The average commercial truck weighs nearly 20 times more than a passenger vehicle. Despite strict safety regulations imposed on trucking companies and their drivers, trucking accidents remain common on our country’s roadways. Distracted driving, speeding, and driver fatigue can lead to serious accidents that far too commonly leave victims with devastating injuries.
If you or a loved one were involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you would need to contact your insurance company and report the accident. But what should and shouldn’t you say when you call? And what do you say if you are contacted by the truck driver or trucking company’s insurance?
In this article, we will explain what you should say and, equally importantly, what NOT to say to your or the other party’s insurance company to protect your rights following a serious trucking accident.
If you were injured in a big rig or 18-wheeler accident, Slater & Zurz is here to help. Our injury attorneys can handle all communication with the insurance company for you, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Filing an Insurance Claim After a Truck Accident
If you were riding in a passenger vehicle and involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer or other commercial truck, you are likely dealing with significant injuries and property damage. Under Ohio law, you, fortunately, have the right to recover your losses from the party or parties at fault for the crash. If the truck driver caused the accident, you would likely want to file a claim for damages with the driver’s insurance company or the insurance of the trucking company he or she works for.
Types of compensation you might be able to receive include:
- Medical expenses
- Costs for future medical care or rehabilitation
- Loss of past and future income
- Repair or replacement of your vehicle
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment
If you lost a loved one in a trucking accident, you might be entitled to wrongful death damages, which typically include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of inheritance
- Lost benefits
- Loss of consortium
- Lost future income
The Role of an Insurance Adjuster
Each time an accident claim is filed with an insurance company, the claim is assigned to an adjuster. The adjuster’s job is to investigate the accident, determine who or what was at fault, and negotiate a settlement for damages with the party who initiated the claim.
Adjusters aim to settle the claim as quickly as possible and save their company money for as little money as possible. When speaking with the insurance company, their intentions are extremely important to keep in mind.
What to Keep in Mind When Talking to an Insurance Company
Talking to the insurance company after an accident has its risks. Especially when you are not yet aware of the full effects of your accident, you might not yet know the full extent of your injuries, how those injuries will affect your ability to work, and ultimately how the accident will change your way of life. You might also be unaware of the full extent of the property damage that resulted from the crash.
That is why our personal injury lawyers always recommend having an attorney speak on your behalf. However, if you choose to talk to the insurance company without the assistance of an experienced injury lawyer, we urge you to keep these tips in mind.
Do not agree to give a recorded statement. When you speak to the adjuster, they will ask whether they can record your statement. Remember, you do not have to say yes. The purpose of recording you is to lock you into the details you give them, including the events of the accident, the amount of property damage you sustained, or the nature and extent of your injuries.
Stick to the facts. Try to reply using a simple “yes” or “no” when you can, and don’t volunteer any additional information. The more information you give, the better the chance you might say something that can hurt your case.
Don’t say you’re sorry. It is not uncommon for accident victims to apologize and/or take some of the blame for the accident – even when the crash was not their fault. Do not say sorry or give details about your role in the accident.
Don’t talk about your injuries. Injuries often don’t present themselves for days, weeks, or even months after a truck accident. Adrenaline and shock can easily mask symptoms of serious injuries. For this reason, it is important not to divulge information regarding your injuries immediately.
Keep track of all communication with the insurance company. Write down who you spoke to when the conversation took place and what you discussed. Know that the insurance company is doing the same thing, so keep your conversation professional and to the point.
Don’t back down. Insurance adjusters will try to get you to settle for as little as possible, so don’t be quick to accept their offer. Even if you feel the offer is fair, you might be unaware of the damages you are entitled to. That is why we highly recommend speaking with an injury lawyer to see whether you should accept the settlement, continue to negotiate, or take the matter to an Ohio court to receive full and fair compensation.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Our Ohio Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help.
Dealing with insurance companies following a trucking accident can be extremely stressful and frustrating. Let the experienced truck accident lawyers at Slater & Zurz help.
We will ensure you receive the medical care necessary to heal as fully as possible from your injuries. Once we know you are getting the care you need, we will begin our fight for justice. Our personal injury lawyers in Ohio will handle all communication with the insurance companies and any other third parties relating to your accident injury case. To learn more about pursuing compensation or how our skilled legal team can assist you in your case, call (888) 534-4850 to arrange a FREE, no-obligation case review. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have offices across Ohio, including Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo.