Bad things happen. Sometimes, they’re nobody’s fault. That’s how an “act of God” defense sometimes comes into play after an accident involving a truck. If the insurance company for the truck that hit you is invoking this defense to claim that they aren’t liable for your injuries and losses, here’s what you should know.
What’s an “Act of God” defense?
Basically, this the insurance company’s way of throwing the blame for a wreck on nature’s shoulders. Acts of God are any natural events that were both unforeseeable and unavoidable.
For example, imagine that you’re traveling down a mountain road when a landslide occurs, sweeping your vehicle right into the path of an oncoming truck. That might easily be considered an act of God because there was no way for you or the trucker to either predict or prevent what happened.
How do insurance companies misuse this defense?
Let’s face it: Insurance companies aren’t particularly interested in paying out settlements, especially big ones. They’ll try to declare just about any event an “act of God” if they can get away with it. The reality is that many accidents that seem like they were unavoidable were actually completely predictable or could have been prevented with better judgment.
For example, one insurance company recently (and unsuccessfully) argued that they weren’t responsible for a Georgia man’s death in a truck accident after the trucker they insured allegedly passed out behind the wheel due to a sudden loss of consciousness.
Further examination, however, revealed that the trucker had omitted critical information about his health when he obtained his Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) medical exam. That included numerous problems that were likely to make him pass out behind the wheel, including COPD, swallowing problems, smoking and hospitalizations related to breathing difficulties. Plus, witnesses reported that he’d been driving erratically well before the accident took place — which means that he had plenty of notice that he was having medical problems and could have pulled over.
Don’t let an insurance company’s claim that a truck accident was merely an act of God fool you. An attorney can help you fight back.