Many people assume that when they file a lawsuit against defendants, the case will be limited to the parties named in the suit. However, outside parties can jump into the fray whether you want them to or not. Here's how this can happen and what effect it may have on the outcome of your case.
Staging an Intervention
It's not unusual for incidents to involve more people than just the plaintiffs and defendants named in lawsuits. Although you may be suing a doctor for the wrongful death of your loved one, there are a host of nurses, administrators, and other people who may have been involved in the incident in one way or another.
Sometimes these people develop a vested in your case because it has the potential to tread on their rights or they want to establish a claim to property or a transaction in the lawsuit. For instance, there's a possibility the court may order the defendant to turn over a piece of property to you. If there is a co-owner, that person may file a request to intervene to protect his or her interest in the home or land that's at stake.
Intervenors can use a legal maneuver called intervention to add themselves to lawsuits, and they don't necessarily need permission from you or the court to do so. If the person is filing an intervention as a matter of right, they just have to show their interest in the property or transaction at stake is not properly represented by either party in the lawsuit.
However, if the person's claim does share facts or there is some overlap with either the plaintiff or defendant's claim, the person can still file a permissive intervention to be added to the suit, but this alternative does give the court the option to say yea or nay.
Changing the Game
The impact of an intervenor intruding in on your wrongful death lawsuit will vary depending on the person's goal. If the person's aim is to establish a claim to property, money, or other assets, this could present a challenge when it comes time to collect your court judgment. A defendant who was flushed with cash and assets when you first filed the lawsuit may be rendered functionally indigent by an intervenor and you may not be able to get the money you're owed.
At minimum, an intervenor may cause the trial to last longer than it normally would because they are allowed to present arguments supporting their claims and rights. Thus, you'll need to be prepared to pay more attorney's fees and attend more hearings to see the case to conclusion.
To learn more about this legal maneuver or for assistance with a wrongful death lawsuit, contact a wrongful death lawyer.