Two Defenses Defendants May Use That Could Result In You Losing Your Civil Assault Case
Defendants in personal injury cases will not just step aside and let you win, as much as you may want them to. He or she will likely use a variety of defenses to try to win or, at least, avoid paying you as much as you're asking, and unfortunately the person may be successful. If you're suing someone for assaulting you, here are two defenses that may be employed in your case that can result in you losing damages or the entire case.
You Were Also Liable
A popular defense many defendants use is to claim the plaintiffs were equally liable in the assault incident, particularly in cases where there's some question about the veracity of the evidence. For instance, if a witness isn't sure who started the fight, the defendant may exploit that crack in your case to claim you provoked the attack. Since it may come down to your word against the defendants, there's a good chance the judge may believe the defendant if he or she seems more credible.
This type of defense can hurt your case in a couple of ways. At the very minimum, the court will assign a percentage of liability to you and reduce your damages accordingly. You'll only receive 80 percent of the amount you're asking for if you're found 20 percent liable, for instance.
In some states, however, you will automatically be barred from recovering anything if you are assigned any percentage of liability (e.g. in Maryland, you'll lose everything if you're found even 1 percent liable for the incident). Thus, it's critical to look up the relevant laws in your state and work with your attorney to reduce the risk the defendant will be able to use this defense against you.
You Let Your Damages Run Wild
Although the defendant is responsible for paying damages you may incur because of the assault, that doesn't mean you can just let the tab run up as high as you want. Even though you're the injured party, you have a responsibility to mitigate your damages, i.e. take steps to minimize your injuries and losses.
For example, you should seek treatment for your injuries as soon as possible rather than wait weeks to go to the doctor. If you wait weeks to be treated for no good reason and your injuries worsen because of the delay, the defendant can ask that your damages be reduced to what they would have been had you sought treatment within a reasonable amount of time.
Do what you can to keep your damages and losses at reasonable levels, and be sure to have explanations for any delays or similar problems that may have acerbated your situation.
For help litigating an personal injury case involving assault, contact a local attorney.