A car accident can have a significant and lasting impact on your life. When you get into an accident, you may seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim.
A car accident injury claim involves you filing a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident. The defendant, represented by their insurance company, will raise defenses to avoid or reduce the compensation owed. These actions may trigger the question, do I need a lawyer for my car accident?
Here are the defenses of a car accident injury claim.
This legal defense argues that you were also at fault for the accident and, thus, should receive partial compensation.
The theory behind contributory negligence is that you contributed to the cause of the accident. As a result, you bear some responsibility for the damages from the accident. The court may reduce or deny your compensation if the defendant can prove you were negligent.
The application of contributory negligence varies by jurisdiction. In some states, the court will bar you from recovery if you are found to be slightly at fault. In other states, a more proportionate approach is taken, where your recovery is reduced to their degree of responsibility.
Assumption of the Risk
The defense of the assumption of the risk is sometimes raised in car accident injury claims. It argues that you voluntarily assumed the risks associated with the activity that led to the injury, such as driving a car.
This means that you knew or should have known about the risks involved and voluntarily chose to take part in the action anyway. You should note that the defense of the assumption of the risk is not applicable in all cases. Its application can vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the laws of the jurisdiction where you filed the claim.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a legal time limit for filing a personal injury claim. It sets a deadline for you to take legal action, beyond which you may be barred from recovery. The specific time limit for filing a personal injury claim varies by jurisdiction and type of claim.
The defense of the statute of limitations is raised by the defendant, who argues that you did not file the claim within the time limit set by law. If the court finds that the statute of limitations has expired, it may dismiss your claim.
You must be aware of your case’s statute of limitations and take action within the time limits to protect your rights.
Failure to Mitigate Damages
Failure to mitigate argues that you did not take reasonable steps to minimize the extent of your damages.
The theory is that you must take reasonable steps to minimize the harm caused by an accident. For example, if you were injured, you may have a duty to seek prompt medical treatment and avoid activities that could make your injuries worse.
If there is proof you failed to mitigate your damages, the court may reduce or deny your compensation.
This argues that you had a pre-existing medical condition that contributed to or worsened your injuries.
For example, suppose you had a pre-existing back injury, and a car accident caused extra back pain. In that case, the defendant may argue that the pre-existing back injury was a factor in your increased pain.
Lack of Causation
The defense of lack of causation is a common defense raised in car accident injury claims. It argues that the defendant’s actions did not cause your injuries. There must be a direct link between the defendant’s actions and your damages to prove causation.
In a car accident injury claim, the defendant may argue that another unrelated event caused your injuries.
The court may deny your claim without directly linking it to the defendant’s actions.
Car accident injury claims can involve a variety of defenses. Understanding these defenses and their potential impact on a case is crucial for a positive outcome.
Each defense is unique and may not be applicable in every case. A lawyer can guide and evaluate your case for the best outcome possible.