In a typical accident there are at least two parties involved: plaintiff and defendant. Plaintiff is referred to the aggrieved party (person suing); Defendant is referred to the person who has allegedly caused the accident. Generally, each side is represented by a lawyer.
In most car accidents involving injuries, the plaintiff could file a lawsuit to recoup losses for medical treatment, compensation for damaged vehicle, pain and suffering and so on. The question is what does the Defendant do, when sued?
Here is an overview of defenses that a defendant may raise:
1) Legal Defenses
Legal defenses prohibit a claim based on rule of law. For instance, Statute of Limitation, which is a legal defense, prevents personal injury claims to be raised after a certain period of time, depending on jurisdiction.
Statute of Limitations is a law that sets a time limit for a claim to be filed. This time period varies by the type of claim and the jurisdiction. The most common time limits are anywhere from 2 to 6 years.
The most important issue to understand is that Statute of Limitation defense is a time bar mandated by law. This means once a claim is barred, the facts leading to it are irrelevant. Although, there are some exceptions to the set time period based on when a particular injury was discovered. However, the general rule is that if you sleep on your rights, you lose your rights.
2) Factual Defenses
Factual defenses are arguments regarding the specific events that led to the accident. Such defenses include contributory or comparative negligence and failure to mitigate damages.
Some of the widely used factual defenses to a car accident injury claim is fault, unless the jurisdictions are governed by no-fault statutes. There are two main categories of allocating fault:
In jurisdictions controlled by Comparative Negligence, the degree of fault for each party involved in the accident is carefully assessed. This allocation includes parties who were involved in the accident, but may not be involved in the lawsuit.
Once each party's degree of fault leading to the accident is delineated, then compensation is calculated accordingly. For instance, if three vehicles hit each other and one driver is 20% at fault, another 30% and the third one 50%: Their recoveries will be reduced according to the percentage of their fault. This allocation of fault and compensation system is also referred to a “Pure Comparative Negligence.”
In some jurisdictions a plaintiff who is 50% or more at fault will recover nothing.
Contributory negligence is referred to as “All or Nothing” doctrine. In a minority of states, any party that contributed even a small percentage of fault to the accident is completely barred from getting compensation from other parties.
Failure to Mitigate Damages
In almost all states, an injured party has a duty to mitigate damages. This means, a person who was injured or wronged has a duty to make “reasonable efforts” to get better or prevent the injury to become worse. In other words, neglecting to mitigate may reduce the amount of recovery or preclude it altogether.
This is why it is crucial for plaintiffs in any accident including car accident, slip and fall, dog bite, assault and battery, etc., to seek competent medical help right away.
Here at www.ChosenLawyers.com we are assembling a roster of highly Competent, Credible and Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in all jurisdictions for you. So, when you are injured due to another person's fault, you retain the professional legal help you need to obtain your Just Compensation: thus become whole again.