Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Offer After a Truck Accident?
Should I Take the Insurance Company’s Settlement?
Truck accidents are complex, multi-faceted, traumatic, and emotionally draining events for all parties involved — especially truck accident victims. If you or your loved one has fallen victim to such a devastating occurrence, there is evidence to scrutinize, truck logs to detail, mechanical efficacies to validate, and liability to determine.
Big trucking companies have built-in insurance company representatives who are trained to empathize and to negotiate an early settlement offer with you. You are likely to endure more injuries and expenses than you originally thought, and once you formally agree and accept an insurance settlement offer, you cannot later act on second thoughts; further negotiations are considered off the table.
This all leads to why you should never be hasty to accept an initial offer that an insurance company makes — the best way to protect your rights after a truck accident is to make sure you don’t speak with the insurance company until you first speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys who will defend your rights and ensure that you are fairly compensated.
How Does the Insurance Company Treat a Truck Accident Claim?
In 2010, Rutgers law professor Jay Feinman released Delay, Deny, Defend: Why Insurance Companies Don’t Pay Claims and What You Can Do About It, exposing how valid claims are often deliberately denied to maximize profits of major insurance companies. The deception tactics insurance companies use are regarded as “The 3 Ds” — delay, defend, and deny:
- Delaying claims — If a personal injury claim is legitimate, a trucking company’s insurance company may take its time, hoping that the truck accident claim will dissolve, accept a settlement agreement that’s lower than what they deserve. Insurers have been known to blame claimants for their own errors when sending out incorrect paperwork, and to even establish short time limits on when a claim can be made after an accident. Some insurance companies even eagerly anticipate a truck accident victim’s death to delay and possibly circumvent accident victim compensation.
- Defending a claim in court — Truck insurers agents have the experience to aggressively defend trucking companies and claim processing delays, knowing that the the pressure of large company intimidation often makes victims relinquish their lawsuits, or settle quickly for modest settlement offers. Truck insurance company agents have high-end, aggressive lawyers ready to intimidate and make a trial seem like something that would not end well for vulnerable truck accident victims; an experienced truck attorney with a proven track record is more than competent to successfully conduct a trial in favor of truck accident victims.
- Deny – Insurance company agents will do everything in their power to deny a truck accident claim, even by insisting that the accident never happened. Insurance agents are rewarded for keeping a tight ship, and for minimizing payouts. Compounded back-to-back denials are insurance companies’ aim to strike out victims’ compensation efforts: delays, unanswered calls about your counter offers, paperwork errors, all can make you run out your statue of limitations, so that the time you had to hire a personal injury lawyer and to file a personal injury lawsuit has expired.
Insurance companies want to keep their profits intact and payout minimal compensation, and that is true for commercial truck insurance company and car accident victims’ insurers; smokescreens and deceptive tactics can afford them to do so, if left unaccountable. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney with truck accident expertise is a game changer to being appropriately compensated. Hire an experienced personal injury attorney, such as Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, to navigate the legal aspects of your case can reduce your stress, streamline multiple insurance negotiations, and ultimately increase the settlement amount offered by the insurance company.
Should I Speak With the Insurance Company?
Early, initial settlement offers are often reflections of when victims are most vulnerable and without representation; trucking accident agents at the on-site accident scene are eager to approach vulnerable victims, get statements, and to even make early empathetic offers to deter larger payouts.
- Do not discuss the truck wreck and car accident with anyone except the police, your personal injury attorney, and your own designated insurance company agent; you are not required to give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company.
- When emergency services arrive, keep your statement brief and do not admit fault
- When insurance companies contact you, even if they express empathy and apologies about the accident and on behalf of the truck driver, defer to your legal representations and make no statements.
Your statements can be manipulated to work against your efforts for proper compensation (by trucking company’s insurer, and sometimes even your own!). Consult an attorney so you are in the know and prepared to put into practice calculated efforts and disclosures, where need be.
How Much is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
When the insurance company calls, tell them to speak directly with your attorney; your attorney will work with insurers to get the highest possible settlement for you. Your attorney knows what your case is really worth — it is tempting to accept an early offer as bills accumulate; however, much more often than not, accident victims who seek compensation underestimate what they are entitled to:
- The cost of grief counseling
- The lost counsel, companionship, society, etc. of the deceased loved one
- The lost value of household duties the loved one performed
- The loved one’s lost wages
- The loved one’s lost benefits (e.g., health insurance)
- The loved one’s inheritances, which would have grown larger if the loved one lived.
Your attorney knows the deceptive tactics that insurance adjusters implement to get you to agree to a minimal initial settlement offer. The insurance company’s settlement offer can be met with a counter offer, and followed-up with a proposed lawsuit, if need be.
Remember that your truck accident attorney is your advocate; medical expenses, lifestyle changes, serious injuries, lost wages, and bills can be overwhelming. If the trucking company insurer does not negotiate a settlement offer that you deserve, filing a lawsuit is your next step.
