There are plenty of defense strategies that can limit a personal injury lawsuit. Some of them are discussed here.
If you are thinking of filing a personal injury lawsuit, you need to be prepared for the defenses the other side can use. Defenses in such lawsuits typically revolve around two things: 1) what was your role in causing the accident? 2) what did you not do after the accident? For instance, did you file the lawsuit on time?
Defenses Used In A Personal Injury Lawsuit
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, the most common argument you will hear is that you were fully or partially at fault for the accident. If you were partially responsible for the accident, the amount of compensation you will receive will probably be affected. Depending on how well you prepare your case, you could either go through a lengthy trial or you could settle your case.
The degree to which you are awarded damages depends on your level of contribution to the accident. If you willingly participated in a dangerous activity that would have resulted in your injuries, then an insurer or the court will say that you “assumed the risk” and they might refuse to compensate you.
Most states, including Rhode Island apply comparative negligence in personal injury lawsuits. They use this rule to calculate damages using a formula that implies each party contributed up to a certain level to the accident.
For instance, if you were in a car accident and the conclusion in the police report indicates that you were 25% at fault and the driver was 75% at fault. This means that any compensation you receive for your injuries will be reduced by 25%. So if your damages add up to $30, 000 you will receive $22, 500.
Many states follow comparative negligence principles but there are two categories of comparative negligence:
- Modified comparative negligence. In this system, you can only receive compensation if you are 50% or less at fault.
- Pure comparative negligence. You can receive compensation if you are not completely at fault. This means that even if you are 99% at fault, you can receive compensation. This rule is applicable in Rhode Island.
Only a small number of states that employ contributory negligence exist and they include Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Alabama; Rhode Island is not one of them.
Contributory negligence isn’t as forgiving as comparative negligence where you get awarded compensation despite your level of contribution to the accident. If you contributed to the accident, regardless of the degree to which you contributed, you may be denied compensation.
Assumption Of Risk
In some personal injury lawsuits, the defendant (the one who caused the accident) will argue that you “assumed the risk” by willingly participating in a dangerous activity where you knew there was a high chance that you would get injured.
This defense is mostly used in lawsuits that stem from contact sports like rugby, basketball and boxing. So if you willingly participate in a contact sport like rugby, there’s usually a lot of tackling so if you filed a personal injury lawsuit it probably wouldn’t fly. However, if you tripped and fell on uneven ground while playing rugby, resulting in a broken leg or arm, you can sue the owners of the stadium for failing to maintain their field.
Your Personal Injury Lawsuit Was Filed Too Late
If you wait too long before filing a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant may argue that the statute of limitations has already run. In Rhode Island, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is three years but this depends on the type of lawsuit being filed.
Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
We have 18 offices in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and we routinely visit our clients in hospitals or in their homes. If you have been involved in an accident, seek medical attention first and speak to one of our experienced and qualified personal injury lawyers.
We help our clients with a number of personal injuries ranging from pedestrian accidents, car accidents, motorbike accidents and bicycle accidents among others. Getting involved in an accident can be emotionally draining and we try our level best to aggressively pursue the best course of action.
Contact us today at (800)-200-7752 or fill out our contact form for a free initial consultation.