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What is an Affirmative Defense?

What is an Affirmative Defense?

Even if a defendant committed the otherwise unlawful actions alleged by the plaintiff, the defendant can still use what’s called an affirmative defense, or a set of facts that negate the alleged claims. In civil court, an affirmative defense might include assertions that the legal proceedings were initiated after the statute of limitations had already passed. Essentially, an affirmative defense introduces additional information, or a new set of facts, intended to defeat a claim, even if the facts supporting that claim are true.

How Affirmative Defense Works

Once a plaintiff files a complaint, the defendant must respond to the plaintiff’s claims through what’s known as an answer. This is when the defendant has the opportunity to raise all possible affirmative defenses.  For example, without denying any claims, the defendant can assert the plaintiff’s contributory negligence or assumption of risk.

The defendant also has the option of denying the validity of the plaintiff’s allegations. Unlike a denial or negative defense, which aim to disprove allegations made by the plaintiff, an affirmative defense introduces new information which renders the original claims invalid.

Examples of Affirmative Defenses

Even if the plaintiff’s claims are true, here are a few examples of what might be used to negate the accusations:

Contributory Negligence: The plaintiff was responsible for his own injuries.

Consent: The plaintiff has waived any liability because they signed a consent form.

Assumption of Risk: It’s assumed that by intentionally participating in certain dangerous activities, such as contact sports, the plaintiff might encounter injury, and cannot file a suit against an opposing player for a broken nose, for instance.

Defense of Property: The defendant is not liable for any loss or injury caused while acting to protect their property.

Contact the Legal Team at the Khonsari Law Group

If you have had a complaint filed against you, it is important you have the right legal team on your side to build a proper defense strategy. The attorneys at the Khonsari Law Group have the necessary tools and experience to guide you through this trying time and garner the best possible outcome for your case.

To learn more about the Khonsari Law Group and our practice areas, contact us at (727) 269-5300 or schedule your free consultation online today.

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