If you suffer an injury or other loss because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of another individual, including a person acting on behalf of another party, you may have a personal injury claim for damages to cover your losses. The person and/or party who caused these losses should be held legally responsible and required to compensate you. Keep in mind that the law allows at-fault individuals to avoid liability partially or even entirely when certain defenses are raised by a defendant in a personal injury case.
Defenses in personal injury cases may be summarized as follows but there are specific legal terms to describe them as well:
*The Plaintiff knew of the danger
*The Plaintiff was also at fault
*Contractual and statutory limitations on liability
*The Plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing
The following is a list of some defenses that commonly arise in personal injury cases.
*Assumption of the Risk
This is a legal defense where the injured party “assumes” the risk of injury from a particular activity by either acting in a certain way or because of the nature of the activity itself. This defense is often asserted when a person is injured while engaging in a sporting activity. Its application is harsh since it acts as a complete bar to recovery. If the defense of assumption of the risk applies, the injured party cannot recover damages even if the defendant is also responsible for causing the harm that resulted in the injury.
*Comparative Fault/Contributory Negligence
Comparative negligence allows blame to be shared and damages to be awarded based on each party’s share of the fault. Contributory negligence is a harsh rule that completely bars an injured party from collecting any damages after an accident if the injured party was also at fault for the accident. Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia use contributory negligence, while the remainder of the United States uses some type of comparative negligence system. California uses a pure comparative negligence system.
*Waiver, Release, Consent
These involve voluntary acts that relinquish the right to sue by some form of a written agreement. Individuals must be careful to always be aware of these waiver clauses hidden in contracts. The effect is that you sign away your right to sue and release the other party of liability.
Many equipment rental contracts contain language stating that the renter acknowledges that the equipment is being rented “as is” and that he or she will not hold the lessor liable if the equipment is defective. While these types of releases may be valid, a personal injury plaintiff may be able to void the release under certain circumstances.
*Statute of Limitations
This defense involves time running out on the plaintiff to sue the defendant. This is not all that common since a good lawyer may determine whether or not the statute has run and avoid filing a frivolous lawsuit.
This defense may act as a measure to minimize damages as it demonstrates that the plaintiff’s alleged injuries existed before the accident. A “pre-existing” condition may be used to limit the defendant’s overall liability to the plaintiff. Somewhat related to this defense is the assertion that there was no injury, even minimal, caused by the defendant.
Maison law’s years of representing clients in all types of personal injury cases, give the firm extensive knowledge and experience litigating and settling personal injury matters. Maison Law passionately provides skilled representation and effective advocacy on behalf of all our clients. If you have any questions about any type of personal injury matter, call Maison Law and Martin Gasparian today. The experience of Maison Law helps us provide skilled, zealous representation on behalf of every client. Call Maison Law 24/7 at (559) 203-3333.