How A Lawyer Can Help You With A Car Accident
If you're in a car accident, you're likely to face huge fines or even jail time. The first thing you should do is call a car accident attorney. The last thing you want is self-incrimination. Apart from helping you during police interrogations, here are a few defenses that a car accident attorney can raise to help drop the charges against you.
Pure Comparative Negligence
The comparative negligence concept holds that a victim who is partially to blame for an accident should also share in the responsibility for the resulting costs and injuries. In states that follow the comparative negligence concept, the liability of each party is determined in terms of percentages. Some states that follow this model include New York, Florida, and California.
For example, if the court determines that each party was 50% liable for the accident, each of them will receive half the amount of their damages from the other. This means that the plaintiff will only receive the amount of damages that's proportionate to the defendant's fault.
To show comparative negligence, your auto accident lawyer has to prove the elements of a claim of negligence. Your lawyer should show that the plaintiff had a duty to exercise a certain level of caution and that they didn't meet this standard. Additionally, your lawyer should prove causation. This means that the accident was partially caused by the plaintiff's negligence.
Contributory negligence is another defense that can be used against an auto accident claim. This concept can prevent a plaintiff from recovering anything from you. Your lawyer has to only prove that the plaintiff was in any way, however insignificant, liable for the accident.
For example, in a contributory negligence state, if a jaywalker is 10% responsible for an auto accident, they cannot recover any damages from a driver who hits them. This defense is common for auto accidents in states that have adopted the concept of contributory negligence. Very few states have adopted this concept. These include Washington D.C., North Carolina, and Maryland.
Failure to Mitigate Damages
In many jurisdictions, an injured party should mitigate their damages. This means, if a person sustains injuries in an accident, it's their duty not to aggravate the injuries. If the defense can show that the plaintiff made their injuries worse, the court will reduce the recovery amount.
Some ways plaintiffs aggravate their injuries is by failing to follow the doctor's orders and engaging in practices that could worsen their condition. This translates to more medical expenses and a longer healing duration. Your lawyer can use this defense to minimize the amount of damages you're going to pay the plaintiff.