Big rig companies, like most companies, care about one thing: their bottom line. These highway giants have the power to protect their profits by any means, even at the expense of others.
So what does this mean for truck wreck victims? Wrecks are expensive and they look bad on the trucking companies, so the companies try to downplay their part in the accident. For victims, this means recovering less compensation for damaged vehicles, medical bills, missed days of work, pain, suffering, etc.
Due to the amount of money that's on the line in big rig accident claims - both yours and theirs - it's essential that you're aware of some of the tricks truck companies will try to pull to cheat you out of fair compensation.
Property Damage vs. Bodily Injury
Don't let trucking companies (or their insurance providers) lull you into a sense of security. It's very possible that the trucking company will quickly compensate you for the damages to your motor vehicle but leave your medical bills out of the equation. Of course, this isn't fair. Many times, medical bills can double, triple or quadruple the cost of a car repair, but the trucking company will try to cheat you out of that money by focusing your attention on your vehicle. Don't let anyone defer your motive to get full compensation for all damages.
Low Settlement Offers That Don't Consider Future Damages
It's not uncommon for a trucking company's insurance provider to offer a crash victim a low offer...and for the victim to take it. Though you may think you're getting a fair deal, don't forget about the cost of future medical expenses or lifelong changes in your health and happiness.
For instance, if a wreck with a truck causes you back pain when you didn't experience back pain before, this is an issue that could potentially effect your quality of life for years to come. You deserve to be compensated for it. Unless you are fully recovered from your injuries, are able to return to work and have returned to the exact same physical state as you were before the accident, do not accept any offer from the trucking company. You have no idea how vast your expenses could add up to be.
Putting You On The Defense
The trucking company and their insurance company will do whatever they can to protect their profits and avoid paying costs for all damages. To do this, they'll try to make you quit. They'll play mental games and drag out the process. They'll throw negative emotions on you, question your integrity and delay your case. They hope that in doing this, you'll be so drained that you'll take whatever they offer, or nothing at all. Don't let them win.
These three dirty tricks are just the beginning of the trucking company and insurance company’s large plan to avoid compensation. In any situation, it's important to understand what you're going up against.
How Do You Know If You're Being Tricked by the Insurance Adjuster?
Like all things in life, there's no straight answer. However, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to see if the insurance adjuster is playing fair or trying to get the better of you:
- Is the insurance adjuster calling you back?
If not, it's never a good sign. It's the adjuster's job to take your calls and stay in touch as you settle your claim. If an adjuster simply won't return your calls, it could mean they're trying to delay your payment in hopes of cajoling you into accepting a low offer.
- Is the adjuster pressuring you for a recorded statement?
Truck accident insurance reps are notorious for convincing accident victims to give them a recorded statement about the accident - one that makes it seem like the wreck was the victim's fault. There's no law that says you must give a recorded statement to the insurance agency, and the adjuster shouldn't hassle you into giving one.
- Does the insurance adjuster want a medical release or authorization?
Giving an insurance company medical authorization is a big no-no. If you sign a medical release form for the insurance company, that means they'll have access to your life's history of medical records. And why do they want this info? To discredit your claim, of course. They'll look into your medical history for anything that might lower the worth of your claim (like a former surgery or preexisting condition).
- Did the insurance adjuster offer you money to settle your claim very shortly after your accident?
Of course you want to settle your claim, but doing so too soon can hurt you in unforeseeable ways. Tractor-trailer accidents can come with major injuries that require multiple surgeries, physical therapy and ongoing treatment down the line. The insurance company wants to get you to settle your truck wreck claim early – before you have time to realize the full extend of your injuries.
If you've been hurt in a Dallas or Fort Worth accident and you're wondering how much your case is worth or what your legal options are, feel free to give me a call to schedule a no-obligation, no-charge consultation.