Tricks Truck Companies Use to Avoid Paying Compensation
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Mar 28, 2019 in Auto Accident
The hours and days after a truck accident are a confusing time for victims. They are in pain, they need medical treatment, they probably cannot work and may be trying to figure out how to pursue compensation for their damages.
Trucking companies know this and they have a lot of tricks up their sleeve they will use to attempt to deny or devalue your claim or simply delay compensating you. You should educate yourself on these tricks to prepare yourself and avoid falling for them.
The Portland truck accident lawyers at Rizk Law are very familiar with these sneaky tactics and can help you anticipate them. We can also work with you to try to secure the full compensation you deserve.
Asking for a Recorded Statement Right Away
One trick that insurance companies and truck companies may try is to get you to give a recorded statement right away. The adjuster may call and explain that the insurance company just needs this statement, so they can get you the settlement money.
The trucking company and insurance adjusters know you may be under the influence of pain medication at the time of this accident or may want to get off the phone quickly. They are hoping this will make you more likely to agree to give the statement. You should be aware that the adjuster’s goal in getting a recorded statement is to try to trick you into saying something that will hurt your case and lower the value of your claim.
You are not required to provide this statement. You can ask for legal help and ask your lawyer to communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. A lawyer knows how to defend your rights and not hurt the value of your claim.
Offering You Compensation Immediately
In some situations where the insurance company may find it difficult to deny your claim altogether, it may instead offer you compensation immediately. This is so that you will accept a settlement offer before you have the time to hire a lawyer and determine the full extent of your injuries. However, this offer will often be much lower than the true value of your claim.
It is important not to accept an offer that an insurance company makes or sign anything before talking to a lawyer. An experienced lawyer can explain whether the offer fairly compensates you for all damages suffered.
Tampering with Evidence
Today’s commercial trucks maintain important electronic data that is stored and able to be accessed after an accident. This data can provide illuminating information for your claim, including how fast the trucker was driving, how many hours he or she had logged, the times he or she applied the brakes, and other relevant information. The trucking company may try to immediately erase this data. They may also have the vehicles quickly repaired so that the damage is no longer visible.
Another common way trucking companies will alter evidence in truck accidents is by adjusting the logs to try to hide how many hours a driver spent on the road in the days leading up to the accident. Fatigue is a known risk factor for commercial truck drivers, so the company may try to hide the fact that the driver was tired by changing the logs to show that he or she had recently worked fewer hours.
Truck companies may also claim to have lost GPS data, electronic logs or other evidence that shows the driver was speeding, had a history of accidents, was texting or was taking part in some other unsafe driving behavior.
Even if the truck company does not engage in these unethical practices, it is not likely to hand over evidence that is damaging to its case or that may expose it to liability. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon after an accident as possible so that he or she can take steps to preserve important evidence in your case.
Instructing the Driver Not to Undergo Drug or Alcohol Testing
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that three percent of fatally injured large truck drivers in 2016 had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent.
Truck companies are aware of the potential liability that can result after a drunk-driving or drug-impaired crash and may try to dodge this liability by ordering truck drivers to avoid taking a drug or alcohol test or by “losing contact” with the driver until several hours have lapsed and his BAC has gone down.
Even though trucking companies are subject to strict federal guidelines that require drug and alcohol testing after an accident, the fine that the company would be subject to is much less than the potential financial liability if it can be proven the accident was caused by an impaired truck driver.
Delaying the Legal Process
The insurance company knows that many people are not prepared for the financial consequences that are often the result of a truck accident, such as mounting medical bills and lost time from work. They often take advantage of this situation by offering an accident victim less money than they deserve. Accident victims may think that the amount is fair or may be worried about a long, drawn-out battle while they are already facing physical and financial limitations, so they often accept this lowball offer.
In other situations, the insurance company may try to delay the process as much as possible so that the victim eventually gets frustrated and accepts whatever offer is made.
Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Rizk Law Now
When a truck crash occurs, victims need skilled assistance from a knowledgeable attorney for a variety of reasons. An experienced lawyer will know how to protect your best interests, including fighting for the full value of your damages. He or she can deal with the trucking company on your behalf, so you can spend your time getting medical treatment and recovering from your injuries.
Contact Rizk Law today to learn more about what we can do for you. Your consultation is free of charge and you will not be billed for having one of our attorneys represent you unless you receive compensation.