If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, then you know that the damages suffered can be wide-ranging and severe. The physical toll can be painful and overwhelming, but the emotional and financial implications of your injuries can leave you struggling to keep your head above water and fearful of the future.
If you’re in that position now, don’t despair. You may be able to find accountability for your injuries and recover the compensation that you need to secure financial stability and pay for your medical care and rehabilitation. To recover the funds that you need, though, you’re probably going to have to pursue a claim against both the trucker who caused your accident and his or her employer. When it comes to suing a truck company, though, the fight over a truck accident can be tougher than you imagined.
Common truck company defenses
Truck companies and their insurers are often well-resourced, meaning they usually have aggressive attorneys on their side who know how to fight to limit liability. Therefore, as you proceed with your claim, you should be prepared to encounter these defenses:
- Comparative fault: This is probably the most commonly utilized defense by truck companies. Here, the defense argues that you’re at least partially to blame for the accident, which, if found to be true, can diminish your recovery by the percentage of fault that is assigned to you. That’s why it’s helpful to have witnesses lined up who can testify as to your actions at the time of the wreck. An accident reconstruction may also be helpful, as it can specify how an accident occurred and who is to blame.
- Third-party negligence: An insurance or truck company might also try to shift the blame to another driver. Although this won’t bar your claim, it may make it more difficult to recover compensation for the full extent of your injuries simply because an individual driver and his or her insurance company may not have the resources to compensate you appropriately. So, make sure that you’re including all parties to your case, but try to focus on placing blame on the trucker and the truck company as much as you can.
- Frolic and detour: Sometimes truck companies and their insurers even shift the blame back to the trucker. This is often the case when a trucker deviated from his route, typically to fulfill some sort of personal objective. For example, a trucker who took a detour to see the Statue of Liberty and caused a wreck along the way may be found to have engaged in frolic. This shields the truck company from liability.
- No liability: A truck company may also argue that no one is liable for the wreck and that your injuries were suffered out of pure happenstance. This argument is relatively rare, but it can come up in cases where there was a hazard in the roadway or when poor weather conditions may have contributed to the accident.
Don’t let truck companies and their insurers push you around
Truck companies and their insurers want to escape these cases with as little liability as possible. Therefore, they often try to settle for amounts that are far lower than the claim is worth. Don’t be sucked into these inadequate settlement offers. Instead, do your research and learn how the defense may try to defend itself in your case. Armed with that information, you can get to work on building the compelling claim that you need to present your position and counter any defense that is thrown your way. If you’d like assistance with that, then we encourage you to reach out to a legal professional of your choosing.