When filing a claim against a commercial trucking company, you are often going up against a large team of attorneys and a big insurance company. With that power comes numerous defense strategies, including placing the blame on the victim, to lessen how much compensation they pay.
If you were recently injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a commercial vehicle, you should speak with an attorney right away. Accidents involving a commercial truck can be catastrophic. Not only are you likely facing high medical costs, but you or a loved one could be left permanently disabled and unable to work – further increasing your debts from the accident.
An attorney knows the strategies used by commercial trucking companies and their insurance companies, and they know how to fight back. Furthermore, when you have an attorney involved, you may find that the insurance company is more willing to negotiate a settlement.
How Trucking Companies Fight Insurance Claims
A trucking company will never admit they were at fault voluntarily. Not only would that expose them to paying the maximum compensation, but their attorneys would never allow them to admit fault in a motor vehicle accident. A defense team in these cases is not there to discover the truth; instead, their job is to preserve assets – which means giving you as little compensation as possible.
The defense knows one thing: the burden of proof is on the plaintiff.
In a car accident case, the victim must prove to the court using a preponderance of the evidence that the trucking company caused the accident. If the evidence is not strong enough to do so, the trucking company might not have to pay out.
To make your burden harder, the defense team deploys numerous tactics to fight your claim and lessen their compensation payout. Here are just some of the defense strategies these companies use:
1. Arguing That the Evidence Doesn’t Prove Liability
Because the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, the defense is likely to argue that the evidence does not prove liability. When a trucking company or insurance company wants to avoid paying compensation, they will dispute any evidence that proves they were at fault. The plaintiff must show strong enough evidence to prove that the defendant did cause the accident and their injuries.
Even with evidence, the defense team will argue that it is not strong enough to prove liability or that it is not admissible. If the evidence is weak and would not be presentable in court, it would be hard to win in private negotiations.
2. Putting Part of the Blame on the Victim
Another common tactic is blaming the victim. These commercial trucking companies’ insurances may try to put some of the blame on the victim to lower the amount of compensation they pay. This is because a victim of a car accident cannot receive full compensation if they are partially at fault for the accident itself.
This is known as comparative fault. A victim can still receive compensation even if they are partially to blame, but the amount of compensation they receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault they contributed. For example, if the insurance company successfully convinces the court that you were 30% at fault for the accident, any compensation awarded to you would be reduced by 30%. So, if you were given $100,000 in compensation, the court would reduce that by $30,000 to account for your portion of fault.
Even if you were not at fault, it is the insurance company’s job to try and push as much of the blame onto the victim as they can. By doing so, they can reduce the amount of compensation they payout. An experienced attorney is more than familiar with this defense strategy and is often ready to fight back against claims that the victim also contributed to the accident. That is one reason it is imperative you get an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can start collecting evidence showing that the trucking company was at fault and fighting off any claims that you contributed to your injuries.
3. Putting the Blame on a Third Party
Another common tactic is pushing the blame on a third party that is not the victim or the trucking company itself. A trucking company may try to blame a third party, such as a manufacturer or a maintenance company that serviced their trucks. In some cases, there might be a legitimate claim against a party.
Your attorney would review the evidence and see if there is a third party that you can also file a claim against.
4. Stating the Victim Is Seeking Compensation for Old Injuries
Another common tactic used by insurance companies is to claim that the plaintiff is seeking compensation for previous injuries. Just because you have prior injuries from a past accident, that doesn’t mean you are not entitled to compensation for this accident. You should notify your attorney if you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions that may be used against you in court.
Your attorney would then make sure to have medical evidence showing that the new accident irritated a previous injury or that it aggravated a pre-existing condition.
Defending Yourself Against These Common Defense Strategies Starts with the Right Attorney
The best defense you have against these common tactics is to hire an experienced personal injury team. While it does take time to file a claim and start negotiations, the sooner you hire an attorney, the faster the process becomes. Most of these defense strategies are easily refuted just by gathering the right evidence.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, do not try to fight the insurance company alone. Instead, speak with the injury advocates at Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary. Our team will explore your options and get started right away negotiating the settlement you deserve.
Start by calling us to schedule your case evaluation or contact us online.