Five Common Defenses We See In Auto Accident Cases
When you’ve practiced auto accident personal injury law as long as our attorneys, you’ve heard it all when it comes to defenses. However, after a while, you’ll see the defendant's attorneys always try to use the same tactics to get a case dismissed. Now though we’ve protected our clients from these defenses over the years, many times our clients are shocked by the tactics insurance companies and their attorneys will use to get out of paying a fair settlement.
Sometimes they will make outlandish claims about the plaintiff, they’ll attack their character, or even make up lies. Whatever they can do to get out of paying a fair settlement. If you’ve never gone up against an insurance company before, these tactics can be incredibly difficult. You may find yourself hurt and angry throughout the process. However, we’ve found when our clients know ahead of time the dirty tricks the insurance companies play, they’re much more prepared.
Here are five of the most common defenses in auto accident cases:
The Plaintiff Was At Fault For The Accident
The first is they will try to turn around and blame you for the accident. This is especially common in Florida cases because the state uses comparative negligence to determine auto accident settlements. If they can prove that you are even a little at fault for the accident, they won’t have to pay you the full value of your claim. They’ll try everything to make the accident out to at the very least partially your fault.
The Defendant's Actions Didn’t Cause The Accident
Another classic tactic is to try to shift blame off the defendant. They’ll try to blame the road conditions or some external factor that the driver had no control over. They do this because if they can convince the courts that the driver wasn’t at fault, they don’t have to pay anything. They’ll even try tactics where they’ll admit fault for one part, but not for the whole accident. For example, they’ll argue sure the driver was speeding, but then say it wasn’t the speeding that caused the accident at the intersection.
The Plaintiff’s Injuries Existed Before The Accident
This defense is particularly upsetting and invasive. Attorneys have been known to dig into plaintiff’s pasts for any evidence of a pre-existing medical condition. For example, imagine you get into a car accident and you severely injure your back. Attorneys will point to a time you visited a doctor five years ago for completely unrelated back pain as proof the injury was there before the accident to get out of paying.
The Plaintiff’s Injuries Aren’t As Bad As They Are Claiming
This is another defense that is really insulting. They will almost always say that your injuries aren’t as bad as you claim and that you are overstating or even faking the severity. They’ll use a variety of tactics to prove this including questioning your personal character and honesty. They’ll dig into your life and find any personal anecdote to support their position. All to get out of paying what you are fairly owed.
The Plaintiff Didn’t Mitigate The Damages
Finally, another argument they will make is that you didn’t do everything in your power to reduce your injuries. Injury victims have a legal responsibility to take care of their injuries, so they do not cost the defendant more than if they follow medical advice. Attorneys will sometimes look for examples to save that you didn’t do enough to take care of your injuries, so why should they cover the extra expenses?
As you can see, the defenses used by insurance companies and their attorneys are pretty tough. Luckily, we’ve seen them all and know exactly how to counter their tactics. No matter what they throw at you, we’ll be here to protect you and fight for your right to a fair settlement.