Car accidents can be very troubling, especially when you’re facing a defense that tries to shift blame to you. This situation is usually triggered via a comparative negligence claim, a common defense that attempts to make the defendant seem as minimally involved in the crash as possible.s
Thankfully, a good Denver car accident lawyer can help fight through this type of confusion and provide you with the defense you need. By fully understanding the defenses that you may face, you and your lawyer can work together to ensure that comparative negligence doesn’t cost you your award.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence is a legal term commonly utilized in various personal injury cases, especially in car accidents. It states that all parties involved in the crash were at least partially responsible for what happened. For instance, the defendant may admit that they were driving too fast for the conditions but claim that the plaintiff was changing lanes inappropriately, as well.
In this legal defense, the defendant attempts to shift away as much of the blame as possible for the incident, often utilizing a percentage-based system that assigns responsibility based on how much the court thought a person was responsible for an incident. And the award that would have been won in the case is then decreased by whatever amount a person was found to be liable for the incident.
Some states may even throw the lawsuit out entirely if the defendant can successfully argue that the plaintiff was at least 50 percent liable for the accident. This type of defense is so common in car crash lawsuits because it just requires a preponderance of evidence to prove it was true. Therefore, those injured in a car accident need an accident lawyer willing to fight for their rights in this scenario.
Fighting Against These Claims
Comparative negligence can only be combated by presenting evidence that either rebuke the defendant’s claims (i.e., showing that the plaintiff had minimal cause in the accident) or displaying proof that proves that the defendant was ultimately more to blame. This process requires you to gather evidence with a car accident attorney who can present it in a unified and streamlined manner.
For instance, you can talk to witnesses who saw the incident and get their testimony to the effect that the defendant was more to blame. Try to attack what the defendant claims by assaulting their core claims, showing that you did not behave in the way that you did in their claim. However, if you were somewhat to blame for the accident and witnesses will testify, it is essential to emphasize the defendant’s role.
Try to use your attorney to showcase why the defendant’s actions were more dangerous, such as how speeding inappropriately increased the crash’s intensity and the damage that it caused. Utilize testimony from doctors, crash specialists, and more to prove that, while your actions did contribute somewhat to the accident, you were nowhere near as problematic as the defendant in your efforts.