When facing your opponent, whether a plaintiff or a defendant, you should be well prepared in personal injury claims and trials. The facts and evidence of your situation may make a strong case, but you could end up losing if you’re not well prepared for trial. What does preparation entail? There’s no right or wrong approach here, but a good approach would involve not only hiring a lawyer but to hire competent Bakersfield auto accident lawyers for legal advice and guidance.
When preparing for trial, you should at least familiarize yourself with the basics of personal injury law, including the common defenses cited, the damages you can recover, court protocol, and much more. We should inform you you can never understand personal injury law by reading about it. However, we can advise that involving Bakersfield auto accident lawyers will be rewarding in the long run.
Car Accident Defenses in Car Accident Claims
Establishing liability is arguably the most critical part of any trial and can significantly influence the final verdict. However, the success of a claim is not exclusive to establishing fault; it can be influenced by many other factors, such as statutes of limitation, negligence, the duty of care, causation and much more. The commonly cited defenses in auto accident claims are divided into legal and factual defenses.
Legal defenses can further be subdivided into statutes of limitations and lack of stating a claim.
1. Statutes of Limitation
The law provides a level playing field to all the parties involved in legal actions, meaning the accused has the right to defend themselves as much as the plaintiff is entitled to recover damages if their case is legitimate. The statute of limitations (a law limiting the time frame for filing legal actions) is a legal defense commonly cited by defendants in auto accident claims. In California the limit to file a case is currently two years, with some exceptions (minor children, government claims, etc).
The statutes of limitation can be extended in some specific instances, even if it’s an acceptable defense in auto accident claims. Such instances include:
- When the plaintiff is disabled
- When the defendant is out of the country
- When the plaintiff is a child
2. Ambiguity in the Plaintiff’s Complaint Document
Plaintiffs or their legal representatives must prove negligence, causation and damages, but even that’s not enough. If they file a legal complaint in court, the complaint must clearly state the claim of the plaintiff and provide enough information so the defendant can figure out why he or she is being sued. A plaintiff’s complaint is a court document filed by plaintiffs stating the facts of a legal situation, including their claim and the legal grounds for their claim(usually negligence).
3. Factual Defenses
Factual defenses focus on the degree of responsibility of the defendant and plaintiff. There are many different defenses, but some of the more common ones are that the plaintiff contributed to his or her own harm, some other person caused the accident, or plaintiff failed to take care of him or herself after the accident and made their own injuries worse as a result.
What Damages can you recover in Car Accident Lawsuits?
Car accident survivors can recover the following damages in auto accident claims.
- Damages for past and future medical expenses.
- Damages for past and future lost wages.
- Emotional distress damages, past and future.
- Property damage compensation.
The success of a claim depends on many factors, but the most crucial requirement is working with a competent legal team.