So here's the scenario: you've had an unfortunate collision with a large truck. Shortly after the crash, the insurance adjuster for the trucker who hit you calls and sounds apologetic and accommodating. It may appear that you will do fine negotiating with him, especially if he makes a quick settlement offer. He may even assure you that you do not need to hire an attorney.
This should set off alarm bells. The insurance adjuster is not working for your best interests. He only wants to be fair to his employer by paying you as little as possible. Your best response is to tell the adjuster that your attorney will be in touch—then contact an experienced truck crash attorney who can get you the compensation you deserve.
Why Settling a Case on Your Own Is a Bad Idea
Even if you do not believe you were seriously injured, avoid quickly settling your case. To receive fair compensation, be patient and consider the following:
- Know the extent of your injuries. After a truck accident, it can take days, weeks, or even months to know the severity of your injuries. These include damage to your back, neck, knees, or spine; internal bleeding; or traumatic brain injury. Treatment for such conditions can be complex, and may take a year or more to complete. You do not want to settle your case until you know the true extent of your injuries, your final prognosis, and your total damages. Once you settle your case, it is over, and you cannot ask for any more compensation. An experienced attorney will understand when the time is right to negotiate a settlement.
- Evaluate whether a settlement is fair. You are at a serious disadvantage if you try to settle your case on your own. What seems like a fair offer could be significantly less than what you are entitled to. While you may be able to figure out the amount of your medical bills and lost wages, you do not have experience to assign value to your pain and suffering compensation. An attorney will know how much your truck crash case is really worth and how to obtain this amount from the insurance company.
- Determine when to sign a release. In order to receive a settlement, the insurance adjuster will require you to first sign a release of your claims in exchange for compensation. Even if you are just settling for the property damage to your vehicle, the signed release waives all additional claims against the trucker and his insurance company—some of which you may not know. Before you sign on the dotted line, consult with an attorney who can review the release and advise you if the settlement is in your best interests.
At The Hart Law Firm, our seasoned truck accident attorneys are experienced in negotiating with truck companies' insurance adjusters and are not afraid to file a lawsuit if the settlement offers are not fair. Start an online chat today or call us at (817) 380-4888 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation before you agree to a settlement.