If you’ve been injured in a car accident, a truck crash, or any other type of accident that was the fault of another, you may be seeking damages from the responsible party. Many personal injury lawyers would have you believe that the compensation for your injuries is nearly automatic, but if that were true, there probably wouldn’t be a need for personal injury attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia, or anywhere else.
Businesses and insurance companies will assess the nature of the complaint that you have against them before deciding on whether to settle or to litigate it in the Georgia courts. If they believe that the case against them is strong, and what your asking for is reasonable, they may decide to settle out of court. However, insurance company attorneys may also use some proven legal defenses to mitigate or eliminate their clients’ responsibility.
Here we will look at a couple of the most common defenses in personal injury cases:
Comparative Negligence: This defense is raised to limit the amount of damages owed or the even completely bar the plaintiff’s case. In Georgia, so long as the jury finds the plaintiff 50% or less at fault, the plaintiff can recover damages against the defendant. The award will only be for the percentage fault placed on the defendant. For example, if an individual in a car is struck by a truck running a red light in downtown Atlanta, he or she might sue the trucking company for damages. However, if it was determined that the car driver had forgotten to activate his or her headlights, that could have also contributed to the accident. The information about the headlights may then be used by the defendant’s lawyers to reduce the amount of the damages that their clients will have to pay.
Assumption of the Risk: This defense can bar a plaintiff’s claim and is raised when the plaintiff’s actions were such that it would have been clear to the plaintiff that injury would occur if he or she proceeded as planned. For instance, if the plaintiff was warned of the danger, then proceeded to do the activity anyway, and was injured, assumption of the risk will bar the plaintiff’s claim.
Pre-Existing Injuries: This is also called causation—meaning “did the negligence complained of really cause the plaintiff’s alleged injuries?” Oftentimes, pre-existing similar injuries will be discovered and can be used against the plaintiff to argue that he or she had already been injured as complained of in the lawsuit. The defendant’s attorney may attempt to subpoena all of the plaintiff’s medical records to look for similar complaints of injury.
Atlanta accident lawyers are well versed in the defenses that may arise in personal injury claims and can help guide you through the process to avoid many of the pitfalls that exist in injury lawsuits. If you have been injured in any type of accident, you should retain the services of a reputable, knowledgeable Georgia personal injury attorney.