Defense strategies can help you win or lose a lawsuit. If you are the one filing a case, you need to know what defenses can be used by the defendant. If you are the defendant, it is important to understand how defense strategies work to help you win a lawsuit. When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, one of the first arguments in court is that the plaintiff was completely or partially at fault for the injury or accident. The defense strategies used in court depend on which negligence standard your state follows.
Most states follow the comparative negligence standard in personal injury lawsuits. Under this standard, damages are calculated based upon the plaintiff and defendant’s fault in the accident. In such a situation, fault percentages for both parties can be determined based on the conclusion of police reports or on the basis of insurance stipulations. For instance, if the plaintiff is found to be 25 percent at fault for the accident and goes on to win $20,000 in compensation; it will most likely be reduced by 25 percent for your degree of fault in the accident. This means that the total damages will be reduced to $15,000.
Pure Comparative Negligence: In this standard, a plaintiff will be able to recover damages as long as he/she is not deemed completely at fault (100 percent). They are allowed to be anywhere between 1 and 99 percent at fault.
Modified Comparative Negligence: In this standard, an injured plaintiff may only receive damages if their fault percentage is at 50 percent or less. Some states hold up the standard to 49 percent or less.
Very few states follow the unforgiving standard of contributory negligence. Active in states like Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, under the contributory negligence standard, plaintiffs are barred from claiming any compensation if they are found even slightly at fault. For example, if the injured plaintiff is held at 10 percent fault with the other 90 percent falling in the defendant’s corner; they are still barred from receiving any compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. This is if the state follows a contributory negligence standard.
In these states, if fault is not determined correctly, the plaintiff stands to lose plenty.
Similarly, if a plaintiff has ‘assumed the risk’ of injury by willingly participating in an activity that is deemed dangerous, their claim for compensation may be denied under the ‘Assumption of Risk’ standard.