Defenses in Personal Injury Cases

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If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, company, or entity, then you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. This includes coverage of your medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, pain and suffering losses, and more. However, do not be surprised if the alleged at-fault party in the case raises various defenses on their behalf. This could include blaming you for the incident. Here, our Long Beach injury lawyers want to discuss some of the most common defenses in personal injury cases in California.

Shifting Some or all of the Fault to the Victim

At-fault parties often try to shift some or all of the blame onto the injury victim. They do this because any shift in fault, whether totally or partially, could reduce the total amount of compensation the at-fault party has to pay. California operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that injury victims can still recover compensation if they are up to 99% at fault, though the total amount of payment they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. The more an at-fault party can shift liability towards the injury victim, the less they will pay.

Claiming Pre-Existing Injuries

We will often see at-fault parties try to claim that the injury victim had pre-existing injuries and that they did not actually sustain the injuries as a result of the incident in question. However, the existence of pre-existing injuries does not mean that a person will not be able to recover compensation for a new incident that caused injuries. This is the case even if the new incident aggravates or worsens pre-existing injuries.

The Assumption of Risk Defense

The at-fault party may try to claim that the injury victim assumed liability, which means they knew or should have known about the danger and possibility of injuries and should not be able to recover compensation.

A Release of Liability Waiver

There are cases when individuals sign waivers of liability that acknowledge that they forfeit their right to receive compensation if they sustain an injury. Waivers of liability are common for activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, etc. However, these waivers of liability do not completely prevent a person from filing a lawsuit, particularly if the defendant was grossly negligent or intentionally caused an injury or accident.

Statute of Limitations Have Passed

In the state of California, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. Injury victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party or they will not be able to recover compensation for their losses. If a claim is filed beyond this two-year time frame, the defendant will ask the court to dismiss the case, and they will likely succeed.

Working With an Attorney to Secure Compensation

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, company, or entity in California, reach out to a skilled accident lawyer who can help with every aspect of your case. An attorney will conduct a complete investigation into the incident and be able to fight back against the defenses that the at-fault party presents in the case.