Thursday, June 27, 2013

Defending Your Case with a Personal Injury Attorney

Getting injured because of the reckless, malicious, or negligent behavior of another individual or entity can be a traumatic experience. While personal injury law enables victims to sue for damages to compensate their medical bills, financial losses, and other consequences from the injury, taking your case to trial can be a long and difficult road. When you contact a personal injury attorney in Montgomery, AL, to help you with your case, it may benefit you to understand the basics of what you and your attorney will be up against. After all, the defendant will almost surely have an attorney of their own, and you would do well to know some of the more common defenses used in personal injury cases.

Proving Your Own Involvement

One of the first things a defendant will try to do is to prove your involvement in the injury. In some states, this can dissolve the entire case from the start (following a practice known as “contributory negligence.”) In other words, if you were found to have played a part in any way in the accident or injury, no matter how minor,  you are not entitled to any compensation. Most states will cut back your compensation in proportion to your own involvement in the accident. You will have to check to see whether your state provides for the latter, which is called “comparative negligence,” and whether they have a cut off for the amount of fault they’re willing to still compensate you for. Some states, for example, won’t award you any damages if you are found to be 49% responsible or higher. To look at it numerically, if you were found to be 20% responsible for a car accident, and the defendant was found to be 80% responsible, your total damages will be reduced by 20%. Thus, if you would have been awarded $10,000 in damages, you will only receive $8,000.

Proving Your Assumed Risk

Another angle the defendant may take is to prove you “assumed the risk” of participating in an inherently dangerous activity. Let’s say you went skydiving and the instructor did not properly inspect your safety harness, because of his negligence, your harness became undone just prior to the landing, causing you to fall quite a distance and severely injure yourself. Because you were participating in an inherently risky sport, you may not be able to make your case. A qualified personal injuryattorney in Montgomery, AL, will be able to better assess your case, so make a consultation to hear a professional opinion.

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