What If I am Partly to Blame for the Trucking Accident?

What If I am Partly to Blame for the Trucking Accident?

When you have suffered an injury in a truck accident, your hope and goal is to maximize the financial compensation you are entitled to. The insurance company aims to pay you as little as possible for your claim and will do whatever is in its power to cut the amount of money it owes you. If you are not careful, the insurance company's tactics can cost you significant money and even eliminate your ability to receive financial compensation.

Hiring a truck accident lawyer to represent you in your case is crucial. You must make this call at your first opportunity because insurance companies will get to work immediately, trying to compromise your case strategically. When you hire a truck accident attorney, you gain a fighter unafraid to take on the insurance company on your behalf at every step.

You do not have to pay an attorney upfront and will not be responsible for hourly bills. You only pay if you win under the contingency law system.

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Proving Negligence in a Truck Accident Case

A young man with a beard is a professional truck driver who owns a small business in transportation, specializing in long-haul transport. He personally handles driving and delivering goods to warehouses and various destinations.

In any truck accident case, you may be entitled to financial compensation when you prove that the truck driver (or the trucking company) was negligent. For purposes of your case, negligence means the following:

  • The truck driver owed you the duty of care
  • They did something unreasonable under the circumstances
  • You suffered an injury
  • You would not have suffered an injury had it not been for the actions of the truck driver

Proving Negligence is Not Always as Simple as You Think

Proving the above elements of negligence in a truck accident might seem simple enough, but it can be a much more complex process than you expect. It requires gathering and analyzing evidence to establish each element. While it may seem straightforward, there are several things that can complicate the matter.

Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care. In a truck accident, this might involve the driver's violation of traffic laws, improper maintenance of the truck, or even negligence on the part of the trucking company. Identifying these factors and proving them in court can be challenging.

Truck accident cases often involve multiple parties. This means that liability may not solely rest on the driver's shoulders. The trucking company, freight company, and even the manufacturer of the truck or its parts may also share responsibility. Determining who is at fault and to what extent can require extensive investigation and legal experience of your truck accident lawyer..

Insurance companies will try to shift blame onto the victim. They may question your actions and say you were also negligent. Do not let them falsely accuse you of being partly to blame. Talk to a truck accident attorney who can decide whether you were actually to blame or not.

Your Actions Can Break the Chain of Causation

How does the insurance company typically blame you? It often has to do with the fourth element of negligence called causation, where the truck driver must have been the proximate cause of your accident. There is also something called the chain of causation, meaning if you did something wrong yourself, the truck driver's actions may not have been the entire cause of your accident.

Sometimes, your actions may have contributed to the truck accident. However, it does not change the fact that the truck driver may have also done something to cause the collision.

How the Insurance Company Can Blame You for the Truck Accident

Trucks are being loaded at a forwarding agency's depot, showcasing the intricate operations of transport and logistics in the goods trade.

The insurance company might say you were partly to blame for the accident (or the injuries that you suffered from the accident) because you did the following, among other things:

  • Not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident
  • Speeding
  • Not being entirely focused on the road 
  • Failure to maintain your car
  • Not stopping in time to avoid the accident

While the law is seemingly unfair, it may also be unjust to make the trucking companies pay for all the damages you have suffered if they were not entirely to blame for the accident. The law will often apportion blame between plaintiffs and defendants. Several defendants may be partially to blame for the accident, while you can bear some legal responsibility.

Partial Fault Is Not Always a Complete Bar to Financial Compensation

There might be times when a victim did contribute a small amount to an accident. You can still receive financial compensation for the truck accident, even if you were partly to blame. Everything depends on where you live and what law your state uses. Some states will allow a plaintiff to receive something so long as they are less than 100 percent to blame for the accident, whereas other states may keep you from getting any money if you even bear a portion of the fault. Finally, certain states may allow you to recover money (reduced by the amount you were to blame for the accident), so long as you were less than 50 percent to blame for the accident.

Even a Small Reduction in Your Settlement Check Can Cost You Dearly

After the accident, the insurance companies may make you a settlement offer. If they believe that you were partly to blame for the accident, that settlement offer may be lower, or you may not even get an offer. They will review the evidence your attorney submits and investigate the accident to determine who bears the proportion of the fault in your case.

Any reduction in your compensation represents real money that pays for damages you have suffered, and you may not have the funds to cover medical expenses. Determining whether you were partly to blame for the accident is critical to your financial future. Based on the severity of your injuries, your truck accident settlement may be your last chance to earn any money. Anything you lose is more than just a rounding error; it is real money you may need and otherwise deserve.

