How trucking companies make victim’s or their family members look bad, and why that impacts your case:
Trucking companies who cause truck accidents love nothing more than to try to portray good families as dysfunctional to lower the jury’s opinion of the case. If you’ve been in a trucking accident, the aftermath can be difficult to deal with and even harder to understand. During your recovery, you may not even realize that there are things that need to be done to make sure that the trucking company responsible for your injuries is brought to justice. In a trucking accident claim – especially ones that result in fatalities – the amount of damages recovered can potentially be a high sum and the trucking company, their lawyers, and their insurance companies will go to great lengths to defend against your claim.
One of the more underhanded tactics that trucking companies use is trying to turn the jury against you by misrepresenting your character or relationship with a loved one. This is an attempt to devalue your claim. In essence, they are arguing that, in a personal injury case, you, the victim, are a bad person. Or, in a wrongful death case, that your relationship wasn’t strong with the victim so you didn’t lose as much in the accident as you would’ve if you were in a close relationship.
Questions Answered in This Article:
- Why would a trucking company attack the character of an accident victim?
- How does this happen?
- What can I do to make sure family issues don’t hurt my case?
How Truck Company Defense Lawyers Devalue Your Claim
The trucking company will fabricate issues to make you seem less likable to the jury. The specific tactic used varies between injury and wrongful death claims.
When a trucking company is involved in an injury claim, it’s common for them to try to uncover whatever kind of dirt on the victim that might be helpful to them in the case. For instance, if you’re had past tickets for speeding or other traffic accidents, they might argue that you’re already displaying a level of reckless driving. If they can convince a jury that you have a history of driving irresponsibly a jury might not make the trucking company award the same amount for your injuries, because the jury may secretly believe that you contributed to your own accident.
Another situation we see often, is if the victim has had prior injuries, the trucking company could argue that the victim is a greedy person and out to get as much money as possible. If they can shift the focus away from the alleged fault of their driver that can only save them money at the end of the day.
Trucking companies spend a lot of effort trying to find any kind of evidence that surviving family members were not on good terms with their now-deceased relatives. That’s because this claim depends on how much you’ve suffered, and your case can be devalued if that relationship with the victim was strained or there was discord in the family.
Even when it might seem obvious that the trucking company and its negligent driver are responsible for your injuries, the trucking company will have its lawyers do almost anything to make sure your claim is not honored. They will exploit any personal family issues such as:
- marital discord
- an estrangement between family members
- even a period of non-communication between the deceased victim and their children
The logic that the trucking company’s lawyers try to apply to a claim is that if the victim did not have a perfect relationship with the family, that this fact somehow diminishes the loss the family has suffered. Sometimes there really is something to their arguments, but they often overstate the issue. But moreover, they take very small normal family issues and completely pervert it into some tale of Shakespearean family drama.
How our attorneys defeat their underhanded tactics.
In an injury claim, you’ll be provided an opportunity to explain your side of the story to the jury. If anything has been misrepresented or taken out of context, you can set the record straight. If the trucking company is reaching too far, we can ask the judge to strike that information from the record because it is overly prejudicial.
In a wrongful death claim, they are arguing that the family members didn’t like each other, there was discord. There are many ways that our attorneys can help you demonstrate the closeness and depth of the family ties to the loved one you lost, even if at the time of the loss things were not at their best between you. We can help illustrate that the negligence of the trucking company’s driver has robbed you of ever having the opportunity to repair the rift or make amends with your deceased loved one. This can be illustrated through family photos, mementos, and even social media. We will explore all options available to us to illustrate the depth of your loss and the validity of your claim.
For example, we had a case where an 18-year-old girl was killed by an 18-wheeler when the truck ran he over as she walked along the sidewalk. Her mother hired us to pursue a claim. The mother and her daughter were incredibly close. The mother was devastated at the loss. Her ex-husband had it out for her and he talked to the trucking company and told them stories to make them think less of her as a mom. But we were able to show evidence of birthday cards and text messages between the mother and daughter. Additionally we had Facebook chats and other evidence that the relationship was strong between the two. So, we were able to demonstrate that the ex-husband was just trying to create trouble. Our response put our client in the best possible position to have a successful claim despite this defense.How Trucking Company Investigators Conduct Surveillance on Accident Victims Read More >
Even in situations where the surviving spouse and the deceased victim were not legally married, strong arguments allow the surviving spouse to make the wrongful death claim. In many jurisdictions, the right to sue on a wrongful death claim is only available to the legally married spouse and biological relatives of the deceased victim. However, courts have started to recognize the validity of a wrongful death claim by the survivor in a common law marriage. The courts have begun to recognize the reality of the society we live in even if the law on the books has not yet.
For example, in one case the surviving common law spouse of a deceased victim killed in a trucking accident brought a wrongful death claim against the trucking company. Even though she and the victim had lived together for over 17 years, had four biological children together who bore the deceased victim’s last name, the deceased victim was the sole income of the household and the surviving spouse was a homemaker, the trucking company’s defense attorneys tried to argue that because the couple was not legally married according to the statute she had no right to make the claim for the wrongful death action. The judge disagreed with the trucking company’s lawyers and the case was able to proceed.
Give us a call.
We will interview family, friends, co-workers, and anyone else we have to, with the ultimate goal of illustrating the strength of your claim for you and your family. Obviously you cannot put a dollar value on a human life but we will not allow the trucking company and their lawyers to devalue your wrongful death claim. You have lost a loved one and that tragedy demands recognition and respect. Do not deal with this alone. Contact our lawyers at (855) 326-0000, so we can fight for you and your loved one who can no longer fight for themselves.
Here Are Some Additional Articles Covering Other Defenses Used by Trucking Companies:
- Defense Argument – The Victim was Intoxicated
- Defense Argument – The Victim was Elderly or Ill Already
- Defense Argument – Road Conditions Caused the Accident
- Defense Argument – Another Vehicle is Really to Blame
- Defense Argument – The Victim is Partially Responsible
- Defense Argument – Using Social Media to Discredit Personal Injury Case