Failing to contact an attorney right after a truck accident could be a mistake. There are several issues that may arise in handling evidence and dealing with insurance companies following an accident, so it is important to follow the advice of a qualified truck accident lawyer when dealing with insurance companies after a Western PA truck accident. Retaining experienced legal counsel could improve your chances of a successful claim.
Why is it Bad to Admit Fault?
Admitting fault at the scene of a truck accident in Western PA or Indiana, PA is often a mistake because that statement cannot be taken back, whether it is stated verbally or in written form. If an accident victim has admitted to being at fault, that makes establishing negligence in truck accident cases very difficult on the part of the other party. When it comes to both discussions at the scene, and in calls with insurance companies after leaving the scene, less is often more.
Typically, an insurance adjuster will call the victim almost immediately after an accident and ask to take a recorded statement. Lawyers often advise victims to not give a recorded statement for several reasons. For example, many insurance adjusters will ask one-sided questions that are designed to minimize their client’s fault and put the blame on the other person.
When a person is asked an unfair or misleading question, it is virtually impossible to give an answer that will not hurt his or her case. Insurance adjusters often record these statements and, in a deposition or a trial, the lawyer for the insurance company could use that recording to try to hold things against the victim.
Mistakes Made with Another Driver’s Insurance Company
Insurance adjusters may ask one-sided questions that are designed to minimize their client’s liability as well as minimize the victim’s injuries. If this conversation transpires between only the defendant’s insurance adjuster and the truck accident victim on the phone, an injury attorney is unable to assist.
Once a claim is reported to an insurance company, there will be an adjuster assigned to that case. These adjusters will know the names of all the parties involved and typically have access to the police report when conducting their investigations. There is no requirement that victims give statements to insurance companies, and it is very often recommended that they do not.
Accepting a Check
The other driver’s insurance company might offer a check to settle a claim quickly. However, after settling a truck accident case, it is settled forever. Often, an offer of a quick settlement is made before an injury victim can even fully appreciate the extent of their injuries and other losses – such as extended absences of work during recovery from injuries and surgery. Insurance companies make their money by collecting premiums and not paying out claims, so they have a direct incentive to pay as little as possible for a claim.
Insurance adjustors will make very small settlement offers to clients to dispose of the claim early in the case. While a plaintiff may be tempted to accept it, the individual may not be fully recovered, so it is often impossible to assess the value of the claim because the extent of the injuries may not be known.
That check almost always requires a written release that could extinguish all claims that an individual has as a result of the accident, because a case may only be settled one time. It cannot be reopened if a plaintiff determines that he or she needs future treatment, or that his or her truck accident damages are greater than were originally thought.
How is Using Social Media a Mistake?
Another mistake people in Western PA and Indiana, PA often make after being involved in a truck accident is social media use. An individual may make posts on social media about the accident and his or her injuries, which is an inherently bad idea because that could be used as evidence against him or her in the case.
A plaintiff might also post pictures after an accident of activities that may not paint his or her case in the most positive light. Insurance companies could use these posts to prove that the injuries are not as severe as presented or simply to attempt to portray the injury victim in a negative light.
Importance of Contacting an Attorney
An experienced attorney could help navigate the initial steps in dealing with a truck accident by taking on the role of handling all the legal and investigative tasks, so that the victim may focus on treating his or her injuries. Legal counsel in Western PA could deal with all the insurance companies after a serious truck accident. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys.