The short answer is: Say nothing. The less you say to an adjuster from the trucking company’s insurer after a truck crash, the better your chances are of collecting fair compensation for your damages, which include medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.
The smartest thing you can do is to consult a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your wreck. If the attorney agrees to represent you, simply refer all calls and messages from the insurance company to your lawyer.
What the Insurance Company Really Wants
If you should be contacted by an insurance adjuster before you’ve retained an attorney, it’s important for you to understand the insurer’s real objective, which is to save money for the company. While it may seem that an adjuster is sympathetic on the phone, in reality, his goals may be to:
- Trick you into saying something that can be interpreted as an admission of partial or complete fault for your own accident
- Get information about your injuries, diagnosis, and treatment thus far
- Induce you to say that you’re not badly injured or that you’re recovering quickly
- Get your recorded statement regarding the accident in order to try and disprove your version or catch you in a contradiction
- Underestimate the value of your case and offer you a quick, low settlement
- Convince you to sign a release form allowing access to your medical history so that a pre-existing condition can be blamed for your current medical issues
Even if you simply say, “I’m fine” or “I’m doing okay,” the adjuster can use your words as evidence that you’re not badly injured and don’t need expensive medical treatment. It some cases an adjuster may say things to entrap you into admitting full or partial fault for your own accident and accepting a quick, low settlement before you even know what your future medical expenses will be.
Don’t Fall for Insurance Company Tricks
Remember that the at-fault party’s insurer is your adversary and act accordingly. We suggest the following tactics:
- Be polite but keep the conversation brief. Say as little as possible about the details of the accident, your injuries, and your property damage.
- Ask for your claim number and the insurance adjuster’s phone number and email address. Say that you’ll pass this information on to your attorney, who will be in touch.
- Do not apologize or admit fault for anything.
- Do not give a recorded statement.
- Do not sign a medical release form or anything else without the approval of your lawyer.
- Do not accept any settlement offer without discussing it first with your attorney.
You won’t have any idea of your total medical expenses until you’re well on the road to recovery. If you accept a quick settlement, you can never ask for any more money, no matter how high your future medical bills might be, so don’t take the bait.
Rely on Your Attorney
Your lawyer will know how to recognize and counter any tactics to dispute or deny your claim. Your attorney will also consult with your doctors to estimate your future medical bills and to put a dollar amount on your pain and suffering in order to evaluate your claim and make a reasonable demand for compensation.
In some cases, the insurance company might utilize delay tactics, hoping that the statute of limitations will run and take away your option of filing a lawsuit in civil court to get fair compensation. Your lawyer will make sure you meet all legal deadlines and other procedural requirements.
Other Sources for Payment of Medical Bills
While the insurance claim process and negotiations play out, your lawyer can help you find ways to pay your current medical bills by filing claims with your own auto insurer or health insurer. Either or both companies should take care of your bills and recoup any money spent through a subrogation claim against your settlement from the trucking company’s insurer once your case is resolved.
Have You Been Injured in a Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, Truck Accident?
If you have been hurt in a truck accident you should speak with an experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Murrells Inlet office directly at 843.488.5472 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach, Florence, or North Charleston office locations.