5 Tricks Insurance Companies Use to Avoid Settlement
Getting injured through someone else’s negligence is bad enough.
Getting cheated out of your fair settlement makes it even worse.
Any auto accident is a bad thing. But an accident with a tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or other large commercial truck could mean serious injury or even death. Having to fight the driver’s company (or the company’s insurance) is the last thing you want to do.
Trust us on this: If they can find a way to get out of paying you, they will. They will leave you and your family on the hook for medical care and damages that weren’t your fault to begin with.Go on the Offensive
As you probably know by now, trucking companies have their own investigators who are paid to protect them from any large settlement you (the victim) might deserve. These commercial trucking companies retain law firms who are trained to make sure the trucking companies pay out as little compensation as possible — if they pay anything at all.
If you have been victimized by a commercial truck driver, click here and Anderson, Dozier, Blanda & Saltzman can help you understand your options.
Whatever you decide, we here at Anderson, Dozier, Blanda & Saltzman want you to remember this: There are many state and federal laws that regulate what drivers do when operating a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle. These laws are in place to protect you, so it is crucial the attorney you hire, understand these laws.
Remember, the other side may not play nice. They may not play fair. Trucking companies know how to defend themselves in court; they are willing to put serious money and effort into fighting your claim. The company, its insurance representatives, and its lawyers are doing everything they can to keep from paying you the compensation you are legally owed or to minimize your payout. They can do this through valid legal means. Or they may try to do it by taking advantage of what you don’t know about your rights and about the law.
Here are five tricks trucking companies, their insurance companies, and their lawyers will use to avoid paying you when you file an injury claim:#1 The Friendly Call
After the accident, you can expect to get a call from the trucking company’s insurance adjuster or a “third-party administrator.” This will be a friendly call. This adjuster will seem helpful and may even say “I just need you to make a recorded statement so I can get your settlement money to you quickly.”
Remember — this person is trying to trick you into saying something that will hurt your case. You have the right to tell him or her that you won’t give a statement. This means you shouldn’t even answer basic questions like “how are you doing?”
Even being polite and saying that you’re feeling “fine” could be used against you later!
If you give a recorded statement before discussing your case with an attorney, you run the risk of having your claim lowballed, delayed, or even denied altogether.#2 Hiding the Ball
As much as we’d like to believe people are inherently honest, trucking companies will sometimes do whatever they feel they need to do to win a case. Federal law requires them to keep records of the driver’s activity in a written or digital log. Truckers are limited to a certain number of hours of driving in a day and they aren’t supposed to get back on the road until they’ve had designated periods of rest.
Some trucking companies may play around with the logs to hide how many hours a driver has spent on the road. They may tamper with onboard computers to hide evidence. They may claim they lost GPS data or electronic logs that could be used to show a driver was texting or emailing while driving.
If the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol, the company may attempt to prevent incriminating evidence from ever being collected. For example, the trucking company or the insurance company may tell the driver to not get drug tested following an accident. Why? The fine they pay if a driver fails a post-crash drug test is smaller than the potential liability if the driver was intoxicated.
Even when a trucking company doesn’t hide or destroy evidence, you can bet they won’t submit anything they don’t have to submit. An attorney who knows how to take on trucking companies in these kinds of lawsuits can make sure all the evidence the defendants are legally required to provide is provided. You can bet the other side will play “hide the ball” if they can, and an inexperienced attorney won’t know how to force them to play fair. We do.#3 Justice Delayed is Justice Denied
Medical bills or (worse) funeral expenses can quickly overwhelm the victims of a truck-versus-car accident. In many cases this unexpected financial hit can be devastating.
Getting the money that is rightfully yours as quick as possible should be a priority for the lawyer you hire. The trucking company will do everything they can to put your case off. They’ll find every excuse they can to not give you your day in court.
Holding up the process with red tape and excuses can only help them, because they know it will wear you down. You’ll get more and more eager to settle for less than you deserve because you’ll just want to put it behind you. Here’s where a good attorney can help you—a lawyer who knows how to take on the trucking companies will push to have your case tried in a reasonable time frame.#4 The Lowball
A long, drawn-out legal battle is the last thing you want to be focused on while you’re recovering and trying to move on with your life. That’s why you might be tempted to accept the first offer you get.
The insurance company will probably offer a small settlement to make you go away. At this point, you’ve probably missed work due to your injury. You’re hurting for money and you’ll be tempted to take the money. Don’t do it!
If you don’t have a lawsuit on file, trust us — the insurance company will not offer a fair settlement on an injury claim. They’re going to need someone to stand up to them on your behalf. And that’s exactly what we do at Anderson, Dozier, Blanda & Saltzman.Conclusion
Sadly, these are only five of many tricks the trucking companies use when they are sued. As personal injury attorneys, we’ve seen many, many examples of trucking companies taking advantage of vulnerable victims in order to pay them less for the injuries their drivers caused. This makes it extremely hard for injured truck accident victims to determine if what their rights actually are and if they’re being manipulated.
Anderson, Dozier, Blanda & Saltzman knows how to fight for your rights if you’ve been injured in a commercial truck or 18-wheeler accident. Reach out to us for a free consultation and we’ll make sure that your rights are protected and that the trucking company’s lawyers and insurance team are playing fair.