There is a lot to consider when trying to quantify the emotional, physical and life changes that the truck driver of a trucking company accident or other liable parties create. Tallying up bills are fairly easy; however, lifestyle changes, emotional trauma, and the tragic death of a loved one are hard to quantify. Truck accident victims can receive two types of damages — economic and non-economic.
- Economic damages will cover any financial costs that accrued after truck accidents. This includes, but is not limited to, current and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and funeral costs.
- Non-economic damages are meant to compensate victims and families who are struggling after the truck accidents, such as any pain or suffering you’re experiencing, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages may be awarded, in rare cases, if the defendant’s actions were fraudulent, reckless, or malicious. These types of damages are meant to punish the defendant to prevent this behavior from happening again.
Insurance rarely covers all of the losses and expenses that result from a truck accidents. Trucking, hauling, and leasing companies often seek to minimize payments by disputing victims’ insurance claims. Trucking company firms and insurance companies often use tactics that can add to the trauma and expense of being in a commercial motor vehicle crash. When negotiations fail to achieve adequate funds for trucking company victims, the pursuit of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is the proper course of action. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys truck accident attorneys have won millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts, including many multimillion-dollar awards.
What Should I Do to Protect My Truck Accident Claim?
There are sound choices you can make before, during and after making an insurance claim, to motivate the most favorable financial compensation that you are entitled to.
- Choose a reputable insurance company: While searching, also take note on how insurers rank on claim denials, claim successes, efficiency, timely responsiveness, and bad-faith practices.
- Detail and scrutinize your potential policy: Take note of what is and what is not covered; what do you need to produce if your your claim is denied?
- Thoroughly review forms you submit, and a second set of eyes always helps: Insurance company denials and delays are often the result of errors and/or missing information. Make sure you have up-to-date, current submittal forms; reverifying before submittal is always ideal. Personal injury lawyers can review this.
- Do not accept insurance checks just because you have received one: Cashing a check can indicates you have accepted all the insurance company terms associated with the checks’ issuance. Just because you have a check in-hand, does not mean success; an insurance company’s first offer (and sometimes subsequent offers) often is not the most favorable.
- Keep all correspondence, medical reports, mail, bills, and receipts: Should your need to create a counter offer or dispute an insurance company claim, you must have supporting evidence. Record dates of missed work and activities as well.
- Hire an expert: Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance carrier unless you have consulted with a truck collision lawyer…you need to have someone with experience screen your efforts and correspondences, to make certain all efforts are reflecting your best case scenario, for your best compensation.
Who Could Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident?
When deciding who to hold responsible for your truck accident, you and your truck accident lawyer will want to look at a variety of different parties and people.
- Truck Driver: This one is obvious, since your truck driver may have most directly been at fault for causing the truck accident.
- Trucking Company: If the driver of the vehicle was employed by a trucking company, they could be held liable. They are responsible for keeping track of truck drivers’ information, including background checks, limiting scheduling for rest periods, and more.
- Third-party brokers: Many commercial transportation companies hire a third-party broker to connect them to drivers and trucks to transport their cargo. This means, if you have been in a truck wreck with a vehicle hired by one of these brokers, your lawyer will want to know if they did their due diligence in hiring, as well as investigating how much control they had over the driver’s schedule and more.
- Truck Manufacturers: If the truck accident was caused by a mechanical failure or some other issue with a part in the truck, you could also widen liability to the truck manufacturer. Beyond that, if the employer or independent truck driver did not routinely get the truck inspected and repaired, they could be held liable for a faulty part as well.
Trucking accidents can be complicated, and if one or more of the above parties can be held liable, you’ll want to know. Truck drivers, their employers, and even brokers, all carry their own insurance policies. This means you could be owed compensation from more than one source. The best way to ensure your maximizing compensation for your truck accident injury is by hiring a truck crash lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys.
Why Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys?
Since truck accident cases differ greatly from car crashes and other types of personal injury claims, experience counts. Truckers and transportation companies must comply with a complex set of federal and state regulations governing hours of service, maintenance and inspection requirements, and other safety protocol.
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys truck accident attorneys have in-depth knowledge of these frequently changing laws and regulations. We will determine whether a violation of this kind contributed to your crash, and hold the offending driver and/or company responsible.
Getting evidence for your claim on your own is impossible. Insurance companies will not coach you and offer additional guidance on what may be overlooked — they are looking to minimize their payout, and agents are sometimes even rewarded for their successful efforts to marginalize your compensation. Demand letters must be sent to get what’s needed to prove your case. You are only able to do this with the best truck accident lawyer. The best way to ensure your maximizing compensation for your truck accident injury is by hiring a truck crash lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys — do not hesitate — you are in good hands, with the best trucking lawyers in the nation at hand. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation.
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Posted in Truck Accidents.