How Insurance Companies Devalue or Deny Valid Truck Accident ClaimsGet a Free Consultation
If you get injured or tragically lose a loved one in a truck accident in Florida, an insurance claim can help you move forward. Unfortunately, your efforts to recover financial compensation may be hindered by a trucking company and its legal team. Be prepared for one or more defenses to be raised to your liability claim – and fight back with help from an experienced Tampa truck accident attorney.
Liability disputes are common during truck accident claims – especially cases involving catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. The dangerous nature of the trucking industry means that companies have systems in place to aggressively dispute liability when collisions occur. Trucking companies typically have impressive legal teams and major insurance corporations to protect them from liability for truck accidents. These adversaries may try to shift the blame to other parties, including the victim, another driver, a cargo company, a maintenance crew or a truck manufacturer. Liability disputes can lengthen the amount of time it takes to resolve your claim and potentially interfere with your financial recovery.
Blaming the Victim
Florida has a law known as the comparative fault doctrine that trucking companies may use to reduce their percentage of liability for a truck accident. They may argue that the evidence shows that you – the injured person filing a claim – were at fault for the truck accident. If this defense succeeds even in part, the value of your settlement will be reduced by an equivalent amount.
If you are allocated 15 percent of fault for the collision, for example, this would reduce your payout by a matching 15 percent. Since Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, no amount of fault will bar you from making a financial recovery entirely. You could be found 99 percent responsible for the wreck and still recover 1 percent compensation. Arguing against this defense, however, can help you maximize your payout.
Bringing Up Pre-Existing Injuries
Trucking companies will often delve into a crash victim’s medical history to search for pre-existing injuries or conditions that could be used to fight liability for current injuries. The truck company may allege that you already had the injury you are claiming prior to your accident. If you did have a pre-existing condition, a lawyer can help you prove that the truck accident exacerbated or worsened the injury to preserve your right to receive compensation.
A pre-existing injury will not bar you from compensation after a truck accident under the Eggshell Skull Doctrine. This legal rule states that a defendant is responsible for taking a plaintiff as-is at the time of an accident, even if the plaintiff is more prone to injury than the average person due to a pre-existing condition. Your lawyer can help you establish using medical evidence that your pre-existing injury was exacerbated by the truck accident to combat this defense.
Using Procedural Problems Against You
To have a valid truck accident claim in Florida, you must abide by many rules and regulations for bringing a legal action. This includes filing your claim by Florida’s personal injury statute of limitations, which is four years from the date of the crash in most cases. If you skip any steps, make mistakes on your paperwork or break procedural rules, a trucking company can use this against you to argue that you are no longer eligible for financial compensation.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney
Going up against a trucking company alone after a serious truck accident in Florida could hurt your chances of obtaining fair compensation. Insurance companies can use aggressive tactics that are designed to minimize your payout. The best way to protect yourself is by hiring an attorney to level the playing field. An attorney will have legal resources, staff and aggressive techniques to preserve your rights and combat any defense raised during your claim. Contact Vanguard Attorneys for a free case consultation with a truck accident today to find out how we can help.