What Is a Summary Judgment?

What Is a Summary Judgment?

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, there are a number of potential outcomes. A summary judgment is one of these possible results; this decision is made based on statements and evidence before a lawsuit proceeds to trial. If a judge grants a summary judgment, the case will resolve and the lawsuit will either be dismissed or end in a settlement.

A summary judgment is typically granted when there is no dispute regarding the facts of the case, or when the case is likely to fail in the courtroom. These decisions can be very complex and are suitable for different cases. A personal injury attorney can help you determine whether a summary judgment is right for your case—or help you argue against one if the defendant files a motion.

Who Can File a Summary Judgment?

Both the plaintiff and the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit may move for a summary judgment. However, the defendant is usually more likely to pursue this motion in an attempt to get a case dismissed. In this situation, it would be the defendant’s job to prove that there are no triable facts or evidence in the case, rather than the plaintiff proving that he or she was injured.

How Do You File a Summary Judgment?

A typical summary judgment usually begins when the moving party requests one. The motion to summary judgment will first be assigned a hearing date, and the court will notify the involved parties about the motion. At the hearing, the moving party will file and serve a memorandum of points and authorities, which will explain his or her legal grounds for the motion.

Next, the moving party will present evidence showing that there are no triable issues of fact or that there would be no way that the case will win in court. The other party may file a response and show either that triable evidence exists; there is more than one set of facts; or that granting the summary judgment would be premature for the case.

There are several pieces of evidence that can be leveraged in a motion for summary judgment, such as:

After reviewing the evidence and hearing arguments from both parties, the judge will decide whether to grant the motion for summary judgment. If the motion is granted, the case will end. If the judge denies the motion, the next step will usually be to proceed to the courtroom. 

Speak to an Attorney About Your Personal Injury Case

A summary judgment is just one of the potential outcomes involved in a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, it is in the best interest of a plaintiff to settle before going to court or pursuing a trial. Whatever the case, it is critical to consult with a personal injury attorney about your optimal legal pathway.

A Missouri personal injury lawyer can assess your case and develop a strategy to help you secure the compensation that you deserve. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to discuss your next steps.