The insurance companies of defendants in a commercial truck accident case could use any possible defense to avoid paying a claim. This is standard procedure for insurers in all vehicle wrecks, but it’s even more predictable in a truck crash. Due to the differences in size and weight between a passenger car and a tractor-trailer, the occupants of the smaller car are likely to suffer catastrophic injuries or death in an accident between the two. The resulting damage claim for medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering could be astronomically expensive for the insurer.
If you’re lucky enough to survive a truck-car crash, you’re apt to have severe injuries requiring surgery and other expensive treatments that prevent you from working for months or for life. Long-term disability care might be required, and there could be a wrongful death suit if you’ve lost a loved one in a truck crash. The insurer’s objective is to make a profit, not to lose money by paying costly claims, so it might raise any defense it can to deprive you of fair compensation. The truck accident attorneys at the Derrick Law Firm are accustomed to dealing with insurers and will work to counter the defenses discussed below.
Possible Myrtle Beach South Carolina Semi-Truck Accident Defenses
In a truck accident case, more than one defendant might bear responsibility for your damages. You could have claims against the trucker, the trucking company, a manufacturer, loading dock workers, or even a government agency if road conditions or signage issues played a role in your crash. While most vehicle accident cases are settled out of court, you always have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against one or more of these parties if a fair settlement is not offered by the insurer. When a suit is filed, an insurer’s attorneys might raise one or more of the following defenses in order to deny or reduce the defendant’s responsibility.
In personal injury cases, South Carolina follows a modified comparative fault rule. This means that you may recover damages even if you’re found partially responsible for your accident. Your award will simply be reduced according to your percentage of fault as long as you’re no more than 50% liable for the crash. If you’re found 51% or more responsible, however, you collect no damages at all, so it’s very important to have a truck accident lawyer who can investigate your wreck thoroughly to prove you were less than half at fault.
The insurance company will attempt to obtain your medical records to find out if you had a preexisting medical condition before your accident. If you did, the insurer will try to defend itself by claiming your current injuries are the result of that condition, not the result of your truck accident. The truck crash lawyers at Derrick Law Firm will be ready for this defense and prepared to counter it by presenting your medical evidence and calling in expert medical witnesses to prove you were injured in the truck crash if necessary.
Failure to Mitigate Damages
If you’re injured by another party, the law requires you to mitigate damages. This means you’re expected to seek medical attention as soon as possible, follow your physician’s treatment plan carefully, do nothing to aggravate your injuries and accept only necessary treatments. The insurer might claim that you did not properly mitigate damages because you wanted your injuries to worsen and lead to a larger claim. An attorney can help you prove that you did mitigate to the best of your ability.
If there were more than two vehicles involved in your accident, the trucker or trucking company might allege that a third party was primarily responsible for the crash. Again, your truck accident lawyer can investigate the wreck and obtain data from the truck’s onboard recording devices to prove who was at fault and is liable for damages.
Truck Accident Statute of Limitations In South Carolina
South Carolina generally gives you three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. This may seem like a long time, but the wheels of justice can turn very slowly, and the attorneys of an insurer can employ delay tactics to drag out your settlement negotiations for a long time, hoping the statute will run before you file a suit. Your truck accident lawyer can make sure you observe the statute of limitations and all other procedural requirements of the court.