Truck accidents present unique challenges for injured victims seeking compensation. The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks often result in catastrophic injuries, and the complex web of insurance coverage and players involved who may hold some liability can make getting through the claims process nearly impossible for the lay person. If you’ve been in a truck accident, talk to a truck accident lawyer in Huntsville, TX right away for help.
How to Navigate Insurance Disputes in Truck Accident Cases
Understanding the Players
Multiple insurance companies may be involved in a truck accident claim. The truck driver’s employer typically carries liability insurance to cover accidents caused by their drivers. Additionally, the trucking company itself may have separate insurance policies.
If the trucking company uses an independent mechanic to service their trucks, there might be a separate insurance coverage for that. Your own car insurance policy may also provide coverage, depending on the specific circumstances of the accident.
Establishing fault in a truck accident is foundational to making a claim. Texas follows a comparative fault system, meaning each party’s negligence is assessed as a percentage. Your compensation will thus be reduced by your percentage of fault, so securing strong evidence to prove the truck driver’s negligence is essential here.
This is something your truck accident lawyer will help you with. The evidence you need may include police reports, eyewitness testimonies, accident scene photos, dashcam footage, records from the trucking company or the driver’s log, and vehicle maintenance records.
Dealing With Common Insurance Company Tactics
Insurance companies have a vested interest in minimizing their payouts, of course, and they commonly employ certain tactics to deny or undervalue a claim. For them, this is part of the “game” of negotiating. They expect you to negotiate back, and if you don’t know how, you’re at a serious disadvantage. Your car accident attorney will know all about these tactics, however, and can help you counter them. Some of what they may do can include:
They may attempt to place all or part of the fault on you or other drivers involved in the accident. Even if they can’t get away for blaming you for everything, the greater percentage of fault they can pin on you, the less they have to pay you.
They may question the severity of your injuries or claim pre-existing conditions contributed to your pain.
Offering Quick Settlements
They may present lowball offers early, hoping you’ll accept without fully understanding the extent of your damages. They often bank on you being desperate for cash flow to pay for medical bills and other expenses that tend to pile up after an accident. Never accept a settlement without talking to your lawyer.
Protecting Your Rights
To counter these tactics and maximize your compensation, it’s essential to take some proactive steps. Documenting your injuries strengthens your claim, and if you’re able to after an accident, take photos, collect witness information, and obtain copies of police reports. Most importantly, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer right away. A lawyer can guide you through the entire claims process, protecting your rights along the way, and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you get fair compensation.
Investigating the Accident
Following a truck accident, a thorough investigation is vital to building a strong case and holding the responsible parties accountable. This investigation has to go beyond the surface of the crash, uncovering all the crucial details that insurance companies or the trucking company may try to overlook. Time is of the essence in these investigations, which is why you need to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Physical evidence at the scene can deteriorate or disappear quickly, and witness memories fade over time.
Your lawyer will likely do a scene examination, where a qualified accident reconstruction specialist examines the accident scene, analyzing factors such as skid marks, debris patterns, and vehicle damage. This analysis can paint a picture of the crash sequence and identify potential contributing factors. Your lawyer will also carefully examine the truck driver’s logs, hours-of-service records, and maintenance records, which can reveal violations of federal regulations or company policies that may have contributed to the accident. For instance, excessive driving hours or faulty equipment maintenance could be grounds for negligence claims against the trucking company.
Locating and interviewing eyewitnesses who observed the accident can also provide valuable firsthand accounts of the events leading up to and during the crash. Their testimonies can corroborate your version of events and strengthen your claim.
Insurance Company Obstruction
Insurance companies may attempt to stop or interfere with your investigation efforts, and if you’re going it alone, you may not be able to counter this. They may deny you access to certain evidence or try to delay witness interviews. Your lawyer will fight back against these challenges, even taking them to court if necessary, and ensure you have access to all the necessary information to build a comprehensive case.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
These cases almost always involve negotiations, where the insurance company makes an offer, and you must counter with another. Insurance companies are skilled negotiators, and your lawyer will advocate on your behalf, using the gathered evidence and their legal knowledge and skills to get you a fair settlement.
You can expect your lawyer to present a well-organized and comprehensive case backed by compelling evidence. A good lawyer will also accurately calculate your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future medical needs and be able to back up these calculations to show the true extent of what it will take to make things right for you.
Since insurance companies commonly present initial, inadequate settlements, your lawyer will advise you on rejecting or accepting such offers and may counter with a fairer demand supported by evidence. If necessary, your lawyer will also be ready to take things to court. Demonstrating your willingness to go to court can incentivize the insurance company to reach a favorable settlement rather than face the uncertainties of a trial.
Litigation and Trial
While most truck accident cases settle before trial, some situations require pursuing legal action through the court system. Litigation involves filing a lawsuit against the responsible parties, which in a truck accident case may include the truck driver, the trucking company, mechanics responsible for vehicle upkeep, and/or respective insurance companies. The lawsuit outlines the claims of negligence and the damages you are seeking, and the process moves through various stages, including discovery, pre-trial motions, and potentially a trial before a judge or jury.
Working With a Huntsville Truck Accident Lawyer
Hiring an experienced truck accident attorney is the best way of securing fair compensation. Your lawyer will be at your side from the beginning, explaining legal procedures, deadlines, and potential outcomes, handling communication with insurance companies, shielding you from unnecessary pressure, and advocating for your best interests.
Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf, bringing to bear their knowledge and skills to secure the best possible settlement offer. And, if necessary, your attorney will prepare for and represent you in court if litigation is the only way to see justice done.
You have the right to seek compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial losses you have suffered due to the truck accident. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a truck, don’t try to go up against them alone. Contact Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, for experienced help and a free consultation.