Tractor-trailer accidents can lead to catastrophic property damage, severe injuries, even deaths. These accidents can happen for any number of reasons, including driver errors, faulty vehicle parts, poor maintenance, or aggressive driving. When a person suffers an injury in a trucking accident, he or she may attempt to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver or trucking company. While some cases are open and shut, others are more complex, may involve multiple defendants, or there may simply be a lack of evidence that could help reach a speedier conclusion.
Trucking companies carry insurance coverage for personal injury claims and often employ response teams that travel to accident sites to gather evidence. These responders look for any evidence to protect their employers from legal entanglements with plaintiffs injured in trucking accidents.
Common Defenses for Trucking Companies
The first step in handling any type of personal injury claim is establishing fault. While the plaintiff must prove the trucking company is at fault for his or her injuries, the trucking company will look for any reason to disprove or cast doubt upon a plaintiff’s claims. Some of the most common defenses these companies will use include:
- Plaintiff fault. Some states follow comparative negligence laws that allow plaintiffs to secure compensation for damages even if they are partially to blame for those damages. In trucking accident cases, the trucking company will likely look for any evidence that the plaintiff is at least partially to blame for an accident.
- Third parties. A trucking company may claim that a third party unrelated to the plaintiff or the trucking company caused the accident in question. In these cases, the trucking company must be able to prove a third party had a hand in the accident and may need to collect evidence such as traffic camera data.
- Honest accidents. If the trucking accident occurred due to an unavoidable accident or honest mistake, the trucking company may be able to prove the driver was not negligent and the accident was inevitable. In these situations, the trucking company’s liability coverage may go toward the plaintiff’s damages, but the trucking company may escape liability for negligence.
- Plaintiff exaggeration. Plaintiffs can only sue for actual harm suffered or measurable losses. The trucking company may argue that the plaintiff overestimated his or her losses or did not suffer any actual damages.
- Lack of evidence. A trucking company may cite lack of proof of injury as evidence that the plaintiff lied or exaggerated his or her injuries. Plaintiffs should be certain to secure as much evidence as possible to prove the extent of their injuries and other damages. This also means providing evidence that a plaintiff’s medical treatment was appropriate, given the situation and the plaintiff’s injuries. Additionally, if the plaintiff claims lost wages as damages in a lawsuit, the plaintiff must be able to provide evidence of the lost income.
Plaintiffs injured in trucking accidents should work quickly to secure legal representation if they feel a lawsuit is necessary. The right attorney will help build a strong case with all the necessary supporting evidence for reaching a satisfactory verdict and help hold negligent trucking companies and drivers accountable for their actions.