Common Defenses in Personal Injury Lawsuits

by | Oct 1, 2014

Setting your lie detector to “high”

Are you good at telling when people are lying? Can you discern when someone is merely stretching the truth? Unless you’re a mental health professional, you’re probably not able to divine such things. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to anticipate another type of smoke screen: the common tactics that personal injury defendants use to avoid responsibility for their actions in personal injury lawsuits.


Asserting That You’re Partially or Wholly to Blame

This is one of the most common tactics that defendants use to evade blame for an injury. In fact, it’s so popular that it comes in several different “flavors.” These include:

  • Comparative negligence
  • Contributory negligence
  • Assumption of risk
  • Failure to disclose injuries in a timely fashion
  • Failure to mitigate injuries
  • Failure to establish causation or state a claim

Comparative and Contributory Negligence

These are two common, closely related standards. Comparative negligence quantifies the extent to which you—the Plaintiff—is at fault for an accident and determines whether your level of “guilt” disqualifies you from receiving damages.

Contributory negligence doesn’t even bother to quantify the extent to which you’re at fault for an accident. If you’re deemed to be at fault at all, you’ll be barred from receiving any compensation. That’s why it’s so important to document the circumstances surrounding your case and ensure that you’re not blamed for something you didn’t do.


“Assumption of Risk”

When you engage in activities that have a “dangerous” reputation, you may be blamed for “assuming risk.” Common examples include engaging in contact sports or attending sporting events. However, this “assumption” only applies to injuries that are likely to occur in the course of the pertinent activity. If you’re injured in another manner, your case will be much stronger.


Timing and Disclosure Issues

If you don’t disclose injuries in a timely fashion or wait too long to bring charges, your case could be thrown out on a technicality. Accordingly, it’s critical to contact a competent lawyer as soon as you’ve been injured.



If a defendant accuses you of “failing to mitigate” an injury, he or she is saying that you didn’t do everything possible to minimize the extent of the injury. For instance, he or she might accuse you of avoiding a visit to the emergency room or failing to take prescribed medication. Fortunately, a trained lawyer can help you anticipate and defend against these accusations.

Regardless of the reason you’re involved in personal injury lawsuits, it’s critical to understand the motivations and tactics of your opponents. In fact, such understanding is crucial in any battle. However, it’s also important to recognize when you might need a little help to pursue a favorable outcome in your case. To learn more about how we can help you secure justice for your injury, contact us today.


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