If you got hurt in a truck crash, you probably have many questions, including what will happen when you get to the point of negotiating with the at-fault party’s liability insurance carrier for payment of your losses. Every case is different, but there are things that tend to happen in most claim procedures.
The law allows you to try to negotiate with the insurer on your own, without the help of a lawyer, but it can be a smart decision to work with a California truck accident attorney, particularly if you sustained significant injuries. Insurance companies have teams of adjusters, investigators, and defense lawyers whose sole job is to find ways to pay you as little money as possible.
Contact the Insurance Companies
Usually, more than one insurer gets involved in a truck accident settlement process. Let’s say that you were driving your car when a tractor-trailer lost control and slammed into the back of you. Your car careened forward and struck the vehicle in front of you. You suffered multiple fractures and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). You will have to notify your automobile insurance company. You might need to reach out to the truck driver’s carrier.
The trucker’s insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to your claim. This person will likely contact you and ask you to give a recorded statement. Recorded statements are not for your benefit, even though the adjuster might say that the statement is your opportunity to tell your side of the story. The adjuster will record everything you say. He can then go through the transcript and look for reasons to deny your claim or pay you less money than you deserve.
The adjuster can take your words out of context and twist them into something you did not intend. If an adjuster asks you to provide a recorded statement, you can tell him to talk to your lawyer.
After you complete the treatment your doctor orders for your injuries, you will need to sign authorizations that give the insurer permission to obtain your medical records from the emergency room, hospital, and all of the doctors and medical professionals who treated you. Sometimes, these papers grossly overstep their bounds and ask for much more personal healthcare information than the adjuster needs. Do not sign anything without having your attorney review it for you.
If you lost time from work without pay because of the collision, your lost income can be a part of the settlement. The insurer will request permission to get the records from your boss that establish the amount of wages or salary you missed.
The claims adjuster might make a settlement offer, or he might tell you that the accident was your fault, and they will not pay you any compensation. Lowball offers and groundless denial of claims are tactics that adjusters use when playing hardball.
You do not have to go through the settlement process alone. The insurer is not allowed to contact you directly if you have a lawyer on the case.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Our California truck accident attorneys can handle the negotiations on your behalf and work to protect your legal rights.