Trucking companies won’t willingly admit fault in a motor vehicle accident which means plaintiff’s should be prepared to fight to prove the other party’s fault. When a large truck accident occurs, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, and establishing fault relies on solid evidence and sound legal reasoning.
Common Defenses Used by Trucking Companies
One of the most common defenses presented by trucking companies is the doctrine of comparative fault. In states that adhere to the doctrine of modified fault, both parties can be held liable for causing the accident. If the plaintiff is deemed to be 51% or more at fault for causing the collision, they are unable to recover compensation. For any percentage the court determines the plaintiff at fault, that percentage is deducted from the final award.
Truck companies may also argue the incident occurred so long ago that the statute of limitations has expired. In most states, the statute of limitations on motor vehicle accidents is two years from the date of the incident, or from the date when the plaintiff discovered the injury.
Defendants may also argue that the plaintiff failed to mitigate their damages. Essentially, the individual suffered an injury but exacerbated it by failing to receive prompt medical care, physical therapy, etc. Often, trucking companies will argue that the individual’s current health status would have been far better had they taken better care of their health earlier. Moreover, trucking companies will often request the plaintiff to undergo an independent medical evaluation with their doctors who are more inclined to agree with the defense’s position.
It is also common for trucking companies to argue that the plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing conditions. They may argue that an individual’s back injury, traumatic brain injury, etc. are really the result of other events completely unrelated to the large truck accident.
Defeating Truck Companies
Sound evidence is essential for pursuing a personal injury claim against a large truck company. Evidence including police reports, medical records, photographs, and eyewitness statements is very difficult to refute. However, evidence of the accident alone is not the only evidence the plaintiff can use.
Individuals may also have the ability to subpoena evidence of the trucking company’s safety records and logbooks, the driver’s driving history, such as DUI arrests, and the maintenance history of the vehicle involved. This evidence can be used to further corroborate the plaintiff’s claim and to establish negligence on the part of the trucking company.