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How Do Defendants Blame Victims For Their Own Accidents?


You were the one in an accident. You know, and your lawyer confirmed, that the other side did something wrong to cause your accident. So why is the other side blaming you? What on earth could you have done wrong, to cause your own accident?

It may seem at first ridiculous that you, an innocent and injured victim of the accident, could have caused, even in a small way, your own injuries or accident. But Defendants and insurance companies victim-blame all the time, it is a common defense strategy.

Why They Try It

And it is one that pays off. According to Tennessee law, if you are more than 49% responsible for your own accident or injuries, you recover nothing. And even if you are responsible for your own accident at a percentage less than that, you will have your percentage of fault subtracted from the overall damage award that a jury gives to you if your case is decided by a jury.

But how does a Defendant blame a victim?

Slip and Fall Cases

Slip and falls are very common accidents, where victims get blamed.

One strategy defendants use is to say that the victim could have and should have seen the object or substance that he or she fell on or over. This is especially true where the object or substance would have been easily visible.

Defendants will also ask where you as the victim were looking at the time of the accident. Realistically, we don’t all walk around looking at the ground to make sure there’s nothing to fall on. But that’s exactly what Defendants will blame you for not doing, should you fall.

They will even blame your clothing—they will say you weren’t wearing the right shoes, and that your shoes contributed to your fall.

Car Accidents and Victims

When it comes to car accidents Defendant’s often will claim that even if the other side (their client) did something wrong that you as the victim had the last clear chance to avoid the accident—that is, you could have prevented the accident, even in the face of the Defendant’s negligence, but you did not. They may say that you weren’t paying attention behind the wheel, and that had you been doing so, you could have averted the Defendants negligence, and thus, the accident.

They also will use more obvious defenses if they are applicable, things like failures to use seat belts, driving at excessive speed, and they may ask if you were intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Following Doctors Orders

Often they won’t blame the accident on you, but the failure to recover from your injuries on your failure to get medical attention or to heed your doctor’s recommendations or suggestions. They may blame you for doing things that your doctor doesn’t advise, like going back to strenuous activity before you’re healed.

Don’t get blamed for your own accident or injury. Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today.




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