How Will a Defendant Try to Dispute Your Claim?
When you’ve been injured because of someone else’s wrongful act, proving your case can often appear to be cut and dried. There are, however, a number of defenses that the at-fault party may raise to try to defeat or reduce your recovery.
You Had Some Degree of Liability for Causing the Accident
It’s common for the defendant to argue that you contributed in some way to the chain of events that caused the accident. In New Jersey, this is governed by the concept of “modified comparative negligence,” which allows you to recover some percentage of your total losses, provided you were not more than 50% responsible for causing the accident.
You Were Engaged in an Inherently Dangerous Activity
There are some endeavors that are considered so inherently dangerous that persons choosing to engage in them may be deemed to have assumed the risk of injury. As a general rule, you can only be held to have assumed a risk if you had actual knowledge of the risk and voluntarily engaged in the activity anyway.
Your Injuries Were Incurred before the Accident that is the Subject of the Lawsuit
This argument alleges that your injuries were pre-existing and were not caused by the defendant. It’s important to understand that, should the defendant’s negligence aggravate a pre-existing condition or cause a re-injury of an old wound, you can still recover compensation.
You Signed a Waiver
With some types of activities, you can only participate if you have signed a waiver of liability. As a practical matter, courts are reluctant to enforce these waivers if the language is overbroad or if enforcing them would allow the defendant to escape liability for gross or extreme carelessness.
It’s Too Late to File a Claim
Like all states, New Jersey has a statute of limitations, which requires that you file a personal injury lawsuit within a certain period of time (or it will be barred). In New Jersey, that period is typically two years from the date of your injury, but it may be extended if your injury is not readily apparent or would not be discovered by a reasonable person.
Contact Our Office
At the Lee Law Firm, we have extensive knowledge and experience successfully handling personal injury claims. We take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis—you won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover compensation for your losses.
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