After A Truck Accident, Be Wary Of Insurance Company Tactics
Trucking companies are insured by commercial policies that can be worth millions of dollars. Therefore, when a truck accident occurs, the insurer’s top priority is defending its own bottom line by limiting a payout or denying the claim altogether.
Commercial insurers are well-funded and have considerable legal resources at their disposal. They will go to great lengths to gain legal advantages unless stopped by an experienced plaintiffs’ attorney. At Kent M. Lucaccioni, Ltd., we have helped countless clients protect themselves against the misleading and dishonest tactics insurers are likely to use after a truck accident to limit their own liability. Some of those tactics are described below.
Using Your Own Words Against You
Not long after a serious accident, you may get a call from the trucking company’s insurer wanting you to answer some “basic questions.” Anything you tell them might be used against you later if they can:
- Get you to say or imply that you were partially or primarily at fault for the crash
- Get you to say or imply that you are not seriously injured
- Get you to give information or say something that is inconsistent with previous statements or the details of the accident report
They will likely try to get an official statement from you or record the call. You do not have to consent to either request.
They may also try to give the impression that you are legally obligated to talk to them right now, but you aren’t. You can refuse to give any information until you’ve had a chance to speak to a lawyer. When you have a lawyer, you can ask the insurer to contact them directly.
Talking You Out Of A Lawyer And Into A Quick Settlement
If the insurance company says that you “don’t need a lawyer” or that they want to help you out by settling your case quickly, you should be immediately suspicious. You have a right to legal counsel, and you shouldn’t accept any settlement offer without having the chance to discuss it with an attorney. The initial offer is likely to be far lower than the value of your claim.
Claiming You Were At Fault For The Crash
Illinois recognizes a legal principal known as modified comparative negligence. This means that after a truck accident, you have the right to sue for compensation so long as you were less than 50 percent at fault for the crash. If you win or settle your case, your compensation will be reduced by your level of fault. If you were deemed to be 15 percent at fault for the crash, for instance, you would still be entitled to 85 percent of your total damages in a settlement or jury trial.
Insurers will likely try to get you to admit some fault for the crash during those initial phone conversations mentioned above. They may ask you questions about your role in the crash designed to increase your level of fault and decrease the defendant’s liability. Remember: You do not have to talk to them before speaking to a lawyer, and you can refer them directly to your lawyer if you have one.
Stalling Tactics And Misinformation
Some insurers try to gain an advantage by misstating policy coverages, misstating the law or by taking an unreasonably long time to process your claim. These tactics are meant to wear you out by convincing you that seeking compensation simply isn’t worth it. Companies cannot get away with these tricks (and are less likely to try them in the first place) if they know you have an attorney representing you.
Let Our Attorneys Fight For You. Contact Us And Get Started For Free.
At Kent M. Lucaccioni, Ltd., we are not afraid of insurance companies, and we don’t tolerate their attempts to trick, mislead or bully truck accident victims. Instead of letting them dictate the process, you can let our attorneys fight for you and protect your rights. To take advantage of a free initial consultation, call us in Chicago at 877-930-2551. You can also fill out our online contact form.