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Dismissal without Prejudice

Definition - What does Dismissal without Prejudice mean?

If a case is dismissed without prejudice the plaintiff retains the legal right to file another lawsuit for the same civil claim. Generally, the dismissal is due to procedural errors and allows the personal injury case to be treated as if it was never initiated. The plaintiff, however, must still comply with the legal statute of limitations.

Most cases dismissed without prejudice are due to a lack of evidence. After the dismissal the plaintiff has another chance to gather information about their civil claim, which may help them prove their allegations and win their case. For instance, the plaintiff may seek a dismissal without prejudice to allow them to find more documentation or witnesses, choose a different court, or give themselves more time to prepare for trial.

If you have been sued and the claim has been dismissed, it is imperative you understand what type of dismissal has occurred. In some cases the case could have been dismissed without prejudice and several months later you may find yourself back in court. The good news is a civil case can only be brought back to court one more time after a dismissal without prejudice.

Common reasons a case is dismissed without prejudice

The plaintiff in a civil case may decide to file motion for dismissal for a variety of reasons. For instance, a dismissal without prejudice may be offered if they made a motion because the defendant agreed to pay a full settlement but the plaintiff wants to protect their right to sue if the defendant does not pay, the plaintiff is not ready for court but plans to file a new claim, or the plaintiff has a case but has not been able to locate the defendant and serve them their complaint.

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