court. It should be filed instead in a civil court.

2. Venue: This is similar to the jurisdiction issue, but applies to the case being filed at the incorrect level. For example, the case was filed in a circuit court instead of district court. Often these cases will simply be shifted to the correct venue instead of being thrown out of court entirely.

3. Lack of claim: This is a common tactic where the plaintiff alleges that, while you have suffered an injury, the plaintiff in the case is not the cause of the injury. In other words, someone else entirely is to blame for the accident and the injury, such as a faulty air bag or malfunctioning traffic light. 

For more information, contact local lawyers, such as Helfand, David PA​.