Car accidents are never good. If you are the driver being accused of causing the accident, it is even worse. If you are being sued in court in a personal injury case, you won't necessarily lose. Here are three defenses you can use in a personal injury case.
1. The plaintiff contributed to the accident.
One way you can either reduce your liability or do away with it completely is to prove that the plaintiff contributed to the accident as well. In states that go with comparative negligence in determining each party's role in accident, the amount of compensation that a plaintiff can recover will be reduced by the amount of their share in the accident. For example, if the plaintiff asks to be compensated for $25,000 in medical bills, but the judge finds they are responsible for 20% of the accident, then they will only be able to recover 80% of that amount.
However, if the state your case is in uses contributory negligence as the standard, the plaintiff is usually not able to recover any amount in compensation. There can be exceptions to this, but usually the plaintiff doesn't recover anything if they share fault in the accident.
2. The assumption of risk.
If you are being sued by someone who was in your car in an accident, you can sometimes use the legal doctrine called "assumption of risk." The assumption of risk states that the plaintiff knew there was a risk when they were involved in the activity that resulted in their injuries.
This can come up in accidents where the driver was drunk. Say you were leaving a party after having one too many drinks. The plaintiff knew you were drunk, but they still got a ride home with you. If you then got into an accident that injured the plaintiff, you could argue that they assumed the risk by getting in your car in the first place.
3. The statute of limitations has run out.
When it comes to car accident and other personal injury cases, each state has a deadline for a plaintiff's ability to sue for compensation. The statute of limitations varies from state to state and can be anywhere from a year to 10 years after the date of an accident. If the plaintiff files their lawsuit too late, then a judge will dismiss it even if the defendant was completely at fault.
For more information, you may want to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer from a firm like Lerner, Piermont & Riverol, P.A.