It’s no secret that a truck accident can leave a victim and his or her family reeling, and in more ways than one. Sure, the financial losses can be completely overwhelming, threatening to financially ruin a family, but the emotional toll can be just as damaging. That’s why when one of these accidents is caused by the negligence of another, it’s imperative that accountability is found, and compensation is recovered.
But in order to position yourself for a successful personal injury lawsuit, you have to be prepared to counter the other side’s defenses. In the truck accident context, this means not only looking at the individual trucker’s defense, but also the defense strategies that might be used by the truck company.
Truck company defenses to vicarious liability
Truck companies will do everything they can to escape liability for a truck accident. This typically means trying to shift the blame onto someone else. Here’s how they go about doing that:
- Contributory negligence: Perhaps the strongest defense that a trucking company has is contributory negligence. In North Carolina, you can be barred from recovering compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if you are found to have contributed to the accident in any way. This leaves the door wide open for a truck company to argue that you acted in a way that played a part in the accident, even if that’s something as minor as following too closely. So, before you pursue your truck accident claim, make sure that you’re assessing your own driving behavior at the time of the wreck so that you can be prepared to defend yourself from claims of contributory negligence.
- Frolic: The reason you’re able to hold a truck company liable for the actions of its employee is because the employee is acting for the benefit of the truck company at the time of the accident. But the truck company may argue that the trucker in question was not acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident. If the trucker is found to have been engaging in frolic, such as by running a personal errand, at the time of the truck accident, then the truck company may escape liability.
- Third-party negligence: If the above strategies seem insufficient to a truck company, then it’ll look for any other third-party to blame for the accident. This often includes other motorists who may not even be a party to your case. For this reason, it’s important that you scrutinize your accident and determine if there’s any other party that you need to include in your claim. Only then can you ensure that you’re doing everything you can to ensure that all parties responsible are held accountable.
Don’t let truck companies push you around
In many truck accident cases, truck companies throw their weight around to escape liability or minimize it as much as possible. But don’t be daunted by them. You have the upper hand in your case and can diligently work to build the compelling case that you need to protect your interests. You’ll have to be thorough and anticipatory, but we’re confident that you can develop the aggressive legal strategy that you need to appropriately present your case. If you feel like you could benefit from some guidance in this arena, then we encourage you to read up on the topic and reach out for the support that you need.