What to Do With the First Offer From the Insurance Company After a Truck Accident?

June 27, 2024

The immeasurable shock and disbelief you feel after a devastating truck accident has started to pass. Your vehicle is totaled, you’re in pain, and the medical bills are piling up. While you’re still reeling from the event, you receive a call from the trucking company’s insurance adjuster offering a quick settlement.

What should you do with the first offer from the insurance company after a truck accident?

After a truck accident, you must deal with severe injuries, mounting expenses, and the daunting insurance claims process. However, an experienced truck accident attorney can guide you through this challenging time and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Get your free consultation

The Severity and Consequences of Truck Accidents

Suffered a Brain Injury in a Truck AccidentTruck accidents are among the most devastating types of vehicle collisions.

The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks mean that they usually cause catastrophic damages and injuries when they crash into smaller passenger vehicles.

Truck accident survivors may suffer severe injuries like spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and internal organ damage. Sadly, some may never fully recover, and far too many die because of their truck accident injuries.

Understanding Insurance Company Offers Is Vital

After the chaos of a truck accident, dealing with insurance companies can feel like an added burden. However, how you handle communication with insurers and respond to settlement offers can significantly impact your ability to recover fair compensation.

A lawyer will understand insurance companies’ tactics and how to protect your rights.

The Importance of Consulting a Truck Accident Attorney

An experienced truck accident attorney is your greatest ally during this challenging time.

They understand the complex web of federal and state regulations governing the trucking industry and the unique aspects of truck accident cases. They can deal with insurers on your behalf, gather evidence to build a strong case, and fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you need and deserve.

If a truck crash hurts you or someone you love, contact a skilled truck accident lawyer in your area right away.

The First Offer: Expect a Quick, Low Initial Offer

It’s common for insurance companies to reach out soon after an accident with an initial settlement offer. However, this first offer is almost always much lower than what your claim is actually worth. Insurance adjusters are trained to settle claims as quickly and cheaply as possible.

The Motivation Behind Low Offers

Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible on every claim to boost their bottom line. Making a quick, low offer right after an accident is a tactic to get claimants to settle for less than they deserve before they understand the full extent of their damages.

Don’t Accept the First Offer Immediately

While the upfront cash from that first offer may be tempting, especially if you face financial strain, accepting it can be a huge mistake. Once you take that lowball offer, you waive your right to seek additional compensation later on. That’s why you need to discuss any settlement offers with an attorney before accepting.

Assess Your Damages

Before you accept any settlement offer, you must fully assess your injuries and losses. An attorney can help evaluate not only the financial costs you’ve incurred so far but also future expenses that may arise from ongoing therapy and rehabilitation or a permanent disability.

Some of the damages you can discuss recovering with your attorney’s help include:

  • Medical Expenses (Current and Future): Medical care is one of the most significant expenses after a truck accident. Even with health insurance, copays and deductibles can add up quickly. If your injuries are severe, you may need ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, medication, and assistive devices. Factor in not just your current bills but also the cost of future care.
  • Property Damage: If the truck accident damaged or totaled your car in the crash, you’ll need to get it repaired or replaced. Don’t forget to include the cost of a rental car while yours is in the shop or you’re looking for a new one.
  • Lost Income and Reduced Earning Capacity: Severe injuries often force truck accident victims to miss work for days, weeks, or even months. Your lawyer can include those lost wages in your claim. If your injuries result in a disability that impacts your ability to work moving forward, your attorney can also help you seek compensation for your reduced future earning capacity.
  • Pain and Suffering: Not all accident-related damages are economic. Most states allow truck accident victims to seek compensation for non-economic damages like physical pain and suffering. Putting a dollar figure on these subjective damages isn’t easy, but an experienced attorney can help.
  • Psychological and Emotional Issues: The trauma of a serious truck accident can have profound psychological and emotional consequences. You may struggle with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health challenges resulting from the crash and dealing with your injuries. Your attorney can seek compensation for emotional distress and any counseling or therapy you need to cope with these issues.

Remember, you can’t go back and try to get additional compensation once you accept a settlement offer. Be sure to consult an attorney and fully evaluate your damages to get all you need, both now and in the future.

Gather Evidence

Your attorney needs to prepare the strongest case possible to increase your chances of getting the most compensation from your truck accident claim.

To do that, they will gather evidence that can include:

  • Police Reports: After a truck accident, call 911. The responding officers will create an accident report detailing their observations and initial findings. This report can provide valuable evidence for your claim.
  • Medical Records and Bills: Medical records documenting your injuries and treatment, as well as bills showing the cost of your care, are key evidence in a truck accident case. Keep copies of all records and bills related to the crash.
  • Witness Statements: If there were witnesses to the accident, their statements can help prove how the crash occurred and who was at fault. Get contact information for any witnesses at the scene. Your attorney can contact them for statements later.
  • Photos of the Scene and Damage: If you can, take photos at the accident scene. Get shots of the position of the vehicles, damage to your vehicle, tire marks on the road, traffic signs and signals, and anything else that seems relevant. Photographs can be compelling visual evidence to support your case.
  • The Truck’s Black Box Data: Most commercial trucks are equipped with electronic logging devices (ELDs) and event data recorders (EDRs). Your attorney can subpoena this evidence and issue a preservation of evidence or spoilation letter to prevent the truck owner/operator from erasing or destroying the data.
  • Driver Logs and Records: Truck drivers must maintain detailed logs of their hours of service. These logs can show if the driver violated regulations or was fatigued. Your attorney can request these records during the discovery process.
  • Vehicle Maintenance Records: Trucking companies must keep their vehicles in safe working condition. Maintenance records can show if the truck owner properly serviced the vehicle. Neglected maintenance can be evidence of negligence.
  • Expert Witness Testimony: In complex cases, your attorney may enlist expert witnesses. Accident reconstruction experts can testify about how the crash occurred. Medical experts can discuss your injuries, treatment, and prognosis.

Keep a Journal

Start a journal documenting your day-to-day experiences after the accident. Write down how you feel physically and emotionally, keep track of medical appointments and therapy sessions, and discuss how your injuries affect your daily life. This journal can help your lawyer prove your pain and suffering.

Truck accident cases are complex, and evidence can disappear quickly. It’s essential to consult an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash. They can take swift action to preserve evidence and build a strong case on your behalf. The sooner you involve a skilled lawyer, the better off you’ll be.

Benefits of Working With a Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accident cases are complex. Trucking companies and their insurers have teams of lawyers working to minimize payouts. Evening the playing field requires working with a truck accident attorney who knows how to take on big trucking and insurance companies.

How an Attorney Can Help With Settlement Offers

An experienced truck accident attorney can review settlement offers and accurately assess whether they reflect the true value of your claim. If an offer is too low, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to fight for a fair settlement amount.

Choosing the Right Truck Accident Attorney

Not all personal injury attorneys have the knowledge and skills to handle truck accident cases effectively. Look for a lawyer with specific experience with commercial truck accident claims and a track record of success.

Negotiating With the Insurance Company

Let Your Attorney Handle Communication

Lawyer Negotiating With the Insurance CompanyOnce you hire a truck accident lawyer, inform the insurance company that your attorney will handle all further communication. Getting conflicting information from you and your lawyer can hurt your case. Let your attorney deal with the insurance company directly.

Prepare for a Lengthy Process

Negotiating a fair settlement can take time, especially if your injuries are severe. The insurance company may make multiple offers before reaching an acceptable figure. Be patient and rely on your attorney’s guidance.

You May Need to Provide More Information

As negotiations unfold, the insurance company may request additional documentation. Provide your attorney with any requested information promptly. The sooner your lawyer gets what they need, the sooner they can work to resolve your case.

Settlement vs. Lawsuit

Most truck accident cases end in settlements. This means the insurance company agrees to pay a sum in exchange for you agreeing not to pursue further legal action.

Settling allows you to avoid the time, expense, and uncertainty of a trial. However, the settlement offer must truly account for all your damages.

When Filing a Lawsuit May Be Necessary

In some cases, the insurance company simply refuses to make a fair settlement offer. If this happens, your attorney may advise you that filing a personal injury lawsuit is the best way to pursue the compensation you deserve. Your attorney can file the lawsuit and represent you throughout the litigation process.

Listen to Your Attorney’s Guidance

Without the proper legal training and experience, you may not know when a settlement offer is fair or when it makes sense to file a lawsuit. Rely on your attorney’s knowledge and guidance. They can fully explain your options and offer a professional opinion on the best path forward.

Get Help From an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Now

Don’t jeopardize your right to fair compensation by accepting an insurance company’s lowball first offer. Let the experienced personal injury attorneys at Grife Law Firm guide you through the claims process and fight hard for the maximum compensation you deserve.

We have decades of combined legal experience and a proven record of securing outstanding verdicts and settlements for our clients. We’ll review your case at no cost, answer your questions, and provide you with the personalized guidance and support you need to successfully navigate the truck accident claims process with confidence.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. You won’t pay us anything upfront to handle your case, and we won’t accept attorney fees unless we secure compensation for you.