Through all the pain, turmoil, stress, and financial distress you go through after suffering a serious personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, you would think that getting compensation for your troubles is easy. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Defendants in personal injury cases will try anything (within reason) to either avoid paying you, the plaintiff, or, at the very least, decrease the amount they have to pay you. This blog will cover four common ways defendants may contest their liability in a personal injury case.
- You didn’t take actions to mitigate the damage to your health and wellbeing. The defendant, more or less, admits that their negligence or actions caused harm to you. However, this defense is activated when the defendant claims that you didn’t take reasonable actions to mitigate, or lessen, your injuries. For instance, you might encounter this defense if you waited a day or two to get medical attention after a serious car accident.
- You assumed the risks involved (assumption of risk). To successfully use this defense in a personal injury case, the defendant must convince the judge or jury of three things:
- You (the plaintiff) had “actual knowledge” of the potential danger of partaking in a certain activity
- You fully appreciated and understood the risks of the activity
- Nevertheless, you “voluntarily exposed” yourself to the activity
Essentially, the defendant is asserting that you knew of the risks involved in the activity that directly led to your injury but proceeded (of your own volition). This is generally not an acceptable defense in personal injury cases involving traffic accidents.
- You were also negligent. The defendant admits that they acted negligently leading up to your injury, but you were partially at fault for your injury. Fortunately, this defense is much more difficult to use in Georgia than other states that use the contributory negligence rule. In Georgia, plaintiffs may still collect damages in a personal injury case if they are found to be less than 50 percent negligent. Your compensation might be proportionally reduced by the amount you were found to be negligent, though.
- Your injuries were not caused by their negligence. Another common tack among defendants is to claim that plaintiffs’ injuries were not directly caused by the defendant’s actions. This isn’t as successful with maladies like broken bones, fractures, or open wounds. However, if the defendant in your case sees an opportunity to sow doubt that the incident caused by them actually caused your injuries, you can expect them to exploit that.
Unfortunately, the other side in your personal injury case might make collecting compensation quite difficult. Depending on who you are going up against, the defendant might have some serious legal firepower on their side. That doesn’t scare us for one second, though. We relish the opportunity to go up against careless, negligent people in court and expose their wrongdoing. Can we help you? Give us a call today at 404-873-3700 to receive a free consultation and discuss your options with our team.