If you or someone you love is injured in a trucking accident, your first priority should be recuperation. You may have sustained serious injuries, and you may be receiving ongoing medical care and rehabilitation. During this process, insurance matters are probably the last thing on your mind.
Unfortunately, the first priority after an accident for any trucking company and their insurer is to protect their bottom line. Oftentimes this involves pushing the victims of a trucking accident to resolve their claim as quickly as possible – and frequently for less than it is really worth.
When the representative of a trucking company or insurance company contacts you after an accident, it is crucial to protect your rights. Taking the following steps can help, but your best option is to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
1. Do Not Speak to the Adjuster
Although you may be required to report the accident to your own insurance company, you are under no obligation whatsoever to speak with an insurance adjuster or the representative for another party connected with the other driver. This is true in car accident claims, and it is also true (and perhaps even more important) in trucking accident cases, too.
If a representative for the truck driver, his or her employer, or another party gets in touch with you, simply decline to answer any questions. Direct them to submit their questions to your lawyer (if you have hired a lawyer). If you have not yet hired a lawyer to handle your claim, it may be time to think about doing so.
2. Do Not Make a Recorded Statement
One of the most common tactics employed by insurance adjusters and investigators is to ask the victim to provide a statement on the accident. The company may record any phone interactions with you (possibly without your knowledge), but an audio recording in which you give an account of the accident may be especially damaging to your claim.
Attorneys for the trucking company and/or the insurer will scrutinize your statement for any inconsistencies, errors, or indications that you may have been at fault for the accident. They will use this information against you as grounds to deny your claim or offer you less in compensation than you deserve.
3. Do Not Sign a Medical Release Form
The representative may ask you to sign a document that authorizes your doctor and other healthcare providers to release your medical records to the insurance company. You may be led to believe that the company will only review the records that relate to your accident injuries. In reality, however, adjusters and lawyers for the other side will dig into your records in an effort to find information that may reduce what they have to pay you, such as a preexisting condition or prior injury.
Your lawyer will closely review your medical records in the course of building your claim. If an adjuster or other representative contacts you with a records request, speak to your attorney for guidance on the best way to proceed.
4. Do Not Admit Fault
Even if you limit your communication with the adjuster and refuse to make a statement or sign a release, you still need to be cautious of what you say to any insurance representatives. One of the biggest mistakes is to say anything that suggests you were at fault for the accident.
If you do speak to an adjuster, keep your comments brief and strictly factual. Don’t apologize, offer an opinion on the accident, or provide any unsolicited information.
5. Do Not Be Fooled
An insurance adjuster or other employee who contacts you may seem understanding, supportive, and affable. They will likely give you the impression that they only want to help resolve your claim. In a sense, this is true; they want to resolve your claim, but for the benefit of their employer.
Insurance companies train their adjusters to act friendly while serving the company’s interest. They play a key role in helping their employer achieve the goal of paying you as little as possible.
How Your Trucking Accident Lawyer Can Help
One of the major advantages of hiring a lawyer after a truck accident is having a dedicated advocate for your claim. Your attorney will handle communications with the insurance company on your behalf, which relieves you of the pitfalls you face in trying to deal with the insurer on your own.
Experienced trucking accident lawyers know the tactics employed by insurance companies and other parties in these cases. They also know the negative impact that an underpaid or denied claim for fair compensation can have on victims and their families.
Contact Colombo Law Today
The attorneys at Colombo Law have decades of experience serving the victims of truck accidents. We have attained millions of dollars in recoveries on behalf of clients and their families in claims involving big rig collisions.
Please call (614) 362-7000 today for a free review of your claim. Colombo Law serves clients in Columbus, Newark, Circleville, Heath, and throughout Ohio.