In the city of San Luis Obispo, a plaintiff is the person or entity that files a lawsuit. The plaintiff in a personal injury case is the person who is seeking some type of remedy for an injury. There are several examples available to help shed light on exactly who a plaintiff may be.
Medical Malpractice. John enters the hospital for a schedule knee-replacement surgery. He is placed under anesthesia, undergoes a procedure and is taken to recovery. When John wakes up, he discovers that surgeons have operated on the wrong knee. John files a lawsuit and is named as the plaintiff. He is seeking compensation for the cost of the original surgery and the surgery that will be required to replace the correct knee.
Car Accident. Jamison is driving through an intersection legally when he is broadsided by a vehicle driven by Sarah. Jamison suffers several injuries and his car is totaled. Jamison files a lawsuit against Sarah seeking compensation for his medical bills, lost wages and the replacement of his vehicle. Jamison is the plaintiff in this case.
Workplace Injury. Robert is working on a piece of machinery when it malfunctions and his hand is trapped. As a result, Robert sustains several broken bones. Robert decides to sue his employer for a failure to maintain the machinery, ultimately causing it to fail. Robert is named as the plaintiff.
In any case, the person who has filed the lawsuit is the plaintiff. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff is the person seeking to be compensated.