Big trucking companies face plenty of lawsuits for trucking accidents. They have teams of experienced lawyers ready to fight to protect their interests. Their lawyers will work to ensure that they either don’t pay a settlement for accidents involving their drivers or at least pay as little as possible. One of the top defenses used by trucking companies in these cases is that the driver bringing the lawsuit was either fully or partially at fault for the accident.
What is quite important to remember is that truck driving is not the easiest job out there. Although it is accessible to all those who possess a license, only the very experienced drivers will get the chance to take on such a demanding job. Whereas one’s attention might function at its fullest, there are certain situations in which avoiding an accident can turn out to be impossible for a massive vehicle. Therefore, one may understand why companies have such specific defense plans in place.
There are many different approaches that trucking companies will take to protect themselves in the case of an accident. The most common of these are:
- Comparative negligence;
- Third-party involvement;
- Claims against injuries;
- Shipper liability;
- Statute of limitations.
1. Comparative Negligence
The idea behind comparative negligence is arguing that you were partially at fault for the accident. If the trucking company can make a compelling enough case, your settlement possibilities could be greatly affected. If you are determined to be less than 50% at fault for the accident, then the rate you receive would be reduced according to the percentage of your accountability.
However, if it is determined that you are over 50% to blame, then you lose your right to receive any compensation. In this case, the trucking company could actually end up suing you for damages instead.
2. Third-Party Involvement
When multiple vehicles are involved in a collision, and you file a claim against the trucking company, they might argue that another party is actually at fault for the accident and if they are able to make a compelling enough argument, then you may have to drop your claim against the trucking company and pursue legal action against the third party vehicle instead.
3. Claims Against Injuries
There are multiple paths that a trucking company may take to cast aspersions upon you and the injuries you are claiming. They may argue that your injuries are fake or exaggerated and that you are trying to get more money from them than the true cost of your damages. They may argue that you received unnecessary treatment for your injuries or that you worked with a medical provider to fake medical bills.
A trucking company might claim that you did not do everything in your power to properly respond to your injuries. They may assert that instead, you made your injuries worse and therefore increased their cost. They will argue this by stating that you did not seek medical treatment quickly enough or that you did not follow the advice of your doctor. Either of which could lead to a worsened condition.
4. Shipper Liability
In cases where the truck was loaded by an independent third-party shipper, the trucking company may argue that the shipper is to blame. They will attempt to prove that the primary cause of the accident was an unbalanced load. Should they be able to prove this, then you will have to turn your legal efforts toward bringing a lawsuit against the shipper instead.
5. Statute of Limitations
A simple defense that is easy to win for the trucking company but also easy to avoid for the claimant is a statute of limitations. Make sure to file your claim within the timeframe provided by the law. You will typically have at least a couple of years to file, but don’t wait until the last minute. Begin setting things in motion shortly after your accident, so that you have plenty of time.
Just as in many other cases, acting on things as quickly as possible may come up with a couple of benefits. First of all, you leave the at fault party with little time to think their defense or build up a much stronger case against you. Second of all, when things are done right on time, they usually turn out to finish faster. Apart from the hassle an accident may bring immediately, it can also affect your daily life and your close future. Don’t waste time thinking about it too much – if you are not at fault, the odds are you are going to win the case easily.
Trucking Companies Are Usually to Blame
While trucking companies will fight any claim against them with their team of highly experienced lawyers, the fact is that most often in a trucking accident, the trucking company is the responsible party. A company’s failure to properly maintain its fleet is the leading cause of truck accidents. If this is your case and you require more information, you can always read more.
Don’t be intimidated by a big trucking company and its high priced lawyers. There are plenty of highly experienced truck accident lawyers who know all about the moves that a trucking company will make to defend itself, and how to counter those measures. You can easily find a competent truck accident lawyer who will work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they won’t get paid unless they win you a settlement.
Seek Professional Legal Advice
Although you may be aware of your rights and already know something about how you should act in situations like this, seeking professional advice from a lawyer is the first, and probably the most vital, step to take before moving forward with your claim. In times like these, human nature may push you to think off your emotions, rather than your rationality. A specialized lawyer will be able to guide you based on years and years of expertise, judging your specific case based on real examples. Also, a lawyer will make sure that you are compensated for any damage, whether it is physical or theoretical, truthfully.