There is a lot of focus on being the plaintiff in a personal injury case. Any internet search or commercial will lead you to an attorney who wants to represent someone filing a lawsuit.
With all this attention, it’s easy to forget that personal injury suits also have defendants, and those defendants are also paying for legal representation.
The defense lawyers in a personal injury suit are just as tenacious and dedicated as the plaintiff’s team. They will present their own evidence and well-crafted arguments, just like a plaintiff’s lawyer will.
When defending against a personal injury claim, lawyers often argue that the defendant is not liable for the plaintiff's injuries. They do so by claiming that the defendant did not breach the duty of care owed to the plaintiff.
To prove that the defendant did not breach any duty of care, defense lawyers present evidence that attempts to prove the defendant acted reasonably. For example, they may blame the car accident on wet roads or other outside circumstances.
Placing Blame on the Plaintiff
Defense attorneys are good at digging into every minute detail of the accident, looking for any excuse to blame you.
They can use many tactics to make this claim. For instance, they may argue that the plaintiff was distracted or not paying attention while driving. Another strategy is to claim that the plaintiff was driving recklessly or violating traffic laws at the time of the accident.
Even if an attorney can demonstrate a plaintiff’s fault, they must then contend with a system called “comparative negligence.” Courts can use comparative negligence when both the plaintiff and defendant have contributed to the accident.
Under comparative negligence, the court will assign a percentage of fault to each party based on their degree of responsibility. The damages awarded to the plaintiff are then reduced by their percentage of fault.
- The court rules that the plaintiff is 20% at fault for an accident.
- The plaintiff receives $10,000 in damages, but their award is reduced by 20%, leaving them with $8,000.
Comparative negligence helps ensure that both parties are held accountable for their actions and that damages are fairly distributed.
Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state. Even if the plaintiff is 99% responsible for their injuries, they can still receive 1% of the overall damages.
Blaming the Injury on Something Else
Defense attorneys often claim that the plaintiff had preexisting injuries. They can present medical records and other evidence, attempting to show a history of similar injuries or conditions that existed before the accident.
Ultimately, they want to prove that the plaintiff's injuries were not caused by the accident. In some cases, they may hire medical experts to testify about the plaintiff's medical history and how it relates to their current injuries.
Remember, just because a plaintiff had preexisting injuries, they could still be entitled to compensation for any additional harm the accident caused. Your attorney should present all of the evidence of your injuries, proving that the injury caused new harm or exacerbated prior injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, Alex & Associates, P.C. is here to help. We know the clever tricks the defense team will employ, and we are ready to counter these claims with the facts. For a free consultation, you can call our office at (602) 483-6114 or contact us online.