Dismissal With Prejudice Versus Dismissal Without Prejudice: Understanding the Possible Outcomes in Personal Injury Lawsuits

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Dive into the critical differences between dismissals with prejudice and without prejudice in personal injury cases. Learn how the Dressie Law Firm can guide you through your legal journey.

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The Legal Implications of a Dismissal in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Usually, when a person files a personal injury lawsuit or any other type of civil lawsuit, the court will assess the evidence and give judgment to either party. But sometimes, the judge may formally terminate a case before the end of the legal proceedings either on its own or upon the application of either party. This is known as a dismissal. 

There are two types of dismissals: dismissals with prejudice and dismissals without prejudice. They both have different legal implications. So, if your personal injury case has been dismissed, it is important to understand them both and how the dismissal you’ve received could affect your chances of getting compensation for your injuries.

This guide by the Dressie Law Firm explores the distinction between dismissals with and without prejudice to help you understand your rights and options in your personal injury case. Keep reading to learn more and discover specific ways our experienced lawyers can help with your case.

    Dismissal Without Prejudice

     

    A dismissal without prejudice allows the plaintiff to refile the same case subsequently.

    By Georgia law, a dismissal without prejudice may be ordered in the following circumstances.

     

    Voluntary Dismissals Initiated by the Plaintiff

    A plaintiff has the right to discontinue their case by filing a notice of dismissal or seeking an order of court to that effect. Such dismissals are generally without prejudice.

    Plaintiffs sometimes seek voluntary dismissals to give them time to gather evidence or rectify any errors that could be detrimental to their case. However, this strategy must be applied with caution. Once dismissed voluntarily, a case can only be filed once more. If you voluntarily dismiss your court case a second time, it will be dismissed permanently.

     

    Involuntary Dismissals for Failure to Prosecute

    As the plaintiff in a personal injury case, it is your job to pursue your claim by filing the necessary court documents, calling witnesses, and ensuring your case progresses. If you fail in this duty, the defendant can ask the court to dismiss your case.

    A dismissal in such circumstances is without prejudice, which means you still have the chance to refile your case. However, unless the dismissal is part of your strategy or you’ve abandoned your claim, a dismissal should not be your goal.

    Refiling your lawsuit means additional costs and legal expenses.

    A dismissal without prejudice could also end your case permanently if you do not refile within the limitation period under the statute of limitations.

    The limitation period for personal injury cases in Georgia is two years from when the injury occurred. If your case is dismissed after the two years expires, you’ll lose the right to re-file. If it is dismissed before the two years are up, you still have a window of opportunity to refile your case before it expires.

    We can guide you in such circumstances, help you restrategize, and do all we can to enhance your chances of success.

    Dismissal With Prejudice 

    A dismissal with prejudice means that the case is closed permanently. 

    Once a case is dismissed with prejudice, the plaintiff is barred from filing another lawsuit on the same grounds. It’s equivalent to a final judgment against the plaintiff and means victory for the defendant.

     This type of dismissal is crucial to the effective working of the judicial system and ensures the finality of litigation. However, if you are the plaintiff, a dismissal with prejudice is highly undesirable, and you must work hard to avoid such an outcome.

    When Will a Court Order a Dismissal With Prejudice?

    The first step to avoiding a dismissal with prejudice is knowing when to expect such an order.

    By Georgia law, a dismissal with prejudice may be ordered by a court in several circumstances, including the following :

    After a Second Voluntary Dismissal

    As stated earlier, a plaintiff who initiated the lawsuit can apply to have their case dismissed. Voluntary dismissals are generally without prejudice, allowing the plaintiff to refile the lawsuit. But if the plaintiff applies for a second voluntary dismissal, that second dismissal shall be deemed an adjudication in the merits (meaning that the case has been fully considered) and will be dismissed with prejudice. 

    An Involuntary Dismissal Initiated by the Defendant

    In non-jury civil trials, Georgia law allows a defendant to seek the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case after the plaintiff has presented evidence. This happens when the defendant believes that the plaintiff’s evidence and the surrounding facts are insufficient to establish the plaintiff’s claim.

    A dismissal in such circumstances is a dismissal with prejudice and operates as a final ruling.

    Courts do not want to waste time on claims that lack legal basis. But if you have a compelling case, it would be difficult for it to be dismissed involuntarily. Hence, building a case with solid evidence from the onset is important, as that might be the only chance you get to pursue your claim and get compensation for your injuries.

    How the Dressie Law Firm Can Help

    At the Dressie law firm, we understand that a personal injury lawsuit might be your only option to recover compensation from the party responsible for your injury or accident. With our knowledge and outstanding legal skills, you can trust us to handle your case with the diligence and attention it deserves.

    In our experience, we know that most dismissals can be prevented or avoided with adequate preparation, which is why we strive to gather evidence and relevant documents and build a strong case from the get-go to maximize our client’s potential for compensation. We hope to be able to do the same for you and help you eliminate or minimize the risk of dismissal.

    If your case has already been dismissed, all hope may not be lost. We can assess your case and help you explore your options depending on the type of dismissal you received.

    No matter how grim the circumstances may seem, we are committed to your cause, and you can count on us to represent you and fight for your right to be compensated for your injuries.

    Contact the Dressie Law Firm Today

    A dismissal of your personal injury case could be detrimental, especially if it is with prejudice. In such cases, you’ll lose the right to file the same personal injury claim in court and your right to compensation by extension. 

    A dismissal without prejudice is less severe but could still terminate your case permanently, especially if the limitation period for your case runs out.

    To avoid such issues, you must do all you can to avoid a dismissal in the first place, including seeking legal representation immediately after your injury.

    At the Dressie Law Firm, we stand ready to help you navigate the complexities of the personal injury litigation process.

     If you’d like to learn more about a dismissal’s impact or you’d like our help with your case, do not hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to help you explore your options and assist you as you work to secure the compensation you deserve.

    The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

    If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

    Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!