Pretrial motions are common in car accident lawsuits. In fact, these motions can help resolve important issues regarding your lawsuit—and possibly prevent it from going to trial. A motion is an official request by an attorney that is filed with the court to request a ruling in a particular matter.
Some rulings can terminate a lawsuit, while others ensure the lawsuit will succeed at trial. It is important to not only understand these common types of trial motions in order to prepare for your case, but also understanding the motions your car accident attorney or the other party’s attorney may file.
The Most Common Trial Motions Used in Injury Lawsuits
- Motion to Dismiss – Even if the other party does not have reasonable grounds, they may attempt to file a motion to dismiss. This is filed in the early stages of litigation when the defendant feels the case itself is legally invalid.For the motion to dismiss be successful, the defendant must prove there is lack of subject matter jurisdiction; lack of personal jurisdiction; improper venue was used; failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted; or an insufficiency of process was used.
- Summary Judgment Motion – This can help or hinder a car accident claim. During this motion, key facts are presented to the judge (not disputed) and the judge will give their summary judgment, which means the judge can summarily end the case before it goes to trial. The purpose is to determine if there is a need for trial.
- Motion for Default Judgment – This is when a defendant does not answer the complaint or file his or her own motion to dismiss within the time limit set forth in the summons. This places the defendant in default. Once in default, the defendant no longer has a chance to dispute the lawsuit; instead, the only issue will be how much the courts determine the defendant is liable for in the lawsuit.
- Sua Sponte Dismissal – Also known as “of one’s accord” a sua sponte dismissal occurs when the court requests a dismissal if they feel there are legal issues with the trial. For example, the court lacks jurisdiction on a case; therefore, the judge must dismiss.
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