If you suffer injuries in an auto accident or a loved one dies, you could have a legal claim for financial compensation. Although many defenses raised by an at-fault driver’s attorney or insurance company are specific to the specific facts and circumstances of a collision, certain tactics and defenses are routinely used in many types of motor vehicle accident lawsuits and claims. An experienced auto collision defense lawyer can anticipate such defenses and craft appropriate responses to protect the value of your claim.
Non-Compliance with Timing Requirements: Injury victims must observe important deadlines to protect the viability and value of their claim. Failure to file a lawsuit in a timely fashion or to provide timely notice to a public entity can have devastating consequences on a car accident injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations provides a firm deadline for filing a complaint that initiates a lawsuit. Generally, the statute of limitations for car accident injury claims in most states is one to 2 years from the date of the collision except under special circumstances. Since narrow exceptions apply, car accident injury victims should seek legal advice as soon as practical after a collision. If you fail to comply with the statute of limitations, your legal claim usually will be completely barred regardless of the merits of your claim. If you are pursuing a claim against a public entity, you also must provide notice as required by law within a designated period. A common example includes cases that involve dangerous roads that are haphazardly maintained or unsafely designed. If you have an unsafe road case, time is of the essence because you may have a very short time within which you must file a notice of claim against the public entity or be banned from naming the municipality, county, or state as a defendant.
Failure to Take Reasonable Care for One’s Own Safety: The duty to take reasonable care to prevent injury applies to both plaintiffs and defendants. While the negligence of a defendant is the basis for imposing liability in a car accident lawsuit, the failure of the plaintiff to take reasonable care for his or her own safety may be a basis for reducing the damages awarded to a plaintiff. Personal injury laws in some states follow the doctrine of “pure comparative negligence”. Under this legal standard, a plaintiff may still recover if his own carelessness contributed to his or her injuries, but the court will reduce the amount of any recovery based on the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
Failure to Mitigate Damages: Motor vehicle accident victims have a legal obligation to minimize their damages. For example, a negligent driver may raise the failure to mitigate damages as a partial defense where an injury victim failed to follow doctor’s orders and complete the appropriate course of treatment, resulting in more serious permanent disabilities.
Lack of Causation: Sometimes the primary issue of dispute will be the cause of injuries incurred by a motor vehicle accident victim. The insurance company for the defendant may contend that back, neck, or shoulder injuries were not the product of the motor vehicle accident but some other cause. A patient that seeks prompt diagnosis and treatment may minimize the effectiveness of this defense.
An experienced auto accident injury attorney from Parker Waichman LLP can anticipate such defenses and many others to help you understand the best way to preserve the value of your claim for monetary compensation.
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