The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid After a Washington Semi-Truck Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Washington semi-truck accident that was not your fault, you probably expect that the other driver’s insurance company will cover your costs.
While the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer might be obliged to help pay your bills, you should not be surprised if they do not negotiate in good faith. The insurance company, after all, is a for-profit business, and their biggest priority is saving themselves and their shareholder's money. Unfortunately for accident victims, the insurance industry does not stay profitable by paying generous settlements. If they can find an excuse to diminish or deny your claim, they will.
Here are several common mistakes you should try to avoid to protect your legal recovery.
Apologizing for the Accident
Accidents are, at the very least, incredibly inconvenient. Oftentimes, they are physically and emotionally painful. Even if you were not at fault, you might still be inclined to say “sorry,” whether to the truck driver or an insurance adjuster.
While you cannot be faulted, it is best to avoid apologies in the aftermath of an accident. If the insurance adjuster hears you say “sorry,” they could construe it as an admission of wrongdoing. They might not be able to pin the accident on you, but they could use your apology to tell a judge or a jury that your negligence contributed to the crash.
Failing to Get Medical Care
If you were involved in any significant automobile accident, you should always seek immediate medical care. Even if you do not believe you were injured, you should still schedule an appointment. Many accident-related injuries—like whiplash—take days to really develop. You might not have any noticeable signs or symptoms until you are suddenly in pain.
A doctor could help you identify and treat injuries you did not realize you had. Visiting a physician also shows the truck driver’s insurance company that you had legitimate concerns about your health. Your doctor's visit and accompanying tests and scans will be in your medical history, meaning that the insurance company will have a much harder time blaming your complaints on a pre-existing condition.
Posting on Social Media
If you were grievously hurt after an accident, you might be angry and take to social media. However, insurance companies often hire investigators to peruse accident victims’ social media accounts. They could twist your post to suit their money-minded agenda or use pictures of a vacation or family meet-up out of context to argue that you are in better health than your claim suggests.
Speaking to the Insurance Adjuster
If you have been injured in an accident, the trucking company’s insurer will probably dispatch an adjuster to speak to you.
Adjusters are ordinary, hardworking people. They might genuinely feel for you and wish that you had not been hurt. However, their overriding obligation is to their employer—the insurance company. When an adjuster asks you to tell your side of the story, it usually is not because they want to help you right a wrong—it is because the insurance company wants to use your own words against you. You should never speak to an insurance adjuster without preparation and without an attorney’s guidance.
Accepting an Early Settlement
The insurance company might offer you a fast settlement if you have been seriously injured. While this amount might be sufficient to cover your current medical needs, it probably does not account for your emotional pain and suffering, the income you have lost from work, or the costs of longer-term care.
Not Contacting an Attorney
Insurance adjusters often tell accident victims that they can negotiate a settlement by themselves—that hiring a lawyer will simply make things more difficult. This is wildly misleading. Insurance companies want you to negotiate without representation. When you do not have a battle-tested truck wreck attorney, it is easier for the adjuster to entrap you, use your words against you, and slowly chip away at your claim.
The truth is that insurance companies are afraid of lawyers because we do not let our clients get bullied. We can take over communications with the truck company’s insurer, ensuring you never have to answer questions designed to hurt your claim. You stand your best chance at making a full legal recovery when you have an experienced Washington truck accident attorney on your side.
Have You Been Injured in a Kirkland, Bothell, or Seattle-area Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Seattle-area truck accident, send Max Meyers Law a message or call us at 425-276-7105 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.