Being injured in a truck accident can be much different than an accident involving two passenger vehicles. Victims’ injuries tend to be more severe due to the impact of being hit by an 80,000-pound truck. The claims are more complex given the federal regulations that govern truck drivers and trucking companies that may have been violated. Because the claims are often for more money, the insurance companies for trucking companies tend to fight harder not to pay legitimate claims or to pay them less than what they are worth.
If you were hurt in an accident with a truck, you deserve to be fully compensated for your injuries. One way to do this is to avoid making common mistakes other accident victims made that hurt the strength of their claim and possibly the amount of compensation they were entitled to.
What Mistakes Do You Want to Avoid Making in Your Truck Accident Case?
Most mistakes that accident victims inadvertently make after a truck crash are avoidable. So you can learn from their errors and hopefully avoid problems that these people caused for themselves. Mistakes you do not want to make include:
- Police report. Not filing a police report is a big mistake if a trucker causes your accident. First, it gives the insurance adjuster an argument that the accident did not happen or that you were partially at fault. In addition, a police report includes valuable information, such as contact information for drivers, passengers, and witnesses, trucker and witness statements, and the officer’s conclusions as to what caused the crash.
- Medical care. Failing to obtain prompt medical care gives the insurance company an argument that your injuries were caused by some incident other than this accident or that you were not hurt as badly as you claim. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, you should see your physician right away as some injuries are hidden or take time before their symptoms emerge.
- Not following up with medical treatment. Failing to follow your doctor’s advice on needed treatment can make it seem like your injuries are less serious and reduce the value of your claim. This is a mistake that many accident victims make that ultimately makes it impossible for their attorney to settle their claim for its true worth.
- Agreeing to a recorded statement. You should never agree to give a recorded statement, which is a tape-recorded question and answer session between the insurance adjuster and you, that can be used against you in court. You are not required to give this statement to be paid what you are owed. In addition, you might inadvertently say things that ultimately hurts the value of your claim.
- Signing a medical authorization. While the insurance adjuster will need your medical records regarding your injuries from the accident, he does not need all your records. By signing the insurance company’s blanket authorization, you may be giving the insurance company access to all of your records that could contain private and irrelevant information about you. You should never sign any documents without first having an attorney review them and should let your attorney handle providing your medical records to the adjuster.
- Failing to obtain contact information. Not obtaining critical contact information at the scene of the crash can limit your ability to make a claim and prove the trucker’s liability. You want to get the contact information for the trucker, the trucking company, its insurance company, and witnesses at the scene of the accident before it is lost to you.
- Failing to preserve evidence. Again, if you do not act immediately after your accident, you are losing potential helpful information and evidence. If possible, you want to take pictures of the accident scene, the truck, damaged vehicles, and your injuries and locate any witnesses before they disappear.
- Settling your claim too quickly. If you settle your claim quickly for one of the insurance company’s first offers, you may be agreeing to accept far less than what your claim is truly worth. You never want to agree to a settlement without first obtaining the advice of an experienced truck accident attorney.
- Not sending a spoliation letter. You need to have an attorney send the trucking company a spoliation letter advising the company of your claim and what evidence should not be destroyed soon after your wreck. Otherwise, the trucking company could destroy vital documents that could have helped you prove the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence.
- Not hiring an attorney. You will be at a serious disadvantage if you do not hire an experienced truck accident attorney soon after your crash. Your attorney should understand the complexities of truck accident cases and the federal and state regulations that could have been violated. Hiring an attorney is one of your smartest steps to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Did You Make One of These Mistakes? Don’t Make a Bigger Mistake and Let it Ruin Your Claim
If you have already made one of these mistakes, you should not despair and give up on pursing your claim against the negligent trucker and trucking company. At Brauns Law, I have helped clients who have made these—and other more serious mistakes—fight for the compensation they deserved. Call my office to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation and your legal options.