Most commonly, personal injury cases are a result of an injury caused by another person. This means that when you file your lawsuit, you not suing some faceless entity, but rather you are facing down another person that will be responsible for paying your damages. Naturally, they will have a lawyer ready to defend themselves. By knowing the common defense strategies they may take against your claim, not only can it help you prep for your case, but it can help you decide if it is worth pursuing in the first place. After all, you wouldn’t want to pay lawyer fees for a personal injury suit where there is a strong chance that you might not win due to some legal loophole.
The Assumption of Risk Defense
This type of defense is common when you are injured doing a potentially dangerous activity. This can include something where the danger is part of the thrill like bungee jumping or skydiving, but it can also cover less dangerous activities like a game of football or basketball. The defendant can argue that by agreeing to play football, you acknowledged the risk of being injured. However, as the plaintiff, you can often counter that while you expected to be tackled playing football, you didn’t expect to be kicked in the knee.
The Contributory Negligence Defense
This defense is a pretty common one since sometimes it takes two to have an accident. In this defense, your role in the accident will be called into question. While the defendant may have had some fault, they can argue that your actions also played a role in it. While not every state acknowledges contributory negligence, Wisconsin does. However, you will still be able to seek damages if the percentage assigned to your contributory negligence is not higher than the defendants. An example of this is if you were looking at your cell phone and crossed the street during a do not walk sign and a car struck you. Even if your contributory negligence percentage was determined to be 49%, you can still seek damages against the driver, although the amount you receive may be diminished.
The Failure to Mitigate Damages Defense
This defense is common when the defendant’s lawyer doesn’t necessarily believe they can win, but wants to lower the amount of damages their client will have to pay. In this defense, the idea of it states that the defendant should have to pay less because the victim did not take every proper precaution to mitigate injury. For example, if you were hit by a car and did not seek medical attention only to find out later you had internal bleeding. In this case, you caused yourself more damages by putting off medical care, thus increasing the damages. This can also be used if you failed to follow a doctor’s advice after the accident and made your own injuries worse or in cases where you weren’t using safety equipment like seatbelts or helmets for the activity you were doing.
Preparing Your Case
While these are just a few samples of common defenses against personal injury lawsuits, often the defense will use a combination of the above and other legal maneuvers in order to either negate damages completely or lower them significantly. This is why it is so important to have a lawyer by your side when seeking damages for your injury. If you were hurt in Wisconsin, contact us today. When it comes to legal defenses against personal injury claims, the Harnitz law Office has seen it all. We can help you prepare your case so you can win in order to get the compensation you deserve for your injury.