Most victims of a truck accident have never had to file a claim for compensation or be involved in a legal dispute before they suffered injuries due to a trucker’s negligence. So they may not realize how much their actions and words can influence their claim—both positively and negatively. Unfortunately, they may make an innocent remark or fail to take actions and inadvertently reduce the value of their claim. However, you can learn from others’ mistakes and avoid some of the common errors that could reduce the value of your claim.
What Are Common Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Claim for Compensation?
An important point to keep in mind in reviewing major mistakes that people have made in filing truck accident claims is that most of them will not ruin your case. An experienced truck accident attorney who has handled many cases has worked with clients who have made similar or worse mistakes and has strategies to limit the damage they may cause. However, if possible, you want to avoid these common errors:
- Not contacting the police. You should always contact the police and obtain a copy of the police report as you will need it when you file your claim. The police report will contain helpful information for your claim, such as the contact information for the trucker, trucking company, their insurance companies, and witnesses, and the officer’s summary of how the crash occurred. You could lose important evidence or give the insurance company reasons to argue about the seriousness of the crash by not contacting the police.
- Not seeking medical treatment. Some accident victims do not seek prompt medical care because they do not realize they were seriously injured or think the problem will go away on its own. However, this jeopardizes their health and their claim. The adrenaline of the crash can mask some symptoms, or the symptoms of some injuries can take days or weeks to develop. Even if you do not think you were hurt, you want to be checked out by your doctor within a day or two of the wreck to be certain you do not have hidden injuries and to document concerns about your health. In addition, this helps avoid an argument with the insurance company about whether you were injured in the crash or another incident.
- Not following up with medical treatment. Not following your doctor’s advice on your care or letting periods of time elapse without receiving any treatment can give the insurance company arguments that you were not injured as seriously as you claim. This is a really common mistake that victims make that causes their claims to take longer to settle and may result in the settlement being less than what they could have received.
- Agreeing to give a recorded statement. You are not required to give a recorded statement to the trucking company’s insurance adjuster to be compensated for your injuries. Many victims who give a recorded statement say something that they did not mean or that could otherwise be used by the adjuster to try to deny or reduce their claim. You always want to consult with an attorney before agreeing to give a recorded statement. He will mostly likely advise you not to agree to this.
- Signing the insurance company’s medical release. While you do have to provide medical records that document your injuries, you do not have to sign a blanket authorization for release of medical records to the insurance company. This could allow them access to irrelevant and private medical information about you. A better approach is to allow your attorney to review your medical records and provide the insurance adjuster only with the records they truly need.
- Accepting a settlement offer too early. You do not want to accept an insurance company’s initial settlement offer because it could be for far less than you are owed. You should never settle your claim until you have retained an attorney who can investigate your accident, determine the value of your claim, and negotiate your settlement for you.
- Not hiring an attorney. Many accident victims make the mistake of not hiring an attorney right away. This results in even more mistakes and limits an attorney’s ability to investigate the accident and preserve vital evidence. If at all possible, retain an attorney soon after your crash.
If you or a family member was injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, the experienced legal team at Chris Hudson & Associates are here to help you obtain the compensation you deserve—even if you have already made some of these mistakes. Contact us online or call us directly at 888.795.6262 to schedule a free consultation.