Comparative Fault in a Truck Accident Case
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How Defense Attorneys Will Often Attempt to Exploit the Concept of Comparative Responsibility Following a Commercial Truck Accident
Truck drivers are a major source of accidents, but did you know that if you fail to take proper evasive action, you too can be deemed at least partially at fault? Today, we at Grossman Law Offices would like to clarify this issue, discussing precisely how the truck drivers’ bosses, the trucking companies, would exploit comparative fault to try to devastate your case.
When an injured motorist is found to have contributed at least somewhat to his or her accident, our civil system and jury members are not shy about holding that person accountable. Naturally, the trucking companies – eager to shift blame elsewhere – are more than happy to target you. Let us prepare you on what all this means, as well as what they will do to take advantage of you, and winning this case should become much more likely.
Understanding the Defense’s Use of Comparative Fault Law
In the State of Texas, there is a common legal doctrine known as “modified comparative fault.” Essentially, this is when your financial compensation is reduced on account of your contributions to the accident occurring. This could very well likely show up in a San Antonio 18-wheeler accident claim like your own, where the trucking company would be more than happy to stick the blame on you as much as possible. They know that every possible reduction in their overall debt to you is a victory, and that if the jury somehow found you more than halfway liable for what transpired, you will not receive a single dime. For instance, if you launch legal action against a trucking company, attempt to sue for $1,000,000 worth of personal injury or wrongful death claim damages (the equivalent of a typical 18-wheeler policy), and are deemed 10% liable, you will only get $900,000. On the other hand, if you were to be found 51% liable in the aforementioned example, you would not recover anything, having been found more at fault than the defendant.
Should it be the case that there are multiple defendants instead of one, liability could be held by only one party, or divided between them all so that those with the most liability hold the greatest percentage of due damages to you. Returning to the above example, if one party was determined to be more than halfway at fault (at least 51%), then it would be held liable for all of the damages owed to you. However, if this same party is found to be less than 51% liable, said party would only be held liable for the determined percentage of liability. This becomes complex in a particularly chaotic accident: a trucking company, for example, could simultaneously blame its outsourced cargo loading company, a fuel tank manufacturer, and you, the driver. Thus, it is imperative that you recognize how under Texas law, you can recover from multiple people. The trucking company may win in shouldering some of the burden elsewhere, but your end goal is the pursuits of justice and compensation – two things we at Grossman Law Offices are here to do on your behalf.
The above encapsulates comparative fault, yet it is also important to note that it has certain checks. One standard, known as the last clear chance doctrine, is the idea that plaintiff and defendant alike can alleviate the burden of liability upon proving that the other party had an opportunity to escape the injury, but avoided doing so. This can only work if the issuing party was considered at least 51% responsible, but it is still common enough to have serious implications. Whereas you might claim that the defendant’s employee, the trucker, avoided his last clear chance to escape hitting you, they could turn this right back around, attempting to claim that your failure to avoid this catastrophic accident is reason alone to mitigate the judgment. While this argument does not always hold weight, you as a driver of passenger car have certain duties of care. If you did not fail these duties, however, and the defense is merely giving you a hard time, you can be sure that Grossman Law Offices will dissect such an argument and display for the jury its falsity.
How You Can Fight Back
One way to lessen or outright eliminate comparative fault used against you is to obtain hard evidence to back your claim up in front of the jury. This can be done through a variety of investigative techniques: the hiring of accident reconstructionists; the recording of expert witness testimony; and obtaining all of the hard, physical proof your attorneys can muster. In all cases like these, which involve preponderance of evidence (or “whoever is most likely correct wins”), a strong word in your favor, or a reasonable reconstruction of the incident can quickly dispel any claims that you were at fault, clear your good name, and assure that you get full and fair compensation.
But when the trucking company goes after you, and we at Grossman Law Offices are your representatives, all bets are off. We will not tolerate any practices that would be used to deceive the jury into believing that you are more at fault than you really were, and especially any meant to trick them into thinking you were the primary trigger of the accident. Our attorneys are firm advocates on behalf of their clients, and have been for the past 2 decades years.
Call on our Law Offices
If you need to learn more about the workings of comparative fault law, are still not sure of how it functions, or simply want to begin your suit today, our staff would be happy to work with you towards whatever personal injury or wrongful death claim goals you have. Call us, and begin your path to compensation and justice with a toll-free consultation. Or visit this website @ http://thesnowlawfirm.com/