Personal injury lawsuits are complex and can take a lot of preparation and knowledge to understand. However, they’re one of the only ways for people to get the money they’re due when someone’s irresponsibility injures them. That’s why everyone should know the common defenses people use in civil personal injury lawsuits before filing for one.
This defense is an attempt to say that the plaintiff is responsible for their own injuries. This defense claims that the plaintiff didn’t take the proper steps to avoid injury, so it’s not the fault of the defendant.
For example, if a plaintiff sues a car company for injuries sustained in an accident but didn’t wear a seatbelt, then the defendant may argue for contributory negligence.
Assumption of Risk
Assumption of risk is a complex defense, but it generally refers to the plaintiff’s knowledge of the inherent risks of an action and still doing it anyways.
For example, riding a roller coaster involves obvious, inherent risks. Therefore, if a plaintiff is injured from a ride, the defendant may claim that the plaintiff assumed a risk of injury by riding it in the first place. This means their injury is not the responsibility of the roller coaster owner. However, there’s a lot more to assumption of risk that you should learn.
This argument is that the injury wasn’t the fault of the defendant but rather the fault of something the plaintiff already had. With this argument, both sides need to provide evidence of the exact time of injury and the cause to prove the party at fault.
Statute of Limitations
While this isn’t the most common defense, it still shows up frequently in civil personal injury lawsuits. After every personal injury, there’s a limited timeframe to file a lawsuit before you can’t file at all for that injury. The timeframe changes depending on the injury and state, but if you’re outside that timeframe, there’s nothing you can do.
These are the defenses most defendants use in courts when fighting a personal injury lawsuit. Understanding these defenses is important so that you know how to prepare your own evidence and if it’s possible to win the lawsuit in the first place.