Personal injury is an area of law with potentially huge sums awarded. A permanently debilitating injury will change a person’s life forever, and that means a liable party must pay for those changes. Whether you have been injured and need to know the possible defenses to your case, or you are building a defense yourself, here are some common things the defense will bring up. Page & Eichenblatt, P.A. is an excellent resource for this.
Personal injury defenses usually focus on the plaintiff’s role in the injury, and their inaction afterward.
The first, and most common defense based on the plaintiff’s actions before the action is that the plaintiff was the one responsible. Whether you choose to settle the case before it goes to court, or you try and go to court with a Denver personal injury attorney, the compensation awarded is likely to be effected if the plaintiff is proven to have any fault in the incident. In some cases where the activity involved was obviously dangerous, a court may rule you assumed the risk and therefore have no claim. Some examples where an injury would be considered an assumed risk are auto racing and skydiving. Contact sports are also usually exempt, as long as the injury occurred during what would have been considered a normal phase of the game. A light pole falling on a player is therefore not an assumed risk, and the stadium owner would be liable.
Your state may follow comparative negligence or contributory negligence law. In comparative negligence, the court uses a formula to determine the percentage of fault in the accident. So if the plaintiff was found to be 40% at fault, they will only recover 60% of the damages caused, or 100-40%. So if you were involved in a motorcycle accident on 1-25 in Denver and the total damage suffered was found to be $30,000, you would end up with only $18,000. If you believe you were partially at fault, and the amount of money at stake is large, it is imperative that you contact a Denver accident lawyer to help you argue your side. Most states use this system, but they may use pure comparative negligence, which allows the the plaintiff to recover damages even if they were 99% at fault, while the modified system caps the compensation at 50% at fault. In other words, in the modified comparative negligence system, plaintiffs must be less at fault than defendants to receive an award.
Luckily for plaintiffs, Colorado is not a contributory negligence state. In contributory negligence states, if the injured party is at all at fault, they cannot recover any damages. Since Colorado does not follow contributory law, your Denver injury lawyer will still have a chance to recover some damages even if you were partially at fault.
There are a few other ways to get out of personal injury lawsuits because of plaintiff actions afterwards that are not actually defenses. Waiting beyond the statue of limitations makes lawsuits invalid. Also not clearly linking each claim of cause and effect from the defendant’s action (or inaction) to your injury will make the argument groundless. In other words, you must prove the defendant had a duty to repair a bridge, and their failure to repair the bridge caused it to collapse, injuring your hand. Just saying they owned the bridge and your hand got injured during the collapse does not go far enough. If the plaintiff did not do a good job repairing damages, the defendant may not have to pay for the consequences of inaction.