Plaintiff Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Plaintiff, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Plaintiff?

n.He is a person who starts court action by filing a complaint with the clerk of the court against the defendants and seeks compensation from the court for damages to his rights.

History and Meaning of Plaintiff

The term "plaintiff" has its origins in French, where "plaingant" was used to refer to a person who made a formal accusation in a court of law. In English, "plaintiff" refers to the party who initiates a legal action or lawsuit by filing a formal complaint with the court. The plaintiff is bringing a case against one or more defendants, with the goal of seeking a judgement and/or compensation for damages or injuries incurred.

Examples of Plaintiff

  1. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff may be someone who was injured in a car accident and is seeking compensation for medical bills and lost wages.
  2. In a contract dispute, the plaintiff may be a business that is seeking damages from another party for breach of contract.
  3. In a family law case, the plaintiff may be seeking a divorce or custody of a child.

Legal Terms Similar to Plaintiff

  1. Defendant - the party against whom the plaintiff is bringing a case.
  2. Complaint - the formal legal document that initiates a lawsuit and sets out the plaintiff's claims.
  3. Litigation - the process of resolving a legal dispute through the court system.