Trucking accidents can be exceedingly complex to resolve, and the injuries sustained in these accidents frequently are severe and costly. Because of the commercial nature of semi-trucks, it isn’t uncommon that you will have to deal with a trucking company if you are involved in an accident with a truck. These companies can be difficult to handle on your own, and will often try to deny liability for the accident. Find out ways that truck companies may try to deny liability for your accident.
1. Blame the Victim for the Accident
If you are involved in an accident with a truck, the company may try to blame you for causing your accident. Your attorney may need to help you fight this accusation, or you may risk your claim to compensation. It is a very common way that truck companies may use to dodge responsibility. Even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you still are entitled to receive some compensation. Your trucking accident lawyer should be able to help you gather the necessary evidence to defeat the trucking company’s accusations against you.
2. Distancing the Company from the Driver
Truck companies are responsible for the actions of their employees, but the company may try to find ways around liability by claiming that the driver was not an employee of the company. If the driver is classified as an independent contractor, the company cannot be held liable for an accident the driver causes. This may not be true, but your lawyer will be able to investigate and determine if this is true.
Sometimes, companies contract with independent owner/operators or smaller trucking companies to avoid being liable for accidents. The contracted driver may be driving a truck owned by the contracting trucking company, or they may be driving their own truck and be using the permit numbers of the contracting company. Under federal law, trucking companies are responsible for all accidents that occur with a truck that is operating under the company’s operating permits. Even if the driver is not an employee of the company, the company is still liable for their driving.
3. Distancing the Company from the Truck
Trucking companies are also responsible for the trucks they own. Semi-trucks require frequent and regular maintenance to ensure that they are in proper working order and are safe for the road. If a lack of appropriate maintenance causes an accident, the trucking company can be held liable, since they failed to enforce the correct maintenance routine. Companies may try to skirt this issue by contracting with independent owner/operators or leasing trucks to independent contractors. However, federal law requires a company to be held liable for any truck or driver that is operating under the company’s permit numbers. Your attorney can help you to fight this claim if the company denies liability because they don’t own the truck.
4. Fighting the Severity of the Injuries Sustained in the Accident
If your injuries are shown to be not as severe as claimed, the company may be able to pay less in damages to you. If the company cannot completely dodge liability, they will most likely try to minimize their expenses. You should see a doctor after your accident, and begin documenting your injuries and treatment. When it comes time for the insurance company to pay your claim, you will need proof of your expenses to help you receive a fair amount. Keep copies of your medical records and treatment bills in case you need to counter the insurance company’s claims.
Your injuries deserve compensation. If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, one of our New Orleans truck accident lawyers can help you defend your claim from insurance companies. Contact Scott, Vicknair, Hair and Checki, LLC today at (504) 502-7316 to begin your case.