The easy answer would be to let your insurance company do it for you. But injury claims stemming from car accidents aren’t always so simple, especially if the accident involved more than two cars or one or more parties are uninsured.
Getting sued can be a scary prospect, but there are ways to defend a car accident injury lawsuit.
Don’t Admit Fault
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people doom their own cases in a rush to apologize or explain how a car accident happened. Figuring out who is at fault in a car crash can be a complicated procedure; one that’s better left to the courts. While you should do your best to document the scene and gather as much information as possible right after an accident, you should limit your own admissions until you’ve talked to an attorney.
Don’t Be Negligent
Of course this is easy to say in hindsight, but there are defenses to negligence claims even after an accident has occurred. The standard negligence claim has four elements, and you can argue any or all of them:
- Duty: You could argue you didn’t owe the injured party a duty of care in the first place.
- Breach: You could argue you didn’t breach the duty you did owe the injured party.
- Cause: Even if you did breach the duty, you could claim that the breach wasn’t the cause of the injuries.
- Damage: Or you could argue that injured party didn’t really suffer any damages.
Don’t Forget About the Other Drivers
Even if you may have been negligent or done something wrong, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the only one to blame for a car accident. There are legal theories called contributory and comparative negligence that attempt to apportion blame for car accidents to all responsible parties and can be used as a defense in car accident cases. Comparative negligence limits the ability of a person injured in a car accident to recover damages by the percentage of fault attributed to him or her. Contributory negligence, on the other hand, prohibits anyone who contributed to the accident from suing for their injuries.
Don’t Go It Alone
Knowing these defenses is one thing — arguing them and proving them in court is quite another. If you’ve been sued for injuries resulting from a car accident, consult with an experienced injury attorney near you.
- Car accident injuries? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Case? (FindLaw’s Injured)
- Tips for Defending Against a Frivolous Injury Lawsuit (FindLaw’s Injured)
- Car Accident Liability (FindLaw)