What to do When the Trucking Company’s Insurance Agency Contacts You
After you’ve been involved in a trucking accident, it may feel like a relief when the insurance company reaches out to you and makes a settlement offer. However, nine times out of ten, this is a lowball offer intended to make you settle for less than your case is actually worth. Worse yet, the insurance company may be reaching out to you in an attempt to pry for information that they can later use against you.
You should never talk to insurance companies without seeking legal advice first. Rarely, if ever, is it to your advantage to speak with insurance agents who are only looking to maintain their bottom line. So, what else do you need to know about dealing with insurance agencies after your trucking accident? Let’s go over a few of the basics below.
Use Caution When Speaking to the Trucking Company’s Insurer
At some point, you will need to speak with the trucking company’s insurance agent. When they do contact you, it’s important to remember that they are most interested in paying you as little as possible for your accident, and their job is to:
- Deny your claim
- Settle for as little money as possible, which benefits both their company and their client (the trucking company)
Don’t List Specific Details About Your Truck Accident
Because the insurance company can use any details you give them against you during your suit, you should never tell them anything that they could potentially use against you. The fewer details you give them, the better it is for your overall settlement.
Additionally, you should also avoid mentioning anything regarding your injuries until you have a clear understanding from a doctor about the severity of your injuries and how much it will likely cost to treat those injuries in the future. Avoid:
- Going into detail about the facts surrounding your accident
- Making any speculations about what or who caused your truck accident
- Accepting any blame or responsibility for the accident
- Providing the insurance company with information about witnesses
- Detailing your injuries (you should simply tell them you were injured and plan to receive medical treatment)
- Mentioning your place of employment or any lost work wages due to the accident
- Allowing the insurer to record your conversation
Things that are acceptable to mention to the insurance agent include:
- Providing them with your essential information (i.e., name, birthday, address, the time and date of the accident, etc.)
- Asking them for their name and contact information
- Telling them to contact your lawyer for future information
Never Accept the First Settlement Offer from the Insurance Company
While it may be hard to refuse the insurance company when they offer you a settlement check for $10,000, it’s essential to understand that hospital bills often accumulate over time. So even though that $10,000 check may cover your current bills, those costs are likely only a fraction of the future costs of treating your injuries.
Before accepting any offer of settlement, you must first understand the full extent of your medical costs, including
- The extent of your injury
- An accurate estimate of your current and future medical costs
- What impact your injuries will have on your quality of life
- Whether or not your injuries will affect your ability to work
The true value of your case also depends on the amount of economic and non-economic damages you sustained. Economic damages have a clear-cut price attached to them and include things such as medical bills, property damage, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and vehicle repairs.
Non-economic damages are harder to evaluate a price point for but can impact the amount of your settlement. They include damages such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, scarring or physical impairments, and loss of ability to participate in activities you once enjoyed.
Seek a Truck Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible
One of the best things you can do to ensure you receive a maximum settlement offer is to hire legal help as quickly as possible after your accident. A lawyer will ensure that the insurance companies don’t try to manipulate you into accepting a settlement offer lower than the actual value your case is worth or attempt to use your words against you during the legal process.
Furthermore, a skilled accident attorney can help you calculate the true amount of your economic and non-economic damages and estimate how much your case is worth.
When dealing with insurance agents, it’s best to follow a “trust no one” philosophy. The less you say to insurers, the less ammunition they have to potentially use against you during the course of a lawsuit. And while it may seem awfully tempting to accept any amount of cash they initially offer you, they’re likely doing it because they know how much your case is actually worth, so never accept the first settlement offer.
And finally, don’t hesitate to hire a lawyer as soon into the claims process as possible. A good lawyer can negotiate with scrupulous insurance agents to ensure you receive only the highest possible settlement offer.