Tips, tricks and advice for dealing with insurance companies after a truck wreck
The last thing anyone wants to think about is being in an serious accident with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer. But accidents happen, and when they do it’s important to prepare for what comes next.
If you are experiencing the legal aftermath of a truck collision, then you may be receiving regular phone calls from the trucking company or their insurance company.
Should you answer? If so, what should you say (and NOT say)?
In this article, we’ll give you some important considerations to be aware of after a truck accident when dealing with trucking companies and their insurance representatives.
If you take nothing else from this article, understand this:
Insurance companies do NOT have your best interests in mind. We recommend having a conversation with an experienced truck accident attorney near you who can help protect your rights and drastically improve the likelihood that you will receive the compensation you need and deserve.
Why you should call a truck accident lawyer immediately
Health and safety are always the top priorities at the scene of a truck accident. Your first call should always be to emergency services to request police and an ambulance. If someone else has called emergency medical responders to the scene, be sure to request a thorough medical examination.
After making arrangements to receive medical attention, the second most important call will be the one you make to an attorney. Compared to car accidents, commercial truck collisions are typically more complex due to the number of parties involved and the severity of the injuries.
In addition to dealing with the truck driver at the scene, throughout the process you will have to interact and communicate with the trucking company and the insurance company.
Insurers have an advantage during negotiation
The corporate lawyers who work for insurance companies and trucking companies typically have a great deal of experience when it comes to negotiating settlements that benefit their bosses. When an insurance lawyer or adjuster approaches the negotiation process, their objective is to settle the matter as quickly and inexpensively as possible on the company’s behalf.
Insurance adjusters and representatives also tend to be highly skilled at convincing the injured victim that the company’s initial settlement offer is the best offer you will be able to get.
Unless you are a trained professional with negotiation experience, the dynamic between you and the insurance company immediately places you at a steep disadvantage.
The good news is that the right truck accident attorney can help even the playing field by representing you with their extensive experience.
Don’t fall for emotional appeals
It’s common for the other party’s insurance company to try to win truck accident victims over with false kindness. Shortly after a truck accident, the victim often receives a call from a pleasant-sounding insurance claims adjuster. The person on the other end of the call will likely offer sympathy and regret for your injuries, without actually admitting fault for the accident.
Don’t let this seemingly friendly and compassionate tone lure you into a false sense of security. The adjuster does NOT have your best interests in mind. Their job is to save their employer (the insurance company) money by reducing how much they have to pay on your claim. They are looking for a reason to deny or reduce your claim, so don’t accidentally give them an excuse to get away with this because you thought the adjuster had your back.
In addition to using empathy to try and “soften” an accident victim, the adjuster will likely make the company’s initial settlement offer. Studies indicate insurance companies utilize emotional tactics to subconsciously make you more receptive to their low-ball settlement offer.
Avoid putting things in writing
We are generally told to put all agreements in writing. On the contrary, when dealing with a commercial insurance company and a trucking company, we typically urge our clients to avoid signing any forms, releases, agreements and statements the opposing side may present until we are able to review it.
Although you may sign these forms in the spirit of professionalism or based on the assertion that doing so will be helpful to you, these forms may later impede your ability to receive the compensation you need and deserve. Always disclose all communication from the opposing side to your attorney.
Help us build a strong case
While hiring an attorney can go a long way to ensuring you are treated fairly when communicating with insurers, there are steps you can take to help make your case as strong as possible.
Beyond your initial medical evaluation, keep records of all follow-up appointments, medical expenses, treatments and transportation expenses to and from appointments. We will help you thoroughly document the extent of your injuries. Keeping track of your appointments and expenses will help us establish your claim for damages and negotiate with insurers.
Also, if your insurance company has contacted you to make a settlement, don’t be lured into negotiating with them on your own. The initial offer is typically the least amount they are willing to compensate you for your injuries and other damages.
Get knowledgeable legal counsel for your truck accident case
Without a doubt, the best weapon you can wield against an at-fault trucking company and their insurance company is consulting your own truck accident lawyer to learn about your rights.
The earlier you seek sound legal counsel, the better opportunity you will have to achieve the best possible outcome. Our Macon attorneys offer sound legal representation and trustworthy counsel to accident victims.