You were in a wreck with a commercial vehicle. It seems obvious to you that the driver was stressed, rushing to meet their delivery times and not paying attention to the road. They’re clearly at fault, so you expect the trucking company to step up and take the blame.
You’d better not count on it. After a wreck, trucking companies have been known to take extraordinary steps to avoid liability.
What tactics do trucking companies and their insurers use to avoid blame?
Some of the most common tactics you’ll see from a trucking company that wants to avoid paying a big injury claim include:
- Destroying paper trails. Everything from log sheets to text messages from the boss can contain proof that a trucking company was pushing a trucker beyond their limits or otherwise disregarding safety rules. Companies sometimes try to make that evidence “disappear” as fast as possible following a wreck.
- Repairing or junking the truck. The truck itself can be proof of liability, especially when faulty maintenance is partially or wholly behind the wreck. Unless a company is barred from repairing or destroying the vehicle, however, all that evidence can be lost.
- Denying the trucker was their employee. Employers generally have liability for any injuries their employees cause — but it’s not beyond a trucking company to suddenly claim that a driver was merely an “independent contractor” over whom they had no real control.
- Blaming the victim for their injuries. Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means any compensation you are due can be reduced by your “share” of the blame. If you’re 50% or more at fault for a wreck, you can’t collect any damages. That gives the trucking company lots of incentive to pin the blame on you.
Because trucking companies can be very aggressive about avoiding liability for accidents, you need aggressive representation to protect your interests. If you’ve been hurt in a wreck with a truck, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance.