A truck vs. car collision is a tragedy. People can, and often do, lose their lives and loved ones to negligent truckers and their companies. Even worse, many of these trucking companies go out of their way to make sure that the people they victimized get as little compensation as possible. Knowing the most common tricks used by these companies can help you fight back and get the settlement that you deserve.
Trucking Companies and Profits
Trucking companies have an incredible responsibility on their shoulders. They transport a large majority of the goods in this country, from groceries to lumber to dangerous chemicals. Without trucking companies, America’s economy would stall. However, trucking companies also carry the responsibility of keeping others on the roads safe. Semi-trucks are massive, often weighing in at over 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. This means that they can cause extreme damage when driven irresponsibly.
Considering the danger that trucks and truck drivers can pose, you may assume that trucking companies do everything they can to protect those on the road, and when something does go wrong, offer to do everything they can to make up for it. Sadly, this just isn’t the case. When there is a truck accident, which is by no means uncommon, the company responsible rarely steps forward to offer compensation. The less money it can give you, the more it gets to keep for itself. The truth is, high settlements hurt a company’s bottom line, and so management does everything possible to pay you as little as possible.
One of the key pieces of evidence for your claim would be the truck that caused the collision. The truck may have dents, missing paint, or other pieces of physical evidence that can be examined by an accident recreationist in order to determine exactly how the collision happened. This kind of proof can work strongly in your favor, showing that the truck driver was responsible for the accident. However, many trucking companies will quickly have the truck towed back to the facility, where repairs will be made. Once the truck is once again in working order, they will send it back on the road with a new driver, essentially stealing valuable evidence from you and your case. While the truck is not key to receiving compensation, losing out on a proper inspection could still hurt your chances at a high settlement.
Holding Black Boxes
A truck’s black box records important data, such as how fast the truck was moving, where the truck collided with another vehicle, and whether the driver hit the brakes or not. Every modern truck comes with a black box, and these devices are often key evidence in truck accident claims. However, they do not hold their data forever. Some erase their data in a couple weeks, while others do it in just ten minutes. Trucking companies are fully aware of this, and often attempt to hold on to black boxes until they know that the data has been automatically wiped, leaving you without crucial evidence.
If stripping away evidence doesn’t work, then the trucking company will go after you directly. They will try to shift the blame from their driver to you, saying that you weren’t following traffic laws. They may try to claim you were speeding, or in their driver’s blind spot, or merging without signaling. This is an incredibly common tactic to lessen settlement amounts, or get out of paying altogether.
Colorado is a comparative negligence state, which means so long as you are less than 50% responsible for the accident you can still recover damages; however, your compensation will be decreased by the percentage that you are found to be at fault. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault, and are awarded $100,000, then you will only be given $80,000. This means that even if the trucking company can only pin some of the blame on you, they can still limit how much they have to pay you. However, it is important to remember that comparative negligence works more in your favor than theirs. If they try to convince you that you won’t get any compensation because you were somewhat at fault, keep in mind that so long as you were less than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still recover some compensation.
What You Can Do
Considering how aggressive trucking companies can be, you may be wondering what you can do to make sure you get the compensation you are owed. How does one person go up against a massive corporation? Well, the truth is fighting a trucking company on your own is incredibly difficult, if not impossible. That is why you should work with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Our team at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, has years of experiencing fighting the dirty tactics of trucking companies and can help you get the compensation you need. For the support you deserve, call us at (303) 665-2929 today. We have offices in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins.