​What to Do on Your First Offer From the Insurance Company Truck Accident

Being in a truck accident can create much stress in different areas of your life. The recovery process is extensive and usually involves physical, mental, emotional, and financial aspects. The suffering the victim and their loved ones must endure can make determining what to do next challenging. There are steps to take to protect your rights, and one of the most important things to know is what to do when dealing with insurance companies and settlement offers.

The general population doesn’t know insurance company rules, regulations, and conduct. It can be easy to fall victim to their techniques to preserve as much money as possible for the company. Most people believe that an insurance company is there to help them, when in reality, the insurer’s priority is limiting payouts to increase profits.

When you accept a low settlement, the insurance company “wins.” Sadly, many people accept the first offer without knowing what they deserve or seeking legal guidance. This can put them in a challenging financial position for years to come.

When you receive an initial offer from an insurance company for truck accident losses, never accept it without consulting with a truck accident attorney first.

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Insurance Agencies Are for-Profit Businesses

Million Dollar Advocates ForumOne of the most important things to remember when dealing with insurance companies is that they are for-profit businesses. A for-profit business means that making and retaining as much money as possible is the company’s goal.

Conclusively, insurance companies are not in the interest of giving payouts to customers for claims and settlements. Insurance companies desire to settle cases for as little money as possible, hoping the individual is so desperate that they will agree to a low settlement on the first offer. Thus, their initial offer will usually be far less than what the victim deserves.

You May Have Worse Injuries Than You Think

One with accepting the initial settlement offer is that you likely had insufficient time to gauge the full extent of the injuries and damages. Remember to take adequate time to seek medical treatment and get a full idea of your future treatment needs.

Before accepting an insurance company’s settlement offer, any victim of an accident must:

  • Receive a clear and detailed diagnosis of your physical condition and prognosis for recovery.
  • Speak with an experienced attorney about the likely present and future medical costs associated with the doctor’s assessment.

If you get some medical treatment and accept a settlement, you might pay your existing medical bills and think you can move on. But what happens if you require another surgery? What if your symptoms return and you need more treatment? If you did not factor future costs into your settlement, you will need to cover these on your own.

Once you accept an amount, you cannot adjust it in the future when you discover is was insufficient. Always allow an attorney to review an offer before you decide.

You May Seek Compensation From Multiple Sources

Insurance policies typically have a dollar-value limit that sets the maximum amount of money the companies can pay as a settlement. You must know the defendant’s insurance policy limits because an insurance company may not disclose that they hold more than one insurance policy that can cover the victim’s injuries. Additionally, the liable party may have a wealth of assets they can use to pay the victim’s damages out-of-pocket.

In truck accidents, the driver is usually not the only liable party. If the accident happened when the driver was working, the driver’s employer might also share responsibility. Trucking companies typically have deeper pockets, meaning more money, to pay settlements than individual drivers.

The plaintiff may be unaware of other parties who share liability, so accepting the first offer from an insurance company can risk receiving total compensation for the damages. Your accident attorney can help you identify and hold each responsible party accountable for your injuries.

Settlements Are Final

Settlement payments come with various contingencies. The most significant contingency is that the plaintiff loses the right to sue the defendant or defendants once they accept a settlement. A settlement agreement may even require giving up the rights to seek compensation from other liable parties.

These agreements are permanent and irreversible in most situations. There is no second bite at the apple. Once an accident plaintiff accepts an offer, there is no going back to renegotiate, even if new damages or injuries present themselves. You must ensure your injuries are fully treated before accepting a settlement offer.

Responding to the Insurance Company’s First Offer

The best way to respond to the initial offer is to treat the case like an open investigation and prepare to make a counteroffer. Working with an experienced accident attorney is the best way to create a compelling counteroffer. An experienced attorney has the knowledge to take stock of the initial settlement offer, help determine an amount for a satisfactory settlement, and decide when it is appropriate to make a counteroffer.

A victim can assist their attorney in this process when they:

Gather Evidence

Evidence plays a crucial role in every truck accident injury case. Attorneys use evidence to accurately determine who is liable for the accident and show why their client deserves compensation for their damages. Viable evidence can include pictures, videos, witness statements, physician statements regarding the necessary medical treatments, a copy of the official police report, etc. Attorneys use these tools to ensure the settlement process goes smoothly and ends successfully.

Continue Medical Treatments

One of the most significant components of damages in a truck accident is medical expenses. Always continue with all treatment plans. Discontinuing treatment can give the insurance company space to suggest that the sustained injuries are not severe or caused by another person or entity other than their insured.

