Truck accidents were responsible for over 4,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries last year.
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, filing an accident claim is one of the most important things to do. This is the only way to recover the cost of your hospital bills, the time you’ve missed from work, and the pain and suffering you’ve dealt with.
A successful truck accident claim starts with understanding what not to do. In this post, we’re going to look at 7 of the most common truck accident claim errors and how to avoid them.
With the right intent, evidence, and a good lawyer by your side, there’s no reason you can’t be well-compensated for your injuries. Keep reading and learn how to do it the right way by learning from past people’s mistakes.
1. Not Seeking Medical Attention
Whether or not you feel like you’ve been injured in the accident, you have to seek medical attention. When it comes to a commercial truck accident injury, you can be sure that the company and its insurer are going to do everything they can to minimize the payout they have to give you.
If you don’t have immediate proof of your injuries, they’ll claim that you’re faking or at the very least, exacerbating them. Not having obvious broken bones or dislocations doesn’t mean that you’re not injured.
See a doctor right away for diagnostic tests. Not only is this important for your recovery, but it’s really important for ensuring that your claim starts off on an even footing.
2. Failing To File a Police Report
Leaving the scene of a major accident without filing a police report isn’t just a legal faux pas; it’s going to hurt your claim in a big way. If you’re hurt, you need all of the evidence you can get that the injuries were the result of the truck driver’s negligence.
Without a police report, it’ll be hard to prove anything. The insurance adjuster could claim that the accident was your fault or that it didn’t even happen. You need to talk to the police and give your version of events at the scene, or you’ll regret it later on.
A police report will contain important details, like the cause of the crash and the details of witnesses and other drivers. All of this comes in handy throughout the claims process.
3. Going On Social Media
This mistake is unique to today’s truck accident victims, but it’s something that can sink your claim from the start. You have to stay off of social media while your claim is being filed and the settlement negotiated.
If you go posting on Facebook or Instagram and it seems like your injuries aren’t all that serious, the insurance company can use it against you. You have to maintain a level of professionalism if you’re going to maximize your payout.
It feels natural these days to share what’s going on in our lives with our social media friends and followers. Once you post something, however, you don’t own it anymore. There are plenty of examples of thoughtless social media posts tanking a settlement.
4. Forgetting to Collect Evidence
There are certain things you should always do at the scene of any car accident. Of course, the first thing to do is make sure you and the other driver(s) are all conscious and healthy, then get the cars out of the way to prevent further danger.
After that, however, it’s important to collect as much evidence as you can that can help your case. Take lots of pictures of your car, the truck that hit you, and anything that might tell the story.
When you’re filling out truck accident claim documents, the more details you have, the better. Get the driver’s name, the plate number on the truck, and any other contacts from the company.
5. Making a Statement
If you end up talking to an insurance adjuster around the time of the accident, be careful what you say. It’s not uncommon for accident victims to say things that end up hurting their claim.
For the same reason that you shouldn’t post on social media, you shouldn’t speak to insurance companies. All you have to do is decline to comment on the legal proceedings until you’ve consulted with your lawyer.
Likewise, if an insurer asks you to sign a medical authorization, refuse it. They shouldn’t have access to your medical records.
6. Accepting an Early Settlement
When you’re in a truck accident, there’s going to be a lot more at stake than most other types of car accidents. A commercial vehicle has a lot more money tied to it and a lot more to lose, which the insurance company won’t want to pay out.
They’re almost guaranteed to offer you a lowball settlement, especially if you don’t have a lawyer yet. It might seem like a lot of money, but you should never accept an early settlement. There’s more to be gained by consulting a legal expert to help you with your claim.
7. Not Hiring an Attorney
Trying to take on a company without the help of a personal injury lawyer is going to result in a small settlement. The truck company and its insurer are going to have powerful legal teams that understand the ins and outs of the legal system. You’ll be at a severe disadvantage without a lawyer.
What a lawyer brings to the table is knowledge. Through previous experience, they’ll have a good idea of what your claim is worth and what you should settle for. They’ll also help you through the claim filing process and prevent you from missing the claim filing deadline.
Most truck accident cases are settled out of court, but if you’re being lowballed, a lawyer will see your claim through to the end. Hiring a lawyer is your best chance at maximizing your settlement.
Don’t Make Truck Accident Claim Errors
If you can avoid making these crucial truck accident claim errors, you should be in for a great payday. As long as you and your lawyer have all of the necessary documents and evidence to prove your injuries and the losses that resulted from them, there’s no reason you can’t win your settlement and put the whole debacle behind you.
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