If you file a claim for compensation after a car accident, the other party may try to use a variety of defenses to avoid liability, including claiming you were at fault, you waited to seek treatment, or you have a pre-existing injury.

That is why it is important to have an experienced Silver Spring car accident attorney representing you, as he or she should know how to counter these defenses and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

Contributory Negligence

Maryland is one of only a handful of states that uses the antiquated contributory negligence system. Under this system, if the victim is found to be at any degree of fault, he or she is completely barred from seeking compensation for the damages he or she sustained in an accident.

Most other states allow you to pursue compensation if you have some percentage of fault. In many states, your percentage cannot go over a certain threshold, otherwise you lose the right to pursue compensation.

The insurance company and defendant may try to prove you partially contributed to the accident in order to bar you from financial recovery. They may look for evidence that you were:

  • Texting while driving
  • Otherwise distracted
  • Impaired while driving
  • Speeding
  • Failed to come to a complete stop
  • Failed to yield
  • Followed too closely

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the amount of time you are given to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. In Maryland, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the accident. If it has been more than three years since the accident, you can be barred from bringing your lawsuit.

Assumption of the Risk

Assumption of the risk is a legal defense that a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit may raise. Basically, if the injured victim knew there were risks inherent to getting into the vehicle, the law does not reward him or her by providing compensation. For example, if you got into a vehicle with a driver you knew was drunk, you should have known that this was dangerous. If the driver winds up in an accident and you are injured, you may not be able to receive compensation for your damages because you assumed the risk of incurring them.

Failing to Mitigate Damages

Personal injury victims have the legal duty to mitigate their damages, meaning they cannot do anything that may cause their injuries to be worse.

Some arguments that the insurance company may try to utilize to show that you did not mitigate your damages are:

  • You did not request an ambulance – The insurance company may say that you made your injuries worse by not getting immediate transportation to a medical facility.
  • You did not visit an emergency room – Some accident victims may have waited a few days after the accident before seeking treatment. The insurance company may claim that your injuries would have been less severe had you sought immediate medical attention.
  • You reported delayed symptoms – Some injuries are not readily apparent, so you may not have known you were injured until days later.

Pre-Existing Injuries

Another potential defense that the insurance company may try to raise is that you had a pre-existing injury at the time of the accident. The insurance company may argue that your injuries stemmed from a previous accident and not the one involving their insured.

Insurance companies may send you forms to authorize the release of your medical records, but it is important that you DO NOT sign these types of documents. They are simply looking for evidence of another injury they can use against you. Your lawyer can collect the medical records that are relevant to your claim and release the ones that are relevant to your claim.

Continuing Daily Activities

Insurance adjusters may troll your social media accounts to try to find you engaging in any type of physical activities, resuming work or exerting energy as “proof” that you were not injured.

Have Questions? Call a Lawyer for a Free Consultation

The experienced attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan are ready to assist you with your personal injury claim. We are very familiar with the various defenses that insurance companies may try to raise and how to counter them. If you have a valid claim, we can handle all communication with the insurance company to protect the value of your claim.