Avoiding Insurance Tricks and Manipulation While Recovering From a Truck Accident
Under current law, trucking companies that own the operating permits of their trucks are liable for all incidents that involve the truck in question. As a result, if a truck driver causes a catastrophic accident while driving a permitted truck, the owner of that permit, in addition to the driver, can be held responsible for the accident.
Many truck drivers are actually independent contractors who do not work for the trucking company. However, these regulations force the permit owner to be more invested in the safety and handling of their trucks—which means more invested in ensuring their drivers are safe. Though this forced concern for safety may seem like a win-win situation for overall traffic safety, it isn’t all champagne and roses. Since permit holders are held responsible (or at least partially responsible) for truck collisions, they pay a lot of money to their insurance companies to protect them against injury claims…your injury claims.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
After filing a truck accident claim, you can expect a call from the liable party’s insurance adjuster. Throughout the conversation, no matter how stressful, you should exercise extreme caution with what you say to protect your injury claim. Remember, insurance companies are in the business of making money, and their goal is to offer you a low settlement to protect their bottom line.
Three things to consider before picking up the receiver or speaking with the adjuster:
- Your attorney status. Have you secured an accident attorney? Has he given you advice on what to say to the insurance company? Has he requested you to refer the adjuster to his office for any further communications? In many cases, it’s best to let your lawyer handle all contact with the insurance company.
- Your statement status. If you do not yet have an attorney, it’s important that you do not give a recorded statement to any insurance adjuster. That means the representative from the truck driver’s insurance company, the trucking company’s insurance company, or even your own insurance company. Stress, pain, and prescription medications can affect memory and make you less aware of what you’re saying—but any statement you make may be used to discredit your claim. Make sure you speak with an attorney first, and depending on your emotional and physical limitations, have him act as the go-between for statements and insurance questions.
- Your understanding status. If the insurance adjuster asks you to sign any forms, including a settlement offer, don’t do it. In many cases, signing the settlement offer means that you cannot recover further damages for your injuries. This can be detrimental to the outcome of your case, as sometimes injuries worsen over time, necessitating additional treatment and time off of work. Before signing or committing to anything, make sure your attorney reads the form and counsels you about your options.
Emotions can run high after a serious accident, and you may say things without thinking them through; however, an attorney can act as your representative while dealing with the insurance company on your behalf. In addition, your attorney may have a better understanding of what your claim is actually worth. Contact our office today to secure the dedicated advocate you and your case deserve.
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