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The Party at Fault’s Defense against Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claim is the claim against the party at fault for inflicting damages, injuries and losses to the victims of said party’s negligent acts. There are different types of personal injury accidents, and they are categorized as:

  • Traffic Accidents: car accident, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident or even bus accident, truck accident or train accident.
  • Premise Liability Accidents: slip and fall accident, trip and fall accident, dog bite, personal injury or construction accident.
  • Other Negligence Accidents: boating accidents, animal attacks or aviation accidents.

In any of the foregoing accidents, the victim is entitled to some or any form of compensation against the party at fault, which is not limited to:

  • Property damage
  • Actual medical costs
  • Future medical care
  • Lost earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

Although it is true that a victim may obtain the above damages, actually being awarded with said compensation is not as easy as it sounds. In any claim for damages, the law provides that the claiming party has the burden of proof to show the following:

  • accident actually happened,
  • that the party is obligated to provide due care,
  • that the party at fault failed to provide due care as mandated and
  • That as a result, the victim suffered damages, injuries and losses.

In proving the above against the party at fault, the latter may claim the defense that the victim was at fault for the accident. Short of this, the party at fault may minimize or mitigate his liability in the accident by claiming that the victim was partly at fault or partly to blame for the accident. There are various legal concepts that the other party may use to frustrate your claims and they are:

  • Theory of Comparative negligence - this means that the victim is partly to blame for the accident. In car accident, the defense would probably say that the victim also violated a traffic regulation, contributing to the accident. In slip and fall case, the other party may say that the other party was given notice but failed to heed them, resulting in the accident.
  • Theory of Contributory Negligence – this is the concept of unclean hands where, in other states, the part at fault may not even be held liable for the victim’s losses as they are both to blame and hence, should pay for their own damages.
  • Theory of Failure to Mitigate Losses – this, on the other hand, speaks of the actions of the victim after the accident. If you are involved in a car accident and instead of having your car fixed immediately, you wait for weeks or used the car as is, resulting in more damage, then the law provides that the victim may not claim the total cost of repair of the vehicle because of failure to mitigate loss. This is also true in belatedly seeking medical attention.

As you can see, seeking damages against the party at fault is very complex. Hence, if you are serious in making the other party pays for his recklessness, you should never try to pursue your case on your own and trust expert personal injury attorneys to help you obtain evidence vital to your claims and help you prove the maximum compensation against the party at fault. Otherwise, short of waiving your right to claim any type of damages, you might be unwittingly doing harm to your case by failing to refute the party at faults above defenses.

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