How trucking companies use a victim’s age or health conditions to devalue their claim:
Another defense strategy we’ve seen trucking companies use in wrongful death cases is to make an argument that since the victim was old or sickly, their death isn’t that big of a deal. As you can see, they will try everything to lessen or outright negate your pursuit of financial compensation.
Questions Answered in This Article
- How does this defense work?
- Why does a victim’s age or pre-existing health conditions matter in a truck accident case?
- How is this defense defeated?
How does this defense work?
As we alluded to earlier, one common yet consistently flawed message from the defense is that you or your loved one’s poor physical condition was due to a previously-existing condition, such as a terminal illness or old age.
- A particularly common example of this is the trucking company and/or insurance provider stating that, because a plaintiff was afflicted with cancer, the normal logic of proving damages does not apply. Rather, they propose that the claimant ought to be viewed as either less able to benefit from, or less deserving of damages that would be awarded to a previously healthy person. So for example, if you or your lost loved one has or had stage four cancer, then they will claim that this condition “negates” the regular extent of damages.
A Case We Handled
The family of a retired army colonel called us to represent their case. The man had been a pillar in the community, ran a school for troubled boys, was an elder in the church, etc. He was an all-round good guy. He also happened to be in his late 60s and had diabetes. Even so, he was in good health, and had his condition under control.
In his case, an 18-wheeler blew through a stop sign right in front of him, the man’s vehicle went under the truck and he was killed. The trucking company argued that since the man was older and had diabetes this really wasn’t that big of a deal because he already hand “one foot in the grave”.
As you can see, this is a nasty tactic. It offends the clients and that’s part of the strategy. It’s gets you fired up and angry hearing these things said which also wears on you. It’s demoralizing. Their hope is that you’ll want this over and done with and try to use that their their advantage.
Additionally, they will argue that the survivors in a wrongful death claim are undeserving of compensation when a relative was on already near the end of his or her life. Usually this will amount to a mitigation of your original claim, bringing up dispute with the number you offered: for example, if your initial damages requested in an 18-wheeler accident total $1,500,000, they might try to bring you all the way down to $500,000 when your lost relative was a senior citizen, suffered from a pre-existing condition, or was terminal. From the insurance company’s perspective, every dollar saved on your case is a unique victory in and of itself, so they will try to play hardball at every turn.How the trucking industry stacks the deck in their favor Read More >
Our Approach to This Defense:
We point out that there’s no truth in what the trucking company is saying. We have the victim’s doctors come and attest to the health and specific situation relevant to the client’s fitness prior to the accident. Such a defense is easily countered, because it is often flat-out wrong. The civil courts and their representatives recognize that human life is precious regardless of how long it lasts. So we redirect the focus back to where it should be and put our clients in the position to recover compensation comparable to their losses.
Grossman Law Offices Can Help
Grossman Law Offices can defeat this defense. We’ve seen it used several times in our 25 years of experience litigating personal injury and wrongful death claims, and are prepared to keep the focus where it should be during your case. So reach us at our toll-free number, (855) 326-0000, and receive complimentary, confidential consultation today.
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