You have been involved in a collision with an 18 wheeler, or other commercial truck that caused serious injury to you or someone you love. You are going through a traumatic time in your life. You or your loved one has been seriously injured. Your vehicle has been destroyed. You or your loved one has been out of work since the date of the collision. Your income has stopped or partially stopped, or is threatened to be stopped due to the injury. With all this devestation to your life, you are just thankful that the police provided you with the insurance company information of the trucking company . . . you are thinking “the insurance company for the at fault trucker will help – surely. It can’t get any worse – we must have hit bottom by now. I know they can’t give back our health instantly, but at least in the next week or two they will be issuing checks to at least alleviate the financial woes that this collision has caused . . .”
Those are the thoughts of most people after a collision. They go into dealing with a commercial trucking company’s insurance company assuming that they will do “what is right”. That everything financially will be taken care of by the insurance company. Unfortunately, this assumption is wrong. Insurance companies are not in business to pay claims. They are in business to collect premiums and pay as little claims as possible – meaning that if they can find an excuse to outright deny your claim – they will do so.
The first thing an insurance adjuster looks for is “coverage”. What this means is that if they can find any reason at all to deny coverage – they will do so. This avoids having to pay the claim at all. Reasons to avoid coverage include – non payment of premiums, unlisted vehicle, unlisted driver, driver not working for company listed on insurance policy (freelancing), intentional acts on the part of the truck driver (road rage – if he intentionally ran into you, they wont pay).
The next thing an insurance adjuster looks for is “liability”. Who was at fault? Was their driver the cause of the collision? Was some “phantom” vehicle the cause – someone who cut off their trucker and caused him to swerve into you? Was it an act of nature or God? (like rain or ice that caused it?). Did YOU do something to cause the collision – or did you NOT do something that you could have done to avoid the collision? Could you have swerved out of the way? Could you have sped up to move out of the way? Could you have braked to avoid? Did you sound your horn to warn him? Were you driving in his “blind spot”? Did you slam on your brakes suddenly? Did someone ahead of you slam on their brakes suddenly? The list goes on and on. If they can blame any part of the collision on anyone other than themselves – rest assured, that reason will suddenly be their main focus and their only reason for why the collision occurred. All the other reasons that point the blame at their truck driver will then be ignored as though they never happened.
You will ask “Shouldn’t your driver have been driving slower in that type of traffic?” “He didn’t look to make sure the lane was clear?” “He hit me in the rear when all other traffic was able to stop without hitting anyone, doesn’t this show he is at fault?” “Nobody else lost control on the wet roadway until he slammed into everyone else, why is it the fault of nature or God when everyone else knew to slow down in those conditions?” . . .
Your common sense pleas very often fall on deaf ears when dealing with insurance adjusters – they will insist that you should have gotten out of their way, should have been on a better lookout for what their truck was doing, that the weather was the cause of their truck hitting you – regardless of the fact that he was the only one who lost control, and that this shows you are to blame or at least that their driver is blameless.
You soon realize that you need a lawyer. You are correct. You do need an attorney. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security just because the trucking company has an insurance adjuster talking to you. The adjuster’s job is not to pay you what you are owed. His job is to pay you as little as he can get away with – including nothing if possible.