You should generally not accept your first offer from the insurance company after a truck accident. The first offer is often a lowball offer, so it will not necessarily cover the cost of your accident-related damages. Remain patient during this process, as the first offer is likely not the last offer.
Hiring a truck accident lawyer can prove helpful and allow you to avoid the negotiating process. An attorney will determine how much money you deserve for your damages, and they will lead settlement negotiations with the insurance company.
Truck Accidents Often Require Large Financial Recoveries
Truck accidents tend to cause severe economic and non-economic damages because:
- A truck outweighs other vehicles (such as a motorcycle, car, SUV, or pickup truck) by as much as 30 times.
- Truck drivers can grow tired, resulting in high-speed accidents because a driver can’t slow down in time to avoid a collision.
- Trucks may carry dangerous cargo that contributes to the severity of a collision.
More than anything else, the immense weight of a truck causes the outsized danger of truck accidents. An object of great weight strikes another object with catastrophic results.
Knowing that truck accidents often lead to large financial recoveries, you will lose thousands of dollars if you accept a lowball offer. With more compensation at stake, a lawyer will help you in the high-stakes process of evaluating and reviewing settlement offers.
Your Attorney Will Continue Negotiating After You Decline the First Settlement Offer
Some may fear that if they reject the insurance company’s first settlement offer, they won’t have another opportunity to obtain a financial recovery. This isn’t true. If the insurance company offers a settlement, it signals they accept financial responsibility for the accident.
Negotiations will almost certainly resume after you refuse the insurance company’s first offer. Choose a capable, seasoned attorney to lead those negotiations.
You Have Leverage as the Victim of a Truck Accident, So Don’t Make Any Desperate Moves
If you are in a position to reject an insurance settlement, you have leverage. An insurance company must honor its contract, whether they are your insurer or the insurer of another person who caused your truck accident.
You may feel desperate after a truck accident because:
- Your injuries may prevent you from working, meaning you can be without the income that you sorely need
- Medical bills may be mounting, adding to your sense of financial pressure
- You may be unfamiliar with insurance claims, so you may not be confident that you’ll secure a fair settlement offer
- You may feel that the insurance company holds all the leverage, but it does not
While these feelings are normal, you should not let fear or uncertainty trigger a poor decision—specifically, accepting an unfair settlement offer. An attorney may provide a sense of calm and certainty, helping you overcome feelings of desperation by taking complete control of your case.
What Damages Should a Truck Accident-Related Insurance Settlement Cover?
While each truck accident victim’s damages differs, your truck accident lawyer may expect to find common losses:
- Pain and suffering: A truck accident causes harm that the naked eye can’t see. You may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suffer depression, anxiety (which may be specific to motor vehicles), sleep disruptions, lost quality of life, and other types of pain and suffering.
- Mental healthcare expenses: You may address your pain and suffering through various treatment courses. An attorney can seek compensation for counseling, medications, and any other mental healthcare you choose to pursue.
- Vehicle damage and other property-related expenses: If your vehicle, phone, clothing, items secured to your vehicle, or any other personal property suffered damage during the truck accident, your lawyer will seek money to repair or replace the damaged items. Vehicle repairs are likely the most costly of your property expenses.
- Medical bills: Truck accident victims should receive total financial coverage for medical bills. Whether through an insurance claim or lawsuit, your attorney will seek to ensure you don’t pay out of pocket for accident-related medical care. This includes any rehabilitation you’ll need following the treatment phase.
- Professional damages: Truck accident victims may miss work temporarily, suffer a long professional absence, have to change their career or accommodate disabilities, or may never work again. These outcomes may cause lost income, diminished earning power, missed bonuses, lost promotion opportunities, lost professional status, lost benefits, and loss of professional fulfillment.
You may have additional damages, though these are the major categories of losses in most truck accident cases. Your attorney will identify your specific losses, assign them a monetary value, and determine the value of a fair settlement.
The Cost of a Fatal Truck Accident
If your loved one passed away from injuries from a fatal truck accident, you deserve justice for surviving loved ones and the decedent you’ve lost.
Recoverable damages in a fatal truck accident case may include:
- Any pain and suffering the accident victim suffered before passing away
- Surviving loved ones’ pain and suffering
- Funeral costs
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of the decedent’s income (which may extend through retirement age)
- Loss of the decedent’s household contributions
A wrongful death always warrants a large financial recovery. Someone who has taken a loved one must be financially accountable for the unspeakable harm they’ve caused, and a lawyer will lead your pursuit of justice.
Steps Your Lawyer Will Take to Secure the Settlement You Deserve
If you hire a lawyer, expect them to handle the smallest details of your claim or lawsuit.
From the moment you hire them, your attorney and their legal team should:
- Pursue evidence with urgency: Time is critical when seeking evidence for a truck accident case. Your lawyer may file a letter of spoliation that requires a trucking company to hand over any evidence in its possession.
- Keep track of your damages: Your lawyer will obtain proof of your accident-related damages. By documenting your losses, your lawyer will show the insurance company why they’re demanding a specific settlement amount.
- Calculate a settlement value: Your attorney will summarize your losses, assign each a financial value, and total the cost of your losses. They will enter settlement negotiations with a clear, mathematically-supported figure in mind.
- Lead settlement negotiations: Your attorney will lead your side of settlement negotiations.
- Adapt your legal strategy as settlement negotiations unfold: Your attorney will soon realize whether insurance companies are negotiating in good faith. Your lawyer may prepare for trial if an insurer does not intend to offer a fair settlement.
An attorney will take the lead in your case, allowing you to focus on your physical and psychological recovery from the truck accident.
Your Lawyer Will Address Bad-Faith Tactics in a Head-on Manner
Your attorney will occupy the front lines of your case, which means interacting with the insurance company’s representatives.
Your lawyer will address any of the insurance company’s bad-faith tactics, which may include:
- Insisting that their first settlement offer is the best you’ll receive
- Refusing to recognize one or more of your accident-related losses
- Intentionally undervaluing your accident-related losses
- Being deceptive about the details of an insurance policy
- Stalling during negotiations, which may be a tactic intended to force you to accept a lowball settlement
Hopefully, the insurance company will negotiate in good faith, but this is no guarantee. An experienced lawyer will be ready to persevere no matter how difficult the negotiations.
Hire Your Truck Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible
Truck accident victims generally face a strict filing deadline for a lawsuit. If you wait too long to hire a lawyer and start your case, you may miss the filing deadline and lose an essential legal option.
Find your personal injury lawyer as soon as possible and let them get to work for you.