Negligent drivers who cause injurious car and truck accident should be held accountable. If you’ve been injured in one of these wrecks, then the onus is on you to impose liability and prove your damages. That may be a difficult task, but even successfully suing a negligent driver may not lead to a full enough of a recovery. That’s why you have to consider other options, such as filing a claim against the driver’s employer.
How you can hold truck companies accountable
As we’ve discussed previously on this blog, a truck company can be held accountable for the actions of its employees through the legal theory of vicarious liability. In essence, you have to show that the trucker was on the clock and performing his or her job duties when the accident occurred in order to succeed on one of these claims.
But, if you’re going to pursue vicarious liability, then you need to be prepared to counter the truck company’s defenses. If you don’t, then your recovery could be at risk. With that in mind, let’s look at some of those defenses:
- Contributory negligence: Maryland is one of the few states in the country that still recognizes contributory negligence. Here, a plaintiff’s recovery can be barred entirely if he or she is found to be partially at fault. With the law taking such a hard line, it’s no wonder why truck companies often turn to this line of defense first. So, be prepared to defend your driving actions and think about how you can paint a picture of the accident in a way that shows that you acted appropriately.
- Frolic and detour: Truck companies often try to escape liability by shifting the blame back on the trucker who caused the accident. Here, the truck company typically argues that the trucker was performing duties that didn’t benefit the employer when the wreck occurred, such as taking a detour to see a historical marker or making a stop for his or her own leisure. To counter this argument, you’ll want to assess trucking logs and think about deposing the trucker to get a clear sense of what he or she was doing at the time of the accident.
- Road hazards: Sometimes defendants in these cases try to argue that no one should be found liable for the accident because the wreck was simply unavoidable. This is oftentimes seen in instances of bad weather or when there was some hazard in the roadway that caused the trucker to swerve or slam on the brakes. Again, you’ll want to carefully analyze the trucker’s actions at that time to see if he or she truly acted appropriately under the circumstances.
These are just a few of the defense strategies that you’ll need to be prepared for. Keep in mind, too, that the truck company may mount aggressive defense tactics pertaining to your damages. Your medical expert’s credibility may be attacked, and your pain and suffering minimized. So, make sure that you’re diligent in gathering and presenting the evidence that you need to show the full extent of your damages.
Do you need an advocate on your side?
Truck accident cases can be highly contentious given that the damages involved are usually quite extensive. And you can’t leave your case to chance. That’s why it may be in your best interests to work closely with a legal professional who knows how to build these kinds of cases and has a track record of success.