4 Common Defenses to Truck Accident Lawsuits

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Truck Accident Lawsuit Defenses Our Washington Personal Injury Attorney Thinks You Should Know

When you file an injury claim or lawsuit against a trucking company and its insurance company, they have multiple reasons to resist as possible. The fleet company could even find its ability to remain in business in jeopardy because of the possibility of a nuclear verdict—a term that relates to a settlement that’s higher than expected. 

You should be prepared for a pitched battle, as the at-fault parties may offer a number of defenses to try to minimize liability—or avoid responsibility altogether. At Max Meyers Law, we have an extensive track record of delivering results for clients, including a multi-million dollar settlement in a truck accident wrongful death case. Trust us to diligently fight for the justice and compensation you and your family deserve and provide the evidence that disproves the following defenses. 

1. Defendant May Say You Haven’t Proven Your Case

Truck accident cases are rarely straightforward or easy. In some cases, the defendant may be more willing to settle, especially when they realize the full extent of their liability. However, insurance and trucking companies may only admit liability as a last resort. Before they reach that point, they will do anything within their own power to undermine your case. 

In a truck accident case, negligence means that the defendant did something that would be considered unreasonable under the circumstances. Defendants might include, but aren’t limited to: 

  • The semi-truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • A maintenance crew
  • The cargo shipping company
  • A vehicle parts manufacturer
  • A truck manufacturer

In every personal injury case, you must show that it was the defendant’s wrongful actions that were the proximate cause of your injuries. But even though you were wronged, you must demonstrate through a preponderance of the evidence the negligence that caused the collision. You have no legal right to compensation if you don’t have the required evidence.  

At Max Meyers Law, we investigate the accident and help build your case with solid proof of liability using evidence such as: stacks-of-evidence-folders

  • Crash scene photos
  • The police report
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Trucker dashcam footage, phone records, and driving records
  • Fleet company maintenance records, safety procedures, and violations history
  • Accident reconstruction experts
  • Your medical records

These facts establish critical components of a personal injury claim:

  1. The semi-truck driver and other defendants owed you a duty of care.
  2. The trucker or other defendants acted negligently.
  3. You were injured.
  4. The defendants’ negligence caused your injuries.
  5. The court can award damages for your injuries.

2. You Could Be Blamed for the Truck Accident

Washington uses a pure comparative negligence system for truck accident fault. This means if it’s determined that you’re partially responsible, your compensation would be reduced by the percentage of fault that you bear for the accident. As an example, if you’re found to be 25 percent at fault for the collision and suffered $25,000 in economic and non-economic damages, your settlement amount would be $18,750, not the full amount. 

Thus, the defendant has a financial incentive to try to blame you for the accident to the fullest extent possible, and state that you caused some or all of your related injuries by doing the following:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to wear a seat belt
  • Illegal turns
  • Failure to check blind spots when changing lanes

3. Your Injuries Could Be Challenged

The defendant may also seek to minimize and understate the extent of your injuries to pay you less. Your compensation is directly tied to your physical and emotional suffering and its impact. Even when you present strong evidence of your injuries, you should prepare to defend yourself when they’re challenged. 

Further, trucking company attorneys and insurance adjusters may try to use your own words against you at some point. They may have tried to contact you and get on the record. If you didn’t have an attorney at the time, you may have even spoken to them (which is always a huge mistake). All too often, what you say might be taken out of context and used against your case. 

4. The Use of Affirmative Defenses

A trucking company may also use the following affirmative defenses in response to your lawsuit:

  • Someone else was at fault for the accident
  • You missed the statute of limitations
  • You failed to mitigate or reduce your damages 

Defendants have the burden of proof to establish any of these to avoid taking responsibility for the crash. In turn, our legal team could present evidence that disputes their affirmative defense, and the jury may side with you. 

Presenting a Washington Truck Accident Case in Court

It’s critical to hire a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. 

  • First, your lawyer protects your legal rights. Our presence and shared knowledge help you avoid mistakes that may allow the defendants to weaken and undermine your case. 
  • Second, we work on building your case with a strong basis for financial recovery. The power of your case, along with the extent of your damages, determine how much you may be able to receive in a settlement or jury award. 

Remember: trucking and insurance companies don’t get the final say when it comes to any determination of fault, regardless of the defenses they present. Only a jury can conclusively determine who was to blame for the accident. If an insurer insists on blaming you or doesn’t intend to fully compensate for your pain and suffering, property damage, medical bills, and other related expenses, you have every right to take your pursuit of justice to the next level. 

Here’s what you need to know about the pros and cons of truck accident court cases. Our team is dedicated to seeing cases to their optimal outcome and keeping our clients educated, aware, and informed every step of the way.

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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.