Should I Talk With a Representative of the Trucking Company or Their Insurance Company After My Accident?
No. You should almost never talk with the insurance company or motor carrier company that is involved in your accident. Though the insurance adjuster may say that he or she is “just trying to find out what happened” or he or she “has to get your statement,” you should not talk with a person whose interests are adverse to yours, especially without an experienced truck accident lawyer helping you. No matter what the insurance company says, if they are aligned with a party adverse to your interests you don’t have to speak with them.
Be extremely cautious in the wake of a truck accident. Your damages could be significant, but any missteps can jeopardize your ability to recover compensation from at-fault parties. Speak to a truck accident lawyer who can represent you and form a solid legal strategy for claiming 100% of your losses.
Andrew E. Goldner can provide experienced legal counsel as well as the resources needed to fully investigate your accident. Call us today at 404.869.1580 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
Insurers and Trucking Companies Want to Perform the Wrong Kind of Damage Control
Often, truck company representatives and the insurance company’s agent will call within hours or days of a tractor-trailer or commercial vehicle wreck. That said, we have seen situations where insurance company representatives and lawyers even show up at the scene of a crash.
Why? From the moment that the truck collision occurs, these individuals are looking to minimize the fault of the commercial driver and minimize the injured person’s legal claims.
The primary concern of a carrier company and their insurer is not, “Gee, I hope anyone who got hurt gets the care they need to recover!” Instead, their goal is to limit their own liability, paying out as little as possible. If an injury victim is unaware of this agenda, they may unknowingly provide information that jeopardizes their injury claim.
As such, be on your guard. Expect to be contacted soon, and expect for the tone of the conversation to sound casual or empathetic. Big trucking insurance company representatives train adjusters on how to get information from injury victims, primarily by presenting a misleading “helpful” tone.
Generally, while an accident victim is still recovering from his injuries, these people will call, record the entire conversation, and ask leading questions. The questions are designed to have the injured party acknowledge that they suffered minor injuries. Later, if an injury claim is brought, the trucking and insurance companies will use the tape recording to discredit the injured person.
The best practice is to hire a trucking lawyer and let he or she decide whether (and when) to speak with the insurance company (if at all) before a claim is brought.
What Kinds of Strategies Do Motor Carrier / Trucking Companies and Insurers Use to Minimize Liability?
There are many strategies that defending parties use to shield themselves from liability or minimize damages later on. They include the following:
Getting the Claimant to Admit Negligence or Partial Fault
The representative who contacts you may ask specific questions about the sequence of events and your own actions. Your best option is to decline to provide specific details. Your memory is imperfect, and, many times, the accident investigation is still ongoing.
Example questions include:
- Did you see the truck before it hit you?
- How fast were you traveling at the time of the accident?
- Were you wearing your prescribed glasses or contacts?
Getting the Claimant to Indicate Minor Injuries or a Lack of Pain and Suffering
“How are you feeling today?” is a question that seems conversational and innocent. When it’s being asked by a representative of a big insurance company, it’s neither of those.
Be wary of commenting on your personal condition and feelings. This information should be communicated directly with your healthcare provider and documented in your medical records.
Don’t mention activities you’ve been engaging in, either. Something as innocent as a recent fishing trip can be used as evidence that you’ve exaggerated your condition or failed to follow doctor’s orders to rest.
Digging for a Pre-Existing Condition
Don’t provide information on your medical history, and definitely don’t release the entirety of your health records for the defendant to use.
Pre-existing conditions are not claimable truck accident injuries, although you can argue that the accident made it worse. In any event, don’t disclose any more information than you have to, and opt to relay information by sending specific documents that have been reviewed by your attorney rather than responding to casual-sounding questions over the phone.
Getting You to Commit to a Certain Range of Damages Before All Factors Are Known
Insurance companies may try to get you to describe a specific injury or quantify your damages, putting a firmer dollar range on your possible settlement. However, your damages cannot be estimated until treatment has progressed and you have investigated all applicable aspects of the case.
You will need to be well on your way to recovery before you can calculate the full cost of treatments, including both past expenses and estimated future expenses.
Don’t Talk to Insurers or Company Reps – Talk to An Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Attorney
Without the right guidance and legal strategies, you may end up paying for some or all of your losses out-of-pocket – while the insurance company gets to add more to their bottom line.
Andrew E. Goldner aggressively represents those who have been badly hurt in truck collisions in Georgia. Our firm is always on the lookout for risks to your claim, and we aren’t afraid to stand up to defendants trying to avoid liability and minimize clients’ claims.
Rather than make a mistake you can’t take back when talking to insurers, talk to a lawyer first. Cases the firm takes on won’t involve costs to you until or unless you are able to recover money for your damages.
Schedule a free, no-obligation case review now when you call 404.869.1580 or contact us online.