What are some common defenses the at-fault driver might use in a car accident case?

Two automobiles have collided on a snowy roadYou or someone you love suffered injuries in a car accident caused by another person’s careless behavior. Medical bills may have already started arriving, and the forced time away from work may be causing your family a significant financial strain.

It seems like it should be straightforward enough—the at-fault driver or his insurance company can be held legally responsible. They provide compensation for your accident-related medical bills and wages lost due to injury. Unfortunately, opposing drivers will often attempt to shift the blame to someone or something else to avoid having to pay.

Common Defenses in an Alaska Car Crash Injury Case

The opposing side will use any number of tactics to reduce their level of fault, and thus their financial liability. The most common defenses include claims that:

  • The injured driver is at fault. Often, at-fault drivers will claim that the victim played a part in causing the accident. They may claim the victim was speeding or talking on the phone or engaging in some other risky behavior. If they can be convincing that the victim was even partially at fault, it can reduce the damages awarded under Alaska’s pure comparative negligence laws.
  • A third party is at fault. Another attempt to shift blame could be made against someone or something else. The at-fault driver may say that another driver’s actions caused the crash. Perhaps that person veered out of his lane, and the at-fault driver swerved to avoid him, causing your accident. In other cases, he may claim that poor road conditions or defective vehicle parts are truly to blame for the accident.
  • No real injuries were suffered. To bring an injury claim against an at-fault driver, accident victims must have experienced injury and that injury must have caused physical, emotional, or financial hardship. The other side may try to claim that you are exaggerating your injuries or that they stem from a condition not related to the crash.
  • The victim made the injury worse. This is known as failure to mitigate damages, and it means essentially that victims have a duty to do what they can to promote recovery. Failing to follow a doctor’s treatment plan or engaging in activities that make the condition worse could be considered failure to mitigate damages.

Be Prepared for Your Car Accident Personal Injury Claim

Even in seemingly simple cases, the other driver, his lawyers, and his insurance company will work to find any way to limit his culpability. Informed victims with knowledge of these tactics can be prepared to address them when the time comes.

Attorney Ben Crittenden has represented many car accident victims across Alaska, and he is here to help you understand your situation. With his experience and knowledge of the law, you can effectively protect your rights if you or someone you love suffers injuries in a car crash. Take a moment to request a free copy of Ben’s book A Guide to Car Accident Claims in Alaska, or call our Anchorage office today to speak directly with Ben.