As the victim of a truck accident, you may believe your case is fairly cut and dry. The truck driver was clearly at fault, so why should you have to tread carefully?
Two words: insurance companies.
When you file a claim with the truck driver’s insurance company, the insurer will do everything in its power to deny your claim or reduce your payout. But knowing the common truck accident mistakes to avoid can help you thwart these efforts and maximize your compensation.
Avoid these seven common mistakes in the aftermath of your tractor-trailer accident.
1. Not Calling the Police
If the accident damage appears minor or you feel sympathetic toward the driver, you may think a police report isn’t necessary. The truck driver’s insurance will know what happened even without a report — right?
Not exactly. You can’t trust that the truck driver will relay the correct details to their insurance company. Having a police officer create a report is a safeguard to ensure unbiased, factual information about the accident is available to the insurance company and courts. Always call for police assistance.
2. Saying Too Much
In the stress of the accident, you may say something you don’t mean to say when talking to the truck driver, police officer, or insurance company. To avoid these truck accident mistakes, keep the conversation to a minimum and answer questions as clearly and directly as you can. Consider having an attorney present to assist you during your recorded statement.
For example, saying “I’m sorry,” or any variation of an apology after the accident could make it seem like you are admitting fault. Talking about how you weren’t paying attention, didn’t see the truck coming, or don’t know what happened can also create a bad impression.
3. Not Taking Photos
You may assume the police officer will take all the necessary photos after the accident, but you can never have too many photos. If you’re able, walk around the accident scene and take pictures from every angle. Snap close-up shots and photos that capture the entire scene, including the truck and trailer. The more photos you take, the more evidence the insurance company will have to work with.
4. Not Getting Medical Treatment
The shock of the accident may lead you to overlook potentially severe injuries. Even if you initially feel okay, seek medical attention within 24 to 48 hours after the accident. Doing so can:
- Make sure you don’t miss injuries that require immediate medical treatment
- Provide you with written documentation of your injuries and medical bills to turn in with your claim
5. Scheduling Repairs Too Quickly
You probably want to fix your vehicle as soon as possible so you can begin moving forward after the accident, but you should avoid scheduling repairs until you hear from the insurance company. The insurer may need to examine the vehicle in person or conduct a damage analysis as part of the claims process.
6. Accepting the First Settlement Offer
When the insurance company accepts your claim and provides a settlement offer, you may be tempted to take the money and run. But what if it isn’t enough to cover all your medical bills and repair costs? Instead, review the offer closely with an attorney and negotiate for a higher payout if necessary.
7. Not Hiring an Attorney
You probably aren’t a legal professional, which means you’re vulnerable to these and many other truck accident mistakes that could compromise your claim. Hiring an attorney can help you navigate your claim smartly and improve your outcomes.
Are you looking for an experienced accident attorney in Texas? Call Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C., at 432-335-0399 today.