Filing a claim for compensation following a truck accident is complicated, and there are many pitfalls you want to avoid.
In this article, we share some of the most common mistakes that people make when filing a claim against the insurance providers for a negligent truck operator and his or her fleet company.
Top 10 Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Claim for Compensation
While few mistakes will ruin your claim, errors in handling information or sharing details can lead to more disputes with the insurance company. This might make it harder for your attorney to resolve your claim quickly and for its full value.
Here are the top 10 mistakes we see in these cases:
- Prompt medical care. If you don't seek medical attention right away, the insurance company might see this as a discrepancy in your claim regarding the cause and severity of your injuries. This is a common mistake victims make when trying to “tough it out” or they don't initially believe they were hurt but experience symptoms in the days or weeks following the wreck. Take care of your health and strengthen your claim by seeing a doctor soon after your crash, whether or not you think you were injured.
- Police report. Calling the police from the scene of a truck wreck and obtaining an official report is another must-do step that some accident victims skip. This can lead to disputes as to whether an accident occurred or caused the victim’s injuries. In addition, without a police officer's report, you'd lose potentially helpful information, such as investigation notes and determination of the cause of the crash.
- Contact information. While most accident victims know to obtain contact information from the negligent trucker, they may not get this information from witnesses to the collision. If this information isn't obtained at the scene, it could be lost forever.
- Pictures and video. If you—or someone on your behalf—doesn't take pictures or video at the crash scene, you could lose important information that helps you prove the truck driver’s negligence was the cause of the crash. This is another reason to obtain witness contact information: they may have taken pictures or video of your accident while it was occurring.
- Follow-up medical care. Not completing your recovery and treatment plans might frustrate your doctor. As a result, he or she may not be a favorable witness—something that could hurt your claim for compensation. In addition, the insurance adjuster will see the gaps in your treatment or your failure to follow your doctor’s advice in your medical records, and argue that your injuries aren't as serious as you claim.
- Recorded statement. It's never a good idea to give a recorded statement to an insurance company. You're not required to do so to settle your claim, and you could say something that inadvertently damages your case and can be used against you at court hearings and trial.
- Medical authorization. Similarly, you don't want to sign a blanket medical authorization for the insurance company. This would allow an adjuster to obtain irrelevant and private medical information about you. You shouldn't sign any documents without having them reviewed by an experienced truck accident attorney to avoid waiving important legal rights—such as your right to a lawsuit.
- Early settlement. Accepting compensation too quickly or without first consulting with a lawyer to discuss what you're fully entitled to receive is a common error in truck accident claims. Once you resolve your case, your settlement is final. It's unlikely that you can go back and request more compensation if you later discover additional injuries.
- Social media. Adjusters will search your social medial sites at various times during the claims process. If they find damaging statements or pictures showing you doing things that you're too injured to do, this could seriously weaken your claim.
- Attorney. Not hiring an attorney soon after your truck accident is a big mistake that you want to avoid. Your attorney will understand the need to send the trucking company an immediate spoliation letter to notify it of your claim and instruct it to not destroy evidence you need to prove your case. You also hamper your attorney’s ability to thoroughly investigate your claim if you wait to retain him.
Do you want to avoid these and other mistakes in your truck accident case? Call our office today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options and the best steps you can take to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries.