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Personal Injury Liability

Defending Against Personal Injury Liability: Strategies and Common Defenses

When faced with a personal injury lawsuit, defendants have several strategies and defenses at their disposal to negate or minimize liability. Understanding these defenses is crucial, especially in states like California, where legal nuances can significantly impact the outcome of a case. The Los Angeles Law Firm of Zhanna Sanamyan, known for its expertise in personal injury law, offers insights into some common defenses used in these cases.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is a common defense in personal injury cases. This strategy involves the defendant attempting to prove that the plaintiff was partly or wholly responsible for the accident and their injuries. In jurisdictions that follow the pure contributory negligence rule, such as Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C., if the plaintiff is found even slightly at fault, they cannot recover any compensation from the defendant. However, this is not the case in California, where a comparative fault system is applied.

Assumption of Risk

Assumption of risk is another defense commonly employed. This argument is used when the plaintiff has voluntarily participated in an activity with known risks. For instance, if someone engages in a dangerous sport and gets injured, the defendant may argue that the plaintiff was aware of and accepted the inherent risks, thus negating the defendant’s liability. This defense implies that the plaintiff should not be entitled to recover damages because they understood the potential for injury before participating in the activity.

Act of God

The Act of God defense applies to situations where a natural event, which could not have been anticipated or prevented by reasonable foresight, causes the injury. Examples include natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, or unexpected medical emergencies like a stroke or heart attack that leads to an accident. In such cases, the defendant claims that the accident was the result of natural forces, not their negligence.

However, this defense is not always straightforward. For it to be successful, the defendant must demonstrate that the natural event was unforeseeable and that they were not negligent in a way that contributed to the injury. If, for example, a driver has a sudden, unforeseeable medical emergency leading to an accident, the Act of God defense might be applicable. But if the medical condition was known and the individual chose to drive regardless, this defense would likely not hold. Similarly, if a property owner fails to maintain their property and a natural event like a windstorm causes injury due to this negligence, they could still be held liable.


In conclusion, when defending against personal injury claims, it’s vital to understand the specific defenses available and how they might be applied in a given case. In California, the approaches and outcomes can differ significantly from those in other states, highlighting the importance of experienced legal guidance. The Los Angeles Law Firm of Zhanna Sanamyan specializes in navigating these complex legal waters, ensuring a comprehensive defense strategy tailored to the nuances of California law.