The Insurance Company May Play Up Your Role in the Accident

On the chart sheet, the phrase could be: "Navigating the Road of Financial Security: Exploring Truck Insurance".

If you were partly to blame for the truck accident, you can fully expect the insurance companies to overstate your role in the crash. They know that the laws of your state may allow them to reduce your compensation by the amount that you were at fault, so they look for reasons to blame you. They understand they may avoid paying you anything based on the state's laws where you file the claim.

Insurance companies have every reason and motivation to try to find some way to point the finger at you for the truck accident. They know full well that they can owe you up to the policy maximum if their trucking company policyholder was to blame for the accident. The law incentivizes them to look very closely at your actions in the events surrounding the accident.

Your Truck Accident Lawyer Is Here to Defend You

Thus, your truck accident lawyer's role can be as much about defending you from any allegations the insurance or trucking company makes against you. As unfair as it may seem, a lawyer may need to justify your actions when you believe the spotlight should be on what the truck driver and the trucking company did. Your lawyer may call witnesses because vindicating you of wrongful allegations is crucial in your truck accident case. They can use pictures from the accident scene and may even seek data from the truck's electronic data recorder during the discovery.

The Insurance Company is Not the Judge and Jury

Insurance companies do not get the final say over your truck accident case, and as much as they like portraying themselves as an authority, they have none. Their role is to represent and defend their trucking company policyholder. Insurance companies step into the shoes of the trucking company, and they often become the defendant in your case.

You sit across the table from the insurance companies, seeking to maximize your compensation for your legal rights. They try to make your claim disappear for as little as possible because they have financial motivations. However, you are not beneath them on any pyramid, nor do they have power over you.

The Jury Is the Finder of Fact in Your Case

A female lawyer pleading case of truck accident to jury in the court.

Thus, the insurance company's determination is not necessarily final and binding. If you disagree, you do not have to continue to pursue the claims process and are under no obligation to settle your case. You will only reach a settlement agreement if the insurance companies are fair and reasonable, and if they are not, you can pursue your case in court.

If you have already filed a lawsuit, you will continue to trial, where the jury will determine who is liable for the accident and whether you bear any portion of the fault. If you have filed a claim, you can take your case to court by submitting a lawsuit against the trucking company. The insurance company will then become the defendant in your case, representing the trucking company in the legal process.

The jury's role is to find facts in your case and will hear the evidence from both sides. They will determine who was at fault, and they may assign a proportion of blame to each party. Once the jury makes that determination, the percentage of blame you get may be far less or nonexistent, and the insurance company's tactics can backfire. However, you risk getting nothing if the jury rules against you. An attorney will review your case and advise you of the best possible strategy for your legal situation.

The Insurance Company Is Often Taking a Risk By Trying to Blame You

In reality, insurance companies play a dangerous game if they wrongfully try to blame you for any role you may have played in the crash. If a jury decides your case, their trucking company policyholder can be on the wrong end of a massive verdict, especially when the jury slaps them with punitive damages. The trucking company can even sue the insurance company for bad faith when it has an opportunity to settle the case but does not. In any event, the jury can award you far more money than the insurance company may have given you in a settlement.

You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer Right After the Accident

The potential for the insurance company to blame you is one reason why you need to hire an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Insurance companies may contact you directly to get you talking. If you do not have an attorney, there is nothing to stop them from trying to get a statement from you or tricking you into saying something that will undercut your case. Any minute you do not have an attorney represents a significant danger because once you have said something to the insurance companies, it is hard to take it back. They will take it as an admission that they will use against you in any way they can.

When you hire a truck accident lawyer, you will direct the insurance companies to your lawyer if they attempt to make contact. This way, they must go through your lawyer to get to you.

If you think that money is standing between you and the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer, you can think again. No truck accident lawyer will ask you to pay them before you hire them or during your case. Truck accident legal representation is on a contingency basis, meaning you only have to pay your attorney once you win your case, either in court or through a settlement agreement. Then, they receive payment from the proceeds of your case. Thus, there are no barriers between you and legal help right after your truck accident.

Your personal injury lawyer gets the same percentage of your proceeds, regardless of when you hire them. Therefore, you can get maximum help by promptly hiring a lawyer.

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James Wayne Holliday Author Image

James Wayne Holliday

James Wayne Holliday has been practicing law since 1995. He has been named as a “Best Attorney” Lifetime Charter Member in Florida, an honor awarded to less than one percent of the nation’s lawyers.

Mr. Holliday has earned a reputation as a relentless trial lawyer because of his outstanding work ethic and thorough preparation of his cases for trial.

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