In any sport, players will tell you that games are won and lost just from knowing what the other team is planning. They and their coaches watch their competitors to see how they perform, who their playmakers are, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. A team that hasn’t done its homework is likely to be surprised and make mistakes. The same principle applies in the courtroom. If you know what the other side is going to use against you, it’s much easier to defend against it or avoid it altogether. Although there’s no definitive list of everything an opponent will use to defend against a personal injury suit, here are some of the most common defenses used.
Many defenses in a personal injury case relate to the victim’s conduct. When plaintiffs are to blame, or even partially to blame, for the accident that injured them, it can substantially decrease the worth of their lawsuit. California uses a pure comparative negligence standard, which means that a plaintiff’s recovery is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to him or her. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 60% at fault in a two-vehicle crash, the other driver is found to be 40% at fault, and the damages are $100,000, the plaintiff will recover only $40,000. A similar legal defense is that the plaintiff assumed the risk of getting injured. This means that the plaintiff willingly did something he or she knew could be dangerous.
A second group of tactics the defense may use involves how a plaintiff handled matters after the accident was over. For example, the defense could argue that the statute of limitations has run. That means that the case was filed too late, after the legal deadline for that type of case. If the court accepts that the statute of limitations run, the case is completely dismissed. The defense may also argue that the plaintiff didn’t “mitigate” his or her damages. This means he or she didn’t try to lessen how much the defense would need to pay. One of the most common usages of this argument is when a plaintiff doesn’t seek medical treatment right away and lets his condition worsen.
If none of these tactics work, the defense may try to show that someone or something else caused the accident that produced the plaintiff’s injuries.
Just as in sports, a personal injury case can be a real battleground, and it takes an experienced team of lawyers to make sure that you get the maximum settlement you deserve. Call the Alexander Law Group, LLP to get the best representation for your case. We are passionate about our clients and our community. Contact us today at 888.777.1776. All calls are free and confidential.