Understanding The Personal Injury Process

Mitigating Liability in Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims vary significantly from one case to another. The value of a personal injury claim may vary due to the severity of a plaintiff's injuries, the amount of money spent in medical treatment, or the plaintiff's level of contribution. Each party to a personal injury claim is entitled to a personal injury lawyer. While one personal injury lawyer works for the plaintiff to come up with a water-tight claim, another represents the defendant to dismantle the personal injury claim. A personal injury lawyer is experienced in handling tortious actions arising from negligence. Thus, as detailed below, a personal injury lawyer plays a vital role for the defense by coming up with legal reasons to mitigate a plaintiff's liability.

Voluntary Assumption of Risk

Under the assumption of risk doctrine, a personal injury lawyer argues that the plaintiff (the injured party) was aware of the risks involved in an activity yet took part anyway. Thus, if the personal injury lawyer succeeds in demonstrating that the injured party should have reasonably foreseen the dangers that resulted in their injury, the defendant is not held liable. The 'assumption of risk' defense is common in activities with an element of risk involved, such as sporting activities. For example, a person can reasonably foresee the risk of playing a contact sport such as football. Therefore, if a player suffers an injury and the defendant did not do anything to exacerbate the risk the plaintiff is exposed to, then the defendant is not liable. 

Comparative Negligence

In some cases, it may be impossible to acquit a defendant from liability fully. In such cases, a personal injury lawyer demonstrates how much the plaintiff contributed to their injury. Some states allow for parties to determine each party's level of contribution to an accident. In these states, a personal injury lawyer can demonstrate that given the facts, the plaintiff contributed to the accident to some degree. For instance, if the plaintiff was parked on the wrong side of the street or was driving on the wrong side of the road, the personal injury lawyer can demonstrate that the accident would not have happened if the plaintiff had not broken traffic rules. 

Contractual Waivers and Liability Release Clauses

A personal injury lawyer can reduce a defendant's liability by proving that the plaintiff lacks the right to claim. Some plaintiffs have signed away their right to sue through contracts, waivers, and releases in some situations unknowingly. It is critical to read all of the terms and conditions since some contracts contain a release of liability clause buried deep inside the contract in legal terminology. For example, equipment rental services frequently include such terms to protect themselves from legal obligation in the event of faulty equipment.

For more information about your case, contact a personal injury lawyer near you.