Individuals, businesses and government entities can be held liable for injuries caused by intentional or negligent behavior. However, the law allows at-fault parties to partially or completely avoid liability through certain defenses. This guide addresses the most common defenses used by insurers and liable parties in personal injury cases.
The Victim Was Aware of the Danger
Under the assumption of risk doctrine, injured parties are considered to have assumed risk due to the nature of an activity or their own behavior. If this defense is applied, an injured party cannot receive damages even if the defendant was also at fault. When activities are inherently dangerous, and a defendant has not worsened the danger in any way, an Injury Attorney in Las Vegas may find it harder to help a client build a successful claim.
The Victim is Partially at Fault
In some jurisdictions, if a victim is partially responsible for his/her own injuries, a defendant can use the comparative negligence defense. Under this rule, a plaintiff’s share of the fault does not relieve a defendant of liability. Rather, it serves to reduce a number of damages the plaintiff receives. In most cases, settlement offers reflect negligence on a plaintiff’s part. If the contributory negligence defense is used, the plaintiff’s negligent behavior can bar them from recovery.
The Injury is Pre-Existing
Another common defense is to minimize the damages paid by proving that a plaintiff’s injuries did not arise from the accident. This is usually done by proving that the complainant’s alleged injuries occurred beforehand, and pre-existing conditions are then used to reduce the defendant’s liability. An Injury Attorney in Las Vegas may point to medical records and physicians’ testimony to prove the nature of a plaintiff’s injuries.
A defendant in a personal injury case may attempt to lessen his/her liability by providing evidence that the plaintiff waived their right to file a claim. In some instances, an injured party may not know that they’ve signed away their right to sue.
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