The haulage companies do not negotiate fairly if they can avoid this. However, an aggressive accident professional can keep them largely honest.
Truck accidents are easily the most terrifying breakdowns on the US highway system. Truck accidents almost always involve multiple vehicles and can also endanger communities if the affected truck is a tanker carrying harmful chemicals. These chemicals sometimes release a noxious gas cloud that can be long-term or immediate harmful to anyone exposed.
Not only are those on the streets at risk, but homes can sometimes be evacuated depending on the cargo being carried. The number of potentially bad scenarios is large. But even if accidents involving large drilling rigs cause massive damage, the haulage company that has contracted or owns the truck will try to get out of the truck before the financial damage is imminent and reduce its losses.
This is a standard guideline even if a truck accident only involves a passenger car. There are several similarities in trying to reduce corporate liability.
Comparative defense of negligence
One of the first defenses that trucking companies use to avoid liability for a claim is to declare that the accident was caused by a driver other than the truck operator. This is the comparative defense of negligence. All drivers are screened for their personal contribution to the cause of the damage, and the forwarder’s lawyers often increase the responsibility of other drivers.
Influence the accident investigation
All truck accidents are investigated by local law enforcement and the state DOT. The authorities then submit an official accident report detailing what actually happened, according to an accident reconstruction officer. Transport companies also often send investigation teams to try to influence the officers conducting the accident investigation into the cause of the damage.
Truck driver error
Another tactic that trucking companies use to divert liability for an accident is claiming the driver is an independent contractor and they have no control over the situation. The truth is, hauliers still treat contract drivers as employees and have special requirements when loads need to be delivered on a set schedule. This is especially true when delivery bonuses are available.
This defense is seldom effective for shipping companies trying to avoid vicarious agent liability, and both insurance policies usually apply.
Liability of the contractual consignor
Many truck accidents occur as a result of overloading or relocated loads due to improper loading and anchoring at the place of origin. While this is a common cause of accidents, it usually means that the contract shipper has some liability for failing to follow state and federal regulations for loading cargo.
This is also a possibility that many accident victims fail to consider. Because of this, filing against multiple parties always requires the knowledge and experience of a trucking accident attorney.
Reduced claims on injury severity
Another common defense that trucking companies use in obvious failure cases is to deny the injuries that are as serious as claimed. This is done in a number of ways, including soliciting doctors’ opinions from a third party or even hiring a private investigator to observe the victim. This could actually be viewed as malicious if an insurance company is also involved.
Doctor looking at an x-ray; Image courtesy of rawpixel.com via Unsplash, https://unsplash.com
Because trucks are large and heavy vehicles, accidents can cause catastrophic damage. Potential damages for a truck accident include financial recovery for:
- Medical bills
- Loss of wages
- Property damage
- General harm for pain and suffering
- Mental fear
Mitigation of general damage
The most important component of a claim for damages in a truck accident is pain and suffering. Pain and suffering cover intangibles such as emotional distress and the inability to participate in previously enjoyed activities due to a disability. This is where freight forwarders and their insurers work hardest to limit damage values.
Seasoned trucking accident attorneys understand their tactics and always focus on that claim element when maximizing a billing value. The victim only has one chance at economic justice and it is important to ensure that this is done with solid legal assistance.
Always remember that the attorney chosen to resolve truck accident damage is vital and can make a significant difference. The haulage companies do not negotiate fairly if they can avoid this. However, an aggressive accident professional can keep them largely honest.