Summary Judgments in North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuits | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

There are several ways a personal injury lawsuit may be resolved. The parties could negotiate a settlement before the case goes to trial or if the case goes to trial, a judge or jury will decide if the victim is entitled to any damages. There is also another way a case can be decided that many people are not so familiar with and that is by summary judgment.

A summary judgment is a final decision that is made by a judge based on evidence and statements, but without actually going to trial. It is based on the legal theory that there are no disputes from either side about the facts and that one party – either the plaintiff (victim) or defendant (alleged at-fault party) is entitled to a legal judgment.




A summary judgment can only be granted if it is clear that there is no more evidence to be introduced by either party. Either the plaintiff or the defendant can move toward a summary judgment, however, in most cases, it is the defendant who will file the motion. If the defendant does ask the court for a summary judgment, then they now have the burden of proof to prove their case instead of the plaintiff needed to prove that they were injured and that the defendant is liable.

Some of the evidence that can be used in a summary judgment motion includes:

  • Medical records
  • Photographs
  • Police reports
  • Witness statements

The Summary Judgment Process

Once one of the parties has moved for a summary judgment, there is a hearing date set and both parties are notified. At the hearing, the party that is requesting the summary judgment will serve the court with a memorandum of points and authorities. This is a legal document that includes all the grounds the party is using to show cause for the summary judgment. The party must show that even if the case went to trial, the other party would not win. The other party will then present their side, showing there is enough evidence to justify the case going to trail. The judge will then make a decision on whether or not to issue the summary judgment.

Contact a North Carolina Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party, you may be entitled to financial compensation for losses you have suffered. These losses can include medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent disability, scarring, disfigurement, and more. At Shapiro & Appleton, our North Carolina injury lawyers have been advocating for injured victims and their families for more than three decades and will work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact our office today to set up a free and confidential case evaluation and find out how we can help.