When a personal injury lawsuit is filed against an insurance company, they have an obligation to respond to the legal process by filing an Answer to the lawsuit. Through this responsive pleading, insurance companies often deny any wrongdoing or fault by their insured and they raise several affirmative defenses as to why they should not have to pay. An affirmative defense is valid excuse or justification for why the defendant is not at fault and/or is not responsible for the damages of the injured person. Some affirmative defenses include assumption of risk, contributory negligence, fraud, statute of limitations, waiver, and accord and satisfaction.
Sometimes an insurance company will plead affirmative defenses that do not apply to the facts of a particular lawsuit. This is done to try and confuse the issues or to create issues where none exist and make it less likely that the injured person can recover for all of their damages. It is important to keep the record in a lawsuit clean and accurate by striking affirmative defenses that don’t apply to the case so that only the relevant facts of your case are considered. Affirmative defenses are just one tactic the insurance companies use to muddy the waters as to why you should win your injury case. It is important to speak with an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney that can identify these kinds of tactics and deal with them so that you can maximize the recovery for your injuries.