Defenses to Negligence Claims

Negligence occurs when someone fails to act as a ‘reasonable person would under similar circumstances to protect people from harm. Dog bites, slip and falls, and car accident negligence cases can happen in Anchorage, Alaska.


This article teaches legal defenses to negligence claims and how they might apply in your situation.

Assumption of Risk

Several defenses can be raised to negate liability or reduce damages. One such defense is the assumption of risk. Under this doctrine, the plaintiff is said to have assumed the risk of injury by voluntarily placing themselves in a situation where they knew or should have known there was a danger of being harmed.

For example, if someone chooses to bungee jump off a bridge, they assume the risk of being injured if the cord snaps. Or if someone goes skiing without proper instruction or equipment, they assume the risk of being injured in a fall.

For this defense to be successful, you must show that the plaintiff knew or should have reasonably known the risks involved in the activity and still chose to participate. You also must show that any negligence on your part did not cause those risks. If both these elements are satisfied, the plaintiff will bear the responsibility for any resulting injuries.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a different defense used in personal injury or wrongful death cases. This doctrine allows plaintiffs to share any liability for their injuries with defendants when both parties are at fault. The degree of fault attributed to each party is then compared, and this percentage will determine how much compensation a plaintiff will receive from you.

Assuming that the plaintiff knew of and understood the risks involved in the activity or situation at issue is one of the most common defenses to negligence claims. For this defense to be successful, you should work with an attorney in Anchorage, AK, to prove that the plaintiff knew of the risks and still chose to participate. This can be difficult to do, but if successful, it can completely negate any negligence claim against the defendant.

Contributory Negligence

One common defense to a negligence claim is that the plaintiff was also negligent and that this contributed to the accident. This is known as “contributory negligence.” For example, if a plaintiff trips and falls on a wet floor but is not paying attention and not looking where they are going, the defendant may argue that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to the accident.

In some jurisdictions, if the plaintiff is found to be even partially at fault for the accident, they will be completely barred from recovery. In other jurisdictions, the plaintiff’s recovery may be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault.

Suppose you have been involved in an accident and believe you may be partially at fault. In that case, it is essential to contact attorneys in Anchorage, Alaska, who can evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options.

In a personal injury case, the plaintiff likely has a lawyer if you are being sued. The plaintiff’s lawyer will make an extraordinary effort to see that you are held accountable for the client’s injuries. Why shouldn’t you be represented as well? It may be in your best interest to work with a skilled injury law expert to understand your legal alternatives, including any potential defenses to a negligence lawsuit.

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