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Three truck accident defenses to prepare for after your crash

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

It only takes a split second for a semi-truck to cross a center line, fail to brake, or turn in front of you and cause a devastating accident. Yet, that split second can cause a lifetime of physical and mental anguish. As a result of a truck accident, you might suffer from disabling injuries that cause incessant pain, you could experience stress and anxiety tied to your recovery and the hardships you face, and your bank account can take a hit due to your medical bills and lost wages.

Although that’s worrying to think about, the good news is that you might be able to find relief through a truck accident personal injury lawsuit. If the trucker who caused your wreck was employed by a truck company, then you can file one of these claims against both the negligent trucker and their employer. If successful, you can give yourself a sense of closure and recover the compensation needed to spur your recovery forward. Before getting to that point, though, you have to anticipate and understand the common defenses you’ll be up against.

Be prepared to counter these truck accident defenses

You may face one or multiple defense strategies in your case. Here are some of the most common that you’ll want to be ready to fight against:

  • Arguing comparative negligence: A common go-to for truckers and their employer’s is comparative negligence. Here, they argue that you’re at least partially to blame for the accident and thus your injuries. Since Rhode Island recognizes comparative fault, and judgment you win will be reduced by the percentage of fault that’s assigned to you. So, a $100,000 judgement will be reduced to $60,000 if you’re found to be 40% at fault. This can significantly stymie your recovery, so be ready to defend your own driving actions leading up to the accident.
  • Blaming the trucker: The truck company has greater resources from which to pay for your damages. But they’re not going to fork over any funds if they can avoid doing so. One way they attempt to avoid liability is by shifting the blame onto the trucker. To successfully do so, the truck company argues that the trucker was doing something outside the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, which is often referred to as frolic. If you can, be sure to tie the trucker’s actions back to a benefit received by the employer. Doing so will give you a strong basis for a vicarious liability claim against the trucker’s employer.
  • Minimizing your injuries: Even if the trucker and the truck company know they can’t escape liability, they’ll do their best to try to show that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim them to be. They might scour your social media posts to find pictures of you engaged in activities contrary to your claimed physical condition, analyze your medical records to identify pre-existing conditions, or depose you to see if they can find a way to attack your credibility. Be ready to address these attacks.

Don’t get thrown off balance by truck accident defenses

With so much on the line in your truck accident case, you can’t afford to put forth anything less than the best case possible. If you improvise your claim to the smallest degree, then you could be taken by surprise at trial, which could jeopardize your ability to win your case. So, as you start to build your personal injury claim, be sure to anticipate the defense’s positioning and how you can effectively counter it.