Should I Talk With My Insurance Company After a Wreck With a Big Truck Driver?
After you have been involved in a big commercial truck accident, your insurance company will want to talk to you. In fact, you may be required to report the damage to your vehicle, regardless of who was at fault. They may want to know how the wreck occurred, what damage was done to your car, and if you had any injuries.
You can and should report the accident to your insurer, but it’s generally a good idea to talk to a truck accident lawyer first. Your lawyer may even want to be on the call to the insurance company.
Why? These conversations are usually recorded. Therefore, you want to make sure you are organized, have thought about what you want to say and what you don’t want to say, and are prepared to protect your rights.
Sometimes, when underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage is involved, you and your insurance company may actually have adverse interests. In these situations, you need legal representation because the insurance company will often seek to minimize your injury claim.
Why Do I Need to Report an Accident When I Was Not at Fault?
First, fault may be an evolving matter after a truck accident. The only true way to determine fault is for a judge to grant summary judgment in a case or for a jury to turn in a unanimous verdict after a trial. Both of these paths require legal steps that are not necessary for the insurance claims process. Therefore, fault is often determined voluntarily: one insurance company or the other will acknowledge fault, offer a settlement, and hope the matter is closed.
However, because fault is open to interpretation during negotiations, a truck accident victim may be surprised to find out the at-fault truck company is fighting their claim – or even accusing the victim of fault!
Because fault is in a state of flux until a settlement is signed, your insurance company will want to know about any potential claim that could be filed. That includes a claim filed by you for any comprehensive or collision insurance you may have, but it also includes a third-party liability claim that could be filed at any moment.
Luckily, your insurance company usually aims to be your ally in situations where fault likely rests with another driver.
Even though they may want help with your claim, remember that your insurance company has different interests than you do. This is especially true if you may need to file uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in response to your accident.
Why Do I Need to Be Careful With My Own Insurance Company?
The biggest reason that you should be cautious when speaking with an insurance company is that they are bound by law to comply with discovery requests. Any statements or information you give them could be requested by another insurance company or any other party at any time. That means you should give your own insurance company the same information you gave the police, the truck driver’s insurance company, etc.
Second, your own insurance company can force your hand in certain instances, especially if you are being accused of fault. For instance, you may wish to fight the truck company’s insurance company if they deny liability, but your own insurance company may wish to settle instead.
For this reason, you should be guarded when you share information and not automatically assume that you and your insurer have the same perspective. Having a lawyer represent you can decrease the influence your insurer has while keeping you informed of your rights.
Third, and most critically, you may be in a situation where someone who was at fault in an accident does not have insurance coverage or does not have enough coverage available to pay for all of your damages. This can easily happen if a carrier considers the truck driver who hit you a private contractor and the driver lacks the liability insurance to cover your accident.
When filing an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you and your insurance company actually have opposite interests. They will want to reduce your claim as much as possible, and making statements like “I felt hurt, but it wasn’t too bad” can seriously limit your ability to claim full coverage for all accident-related losses.
Be On Guard When Working With Your Insurance Company, Have an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney Present
Your own insurance company wants to know when you’ve been in an accident as soon as possible, even if they likely won’t owe anything for your damages. Saying the wrong things during a conversation with them can come back to haunt you later, especially if fault in the wreck is unclear or the driver who hit you lacks the needed insurance coverage.
Call the Law Offices of Andrew E. Goldner, LLC today to speak to an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney about your case and to prepare a strategy. You want to protect your legal and financial interests, and having your own attorney is one of the only reliable ways to do that.
Schedule a free, no-obligation case review now when you call 404.869.1580 or contact us online today.