How Should I Deal With The Trucking Company's Insurance?
If you've suffered a serious injury from a truck accident you are better off getting an attorney involved. Basically the insurance companies and the trucking companies will try to take advantage of the normal person, because they know the value of your claim and they know that you do not.
Without the expertise of an attorney or the authority of a court the trucking company will not want to disclose vital information that may affect the value of your case. For instance, if you discover that the truck driver that the trucking company hired is a felon, is a person that have bunch of wrecks, is a guy that's been fired from a bunch of jobs because he's been falsifying his logs, the value the case just went up. It's really not a fair fight to have a regular person dealing with these insurance company adjusters and trying to settle the case, and many lawyers will at least give you some free advice. It's worth calling somebody on the phone and talking to them before you settle.
There is always legal language in these settlement documents that the trucking company's insurance wants you to sign. For example, in Louisiana, let's say there were two cars involved in a wreck. One of them was just an automobile, that only had a $30,000 policy. The other one is an 18-wheeler with a much larger insurance policy. If you settle with the automobile, but don't reserve your rights against the trucking company by insisting on specific language in the settlement agreement, you could be unable to file against the trucking company. Those are some landmines to look out for, and just another reason to contact an attorney and get some free advice.
What Happens if the Trucking Company Denies Liability in a Trucking Accident Case?
If the trucking company denies liability in an accident case, we typically file the lawsuit and then we send out discovery, which is a series of questions. Why do you say it's not these people's fault, why do you say it's not the fault of your driver, why do you say it's somebody else's fault? In the meantime, we send them document requests for your accident reports, the driver's log books, the event module data, any witness statements that they have, pictures, and any internal emails and text messages that they have relating to the incident and the court will insist that they provide these documents.Many times the line that the insurance adjuster has given you when you are trying to work out a settlement before a suit is contrary to what is in their own documents.
Sometimes their own documents or emails will admit that they are at fault, and they are the ones that did something wrong. Many times, they discipline their own drivers for doing the wrong thing. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, most significant wrecks have to be analyzed to determine whether it was a "Preventable Accident." Many times, in their own documents, they'll say that their own truck driver could have prevented the accident if he slowed down, or applied his breaks more quickly, or used his blinker, or wasn't going so fast in the first place.
What Damages Can Someone Recover in a Trucking Accident Case?
The types of damages that someone can recover in a trucking accident case are generally lost wages, medical bills, and what are often called "general damages". General damages include pain and suffering, physical impairments, mental anguish, and in rare cases punitive or exemplary damages. Most cases revolve around wage loss and medical bills, so it's important to document these carefully. There are cases where there are amputations or burns, or somebody has to go through a back surgery over a wreck, where there is significant amount awarded for pain and suffering, but the main damages that everybody starts off with are the medical bills and the lost wages. In most cases these provable damages are used to estimate the general damages.
How Does the Jury or a Trucking Company Value a Trucking Accident Claim?
The value of a truck accident claim starts with provable damages such as lost wages and medical bills. In most cases these provable damages are used to estimate the general damages such as pain and suffering.
Sometimes in very significant injuries, a vocational rehabilitation expert will be hired. They'll work with the doctor to look at future medical expenses, and even put together what they call life care plan. For example, if someone has to get a knee replacement and they are not able to really walk around as well anymore, they might need a walker. In the house, they may need certain devices installed to make it easier for them to get around. Some expenses, such as prostheses, don't last forever and they will need to be replaced at some point in time. Additionally, these life care plans look at medication that will be needed out into the future. These are some other damages, in addition of the wage loss and medical bills, which can be looked at.
For more information on Dealing With Trucking Company's Insurance, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (281) 819-3746 today.
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