You’ve been hit by a truck. It came out of nowhere and did a lot of damage. Now, seriously injured, you’re dealing with the stress, anxiety, pain and fear of major medical treatment — just when you also can’t work. You’re worried about how you’ll possibly pay for everything. The trucker’s insurance adjuster wants to talk. What on earth should you do?
There are at least five things you need to know:
The playing field is not level. There’s a wide information gap between you and the other side. You probably don’t know how to access critical information like what caused the accident, which party or parties are responsible, and how much compensation you will need. The other side knows a lot more — including how to make an inadequate settlement offer look pretty good.
Think the accident wasn’t your fault? You’re probably right. It’s fair to say the majority of truck accidents are the result of negligence, either by the truck driver or the trucking company. Drivers may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted, lost, speeding, or violating other traffic laws. The company may be pressuring drivers to work many hours without enough sleep. Its trucks may be poorly maintained, or they may be improperly loaded. Truckers and companies can cut a variety of corners — and they often do.
The trucking company will act quickly to limit its liability. The moment the trucking company learns of the accident, its lawyers and insurance company will leap into action. They’ll send investigators to the accident scene, looking for ways to minimize the negative consequences — to them.
Insurance companies don’t get rich by being generous. The insurance adjuster may seem friendly, interested, and ready to make a quick settlement offer. Unfortunately, accepting a quick settlement offer is usually a mistake. The sooner an offer is made, the less likely it is to reflect the real costs of your accident because that information isn’t available yet.
When trucks hit cars, cars lose. Big time. A poorly maintained or negligently-operated truck is capable of enormous destruction. It’s common to suffer life-altering injuries like brain or spinal cord trauma that could require millions in medical treatment and a lifetime of care.
After a truck accident, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to level the playing field and make sure any settlement is truly in your best interest.