Watch What You Say

Every victim can refuse communication with the liable party’s insurance company without their lawyer being present. However, if you have a conversation before seeking counsel, it is best to stick to the facts of the accident and never to concede an apology or admit fault.

What not just what you say, but your actions. Insurance companies use many tactics to catch a victim in a questionable situation. It is best to avoid posting pictures on social media where there is an appearance of joy and happiness while engaging in physical activities.

Finally, it is best to notify coworkers, friends, and family that the insurance company will attempt to contact them to get any information they can about the victim. Any loved one should refuse contact with the insurer.

Refrain From Signing Documents

You must sign an agreement to accept a settlement. It is in the victim’s best interest to consult with their experienced truck accident attorney before signing anything. There may be details that are not easily understood or in your favor, so the attorney can assist you in understanding these things.

Tactics to Lowball Victims

You can expect the insurance company’s initial offer to be low. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that want to see if the victim will take the bait for a lowball settlement offer. Below is a list of tactics insurance companies might use to convince claimants to accept lowball offers.

Pre-existing Conditions

If the insurance company becomes aware that the victim sustained an injury before the accident, they will argue that the accident did not cause the present injury. The insurance company will try hard to prove that something else caused your injury.

Age

This tactic is usually for older victims. The more we age, the more the body is susceptible to injury. The insurance agency may try to suggest the victim’s injuries were already present before the accident or due to the natural aging process.

Credibility

If the insurance company discovers that the victim was not truthful about any parts of the accident, they may use this to discourage a potential jury from trusting the victim. Presenting evidence is best for the defense to shatter the victim’s credibility.

How to Calculate Settlements

The summation of the damages available in a truck accident is divided into three categories, economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic Damages

These damages stem from financial expenses. They include the tangible losses present after a car accident.

Examples of economic damages can include:

  • Current and future medical treatment, including rehabilitative care and the cost of medical equipment
  • Current and future lost income, including lost earning capacity, which is the inability to return to work in the same capacity as before the accident

Non-Economic Damages

These damages are usually more abstract and more difficult to account for. The help of a truck accident attorney can help victims prove these losses.

Examples of non-economic damages can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Permanent injuries
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Have an Attorney Review the Details of the Offered Settlement

Once the insurance company offers a settlement, reviewing the details with an attorney carefully is vital. Your lawyer’s experience makes them mindful of what they should and should not cover.

Once you review the offer, compare what the insurance company covered to what you and your attorney requested in the demand letter. Carefully comparing the details ensures no entitled damages are excluded from the final settlement.

If the insurance company’s offer is insufficient, your lawyer can make a counteroffer. With a counteroffer, the attorney may provide additional evidence to support a higher amount.

If the Victim Rejects a Settlement

If a victim finds the insurance company’s settlement insufficient, they can reject it. Often, rejecting an offer is the first step to ensuring you receive a fair outcome. The insurance company will see you mean business.

Above all, the duration and complexity of the truck accident settlement negotiations will depend on the severity of the sustained injuries, the liability for the accident, and the insurance coverage limitations. Rejecting a less-than-satisfactory settlement will usually spur a longer negotiation process.

Prepare for a Trial

In most cases, the victim and the liable party’s insurer can reach an agreement without the case going to trial. In some cases, the parties cannot reach an agreement, and the case must go to court. In a trial, a judge or jury will decide on your claim.

If the case reaches this point, you must know what to expect. Specifically for truck accidents, a case may go to trial when damages exceed an insurance policy’s limitations. An experienced attorney may suggest that you pursue the remaining damages in court.

In a truck accident trial, you can expect testimony from eyewitnesses, expert witnesses, and yourself if your team decides to put you on the stand. You may see motions in court if applicable. Your attorney will make an opening statement and closing argument on your behalf. The jury will deliberate at the end of the trial and render a verdict. The entire process follows strict procedural rules, so you need an experienced litigator handling your case.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today

Tatiana Boohoff, Lawyer for Motorcycle Accident cases near Tampa area.
Tatiana Boohoff, Truck Accident Attorney

A truck accident can devastate the victim and their loved ones, and the recovery process can be grueling and expensive. The bills start piling up quickly after an accident. Many accident victims want to know how to get a settlement offer from an insurance company, and once they receive an offer, they want to know if it is the best they can get.

Every accident victim must know what to do when dealing with an insurance company, specifically regarding initial settlement offers. While getting a quick settlement check might seem convenient and fortunate, accepting the first offer is usually the worst thing you can do for your future.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a commercial truck accident, contact a personal injury attorney to start on your road to physical, mental, emotional, and financial recovery.

June 17, 2023
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