When you read about personal injury lawsuits, the focus is often on how to establish liability and prove your damages. These are certainly key aspects of any personal injury claim, but there are other areas of the legal process that you don’t want to overlook, as doing so could jeopardize your ultimate recovery.
This is especially true when it comes to dealing with comparative fault.
What is comparative fault?
Under comparative fault, the compensation that you recover from your legal claim can be reduced if you’re found to be partially at fault, even if you win your case by imposing liability.
The reduction in your award will directly correspond to the percentage of fault that’s assigned to you, which could end up being significant. If you’re found to be comparatively at fault, then you could lose out on the money that you need to offset your medical expenses and lost wages.
How can you minimize the risk of a comparative fault finding?
The risk of a comparative fault finding jeopardizes your claim. If you want to reduce the chances that it’ll take a bite out of your case, then you need to be prepared to effectively counter the defense’s comparative fault arguments. You might be able to effectively do so by carrying out each of the following:
- Be honest with yourself: If you think you made a mistake in the moments leading up to your accident, then you need to acknowledge it and be honest about it. You’re not going to be able to hide information from the defense, so you’ll want to thoroughly analyze the mistake, find ways to minimize it, and redirect the jury’s focus on the defendant’s errors and how they contributed to the wreck.
- Secure expert testimony: Comparative fault usually arises in cases where the exact cause of the wreck is unclear. If you were hurt in one of these incidences, then you might benefit from securing testimony from an accident reconstruction expert who can help you paint a clear picture of the accident. This professional will turn to the rules of physics to explain how the accident was caused and render an opinion as to fault. The report and testimony provided by this expert can be persuasive, but you’ll want to anticipate the defense presenting their own expert witness.
- Depose the defense’s witnesses: There’s nothing worse than getting caught by surprise in your personal injury trial. When this happens, you might be unable to quickly and effectively counter, which can throw your case into uncertainty. To avoid that from happening, you can depose the defense’s witnesses so that you know how they’re going to testify at trial well ahead of time. This gives you the opportunity to identify weaknesses in their testimony and exploit those weaknesses to your advantage.
- Know when to settle: There’s a lot that’s up in the air when you take your case to trial. Perhaps so much so that it’s not in your best interests to proceed with litigation. If that’s the case for you, then you need to know how to implement a strong negotiation strategy so that you can get as much out of your settlement negotiations as possible.
Do you want to increase your chances of recovering the compensation you need?
If so, then now is the time to start building the aggressive car accident personal injury case that you need. Although the thought of that can be daunting as you’re focused on recovering from your injuries, you’ll find the process much easier if you take it one step at a time.