If you were involved in an accident caused by a commercial truck, you’re entitled to file a damage claim against the trucking company’s insurer for your medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.
The trucking company will report the accident immediately to its insurance company, which will send investigators to the scene to collect evidence, and an insurance adjuster is likely to contact you by telephone very soon. When this happens, our Houston truck accident attorney says, it’s important for you to remember that the insurance company is a for-profit business with two primary objectives:
- To earn as much money as possible by collecting premiums
- To pay out as little as possible in accident claims
Every action the insurer takes and every word that its adjusters say are intended to accomplish these two goals. The investigators at the scene will be looking for any shred of evidence that might prove you are partially or completely responsible for the crash so that it can devalue or deny your insurance claim.
The adjuster might inquire about your health and express sympathy for your injuries, but the real reason for the call is to obtain verbal evidence to use against you.
How to Handle Communications With the Insurance Company
When you’re talking to the insurance company’s adjuster, attorney, or another representative, what you don’t say is probably more important than what you do say. In general, the less you say, the safer your claim will be. Our personal injury lawyer suggests following these guidelines.
Get the Name and Company of Anyone Who Calls You
In a truck accident case, there could be multiple at-fault parties represented by different insurance companies. At the beginning of every call, you should ask for the name and employer of the caller.
Do Not Give a Written or Recorded Statement
The insurance adjuster is well-trained to use your own words against you. If you make one mistake, say one word that contradicts the police report or something you said earlier, that word can be used to call your entire claim into question.
Do Not Sign Anything
The insurance adjuster might ask you to sign a form giving access to your medical records. If you do so, the insurer can then dig through your history to find a pre-existing condition that it can blame for your current injuries in order to deny responsibility for your medical expenses.
Do Not Accept a Quick Settlement Offer
Insurance companies are notorious for making quick offers to accident victims before they even know the full extent of their medical needs and expenses. Such offers are always too low, and once you accept a settlement, you may never ask for more money, no matter what your expenses might be. You should never accept a settlement offer without consulting an attorney.
Do Not Use Service Providers Suggested by the Insurer
Choose your own repair service to have your car fixed and your own doctor for medical care. Do not accept the insurer’s recommendations for these or any other service providers who are likely to cut corners to save money for the insurance company.
Don’t Give the Insurer Ammunition to Use Against You
Representatives of the insurance company will find and follow your social media accounts for any language that can be used or misinterpreted to weaken your claim. It’s best not to post anything about your accident or injuries on social media. Even if you don’t post anything online, the insurer might put you under surveillance and use photos or videos of your physical activities as proof that you are not as seriously injured as you say you are.
If insurance investigators get footage of you simply taking out your trash, it could be used to prove that you’re in good physical shape and not in need of medical care.
Do Not Apologize
Insurance adjusters are trained to twist anything that sounds remotely like an apology into an admission of guilt, so don’t say you’re sorry for anything.