If you have filed a lawsuit against a negligent party you have already traveled one long road. Being injured and dealing with the after-effects of an accident can cause some serious stress, and by the time your case comes to trial you will likely be physically and mentally exhausted. While the end may be in sight now with the beginning of the trial, you should be prepared for the other side to vigorously defend themselves against your claims. It can help a great deal to know what to expect from the defense, so read on to learn more about some common defense tactics.
Comparative Fault to Reduce Damages
Some accidents and the question of who is at fault are perfectly clear, but not all. The other side will make every effort to reduce the amount of your monetary damages by showing that you may be somewhat at fault for your own injuries. Fault can be determined to be any percentage from 100% down to less than 10%, so you should be prepared for the defense to prove that your actions or lack of actions contributed to the accident in some manner.
Consider this example: When you exit the shower of the gym dressing room, you accidentally slip down on the wet floor and are injured. You clearly knew or should have known that the floor outside of the showers was usually wet, and the gym tried to warn you about the danger by placing orange cones and signs in the area. The gym usually has someone mop the area on a regular basis, but the showers where especially busy today and the floor was usually wet. In cases like this, the court may assign you at least some of the responsibility for failure to use due care on wet surfaces. Your monetary damages could be reduced unless you can show further mitigating factors, such as no warnings, an absent employee, etc.
Statute of Limitations Defense
You only have so many months or years to take action on personal injury claims, and it varies from state to state. If you have waited too long to file suit, regardless of how egregious the harm done to you, your case will be dismissed for being too late.
Waivers of Liability
These waivers are very typical when participating in nearly everything nowadays. You should understand that you are not giving up all of your rights to sue by signing one, but you may be reducing the defendant's liability. For example, if you signed a waiver to allow your child to play baseball and they were hit in the nose with a ball, you are not likely to prevail in court. On the other hand, if the dugout collapsed and injured your child, you have a case no matter what you signed.
These are only a few of the common defenses used, so speak to your personal injury lawyer for more information.