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Importance of Local Defense Counsel in Motor Vehicle Accident Cases

Insurance Defense Law Firm in Nassau County, Long Island and Downstate New York

The jurisdiction in which a motor vehicle accident lawsuit will be filed is a critical factor in developing a successful defense strategy. Because of local defense counsel's experience in a particular field, type of litigation or jurisdiction, he or she is in an excellent position to evaluate liability and develop an effective defense strategy. Contact our firm to schedule a consultation with an insurance defense attorney to discuss how we can assist in the handling of a lawsuit filed against one of your insureds.

Biases of the Trier of Fact

Local counsel is in an excellent position to consider the potential biases of the trier of fact in developing a defense strategy. Race, religion, age and other traditional biases may be relevant concerns depending on the identity of the trier of fact. Local counsel who is familiar with community attitudes, jury verdicts and arbitration awards in the jurisdiction in which the lawsuit will be filed can use that knowledge to improve the credibility of the defendant, the insurer and witnesses in the eyes of the trier of fact.

Liability Defenses

The available defenses to liability can vary dramatically by jurisdiction.

  • Comparative fault. Comparative fault rules vary by jurisdiction. Defense counsel who has an understanding of the comparative fault rules of the jurisdiction in which the lawsuit will be filed can result in a significant reduction of the damages to which a plaintiff is entitled. Defense counsel who has knowledge of the applicable comparative fault rules can identify key issues with respect to liability to be resolved in the case, including the extent to which factors such as the plaintiff's inattention, vehicle condition or violation of speeding, seat belt or other traffic laws amounts to comparative negligence. Additionally, local defense counsel's understanding of the relevant comparative fault rules may help to minimize the defendant's share of liability by uncovering facts that prove the comparative fault of other drivers involved in the accident.
  • Assumption of risk. The extent to which the plaintiff's assumption of risk can minimize the defendant's liability varies by jurisdiction. However, in some jurisdictions assumption of risk may constitute a complete defense against liability. Defense counsel who is familiar with the assumption of risk defense in the jurisdiction in which the lawsuit will be filed can help to ensure that the defense is properly asserted.
  • Seat belt laws. Many jurisdictions have enacted statutes requiring drivers and passengers to use seat belts, children of a certain age to be placed in child safety seats or both. Depending on the jurisdiction, violation of seat belt laws may amount to comparative negligence.

Speak to an Insurance Lawyer

Counsel who is knowledgeable of the defenses to liability available in a particular jurisdiction is important to the development of an effective defense strategy in motor vehicle accident cases. Contact us to schedule a consultation with an insurance defense attorney at our firm to discuss how we can assist in the handling of a lawsuit filed against one of your insureds.

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Our law firm handles personal injury, medical malpractice and other insurance defense litigation matters in the State of New York, specifically in the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Queens (Long Island), Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Richmond (Staten Island), Bronx and Westchester.

840 Franklin Avenue | P.O. Box 7677 | Garden City, NY 11530-7677

Montfort, Healy, McGuire & Salley LLP
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