When someone causes a car accident that you are involved in, you may feel you have no other choice but to sue them for your injuries and damage to your car. While you and your attorney may think you have a rock solid case, you should realize that the defense will do anything they can to prevent you from winning. Here are three defenses that are most commonly used in car accident cases.
1. The plaintiff shares in the responsibility for the accident.
Likely the first line of defense will be to assert that you, the plaintiff, are also responsible for the accident. The reason the defense will do this before anything else is twofold. First, it will significantly impact your chances of recovery. Second, it can open the door for the defendant to file a counterclaim against you if the judge agrees you are partly at fault.
In most states, if you are found partially responsible for the accident, the amount of money you can win in your case is reduced by the same amount. For example, if the judge determines the car accident was 15% your fault, then your reward will be reduced by 15%. This is called comparative negligence.
2. The plaintiff knew the possibility of an accident was high.
If you are the passenger in a car with a driver that you know to be intoxicated or high on drugs, you might think you have an airtight personal injury case. Unfortunately, the law allows for assumption of risk. The assumption of risk states that the plaintiff can't hold the defendant responsible for injuries sustained from an activity that had a high probability for injury.
So, if you and your friend were at a party, and your friend drank too much before getting behind the wheel, then you reasonably should have assumed an accident would occur. If something like this happens, a judge is not likely to find in favor of the plaintiff.
3. The plaintiff failed to mitigate the damages after the accident.
After an accident, you should do everything you can to mitigate your damages. That means seeking prompt medical attention after the accident and following the doctor's prescribed treatment plan. If you don't ensure your injuries are taken care of in a timely manner, the defense can argue that their client can't be held responsible for you missing time off from work and the extensiveness of the injuries.
If the judge finds that you didn't do everything you could to lessen the severity of your injuries, you could lose your personal injury case completely and collect nothing from the defendant.
For more information about your case, contact Dreyer & Dreyer Attorneys At Law or a similar firm.
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