Insurance companies and personal injury defense lawyers will rarely offer you the amount your claim is worth without a fight. Even the most bullet-proof claims are met with at least some resistance. The best way to negotiate for the highest settlement amount or win a verdict in your favor is to anticipate the other side’s defense arguments and prepare arguments and evidence to rebut their defenses.
As a plaintiff in a personal injury case, you must prove four elements of your claim to succeed:
- Causation; and
The defenses presented by insurance companies or defense lawyers in personal injury cases attempt to argue that one of those elements is lacking in your case. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common defense arguments in personal injury cases:
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Lack of causation
The defendant may argue that there is a lack of causation between their actions (or lack thereof) and your injuries, meaning that while you may in fact be injured, they did not cause your injuries. In your personal injury case, you have the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was the actual and proximate cause of your injuries.
The defense does not even need to provide evidence that something else caused your injuries, though doing so would strengthen their case. The burden is completely on the injured party to prove that the defendant caused their injuries.
Even if the defendant acted negligently and their actions could have caused your injuries, but some other event was the actual cause of your injuries, the defendant will not be liable for your damages.
Within this defense, two common explanations for why the defendant was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries include that the injuries pre-existed the accident in question or that the plaintiff was injured subsequent to the accident.
Simply put, this defense asserts that you are not actually injured and therefore you were not damaged by the actions of the defendant. Medical diagnostic and treatment records can help to refute this defense. In some cases, the plaintiff and defense might both submit opinion reports from medical experts to support their claims. A judge will need to decide which expert is more credible and weigh the totality of the evidence.
Injury is not as extensive as claimed
Similar to the defense above, the defense may argue that your claim is not worth as much as you are demanding because you were not injured as badly as you say you were. Your lawyer will submit evidence and testimony regarding your medical diagnosis, treatment, symptoms and physical limitations to prove the extent of your injuries.
These common defenses in personal injury cases are arguments that our experienced personal injury lawyers have encountered numerous times. We are skilled at anticipating and rebutting these defenses. If you have been injured by the negligence of another person, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers today for a consultation.