How Does Insurance Work When You Get in a Truck Accident?
While any auto accident can be a pain, all collisions involving trucks take on a more deadly serious nature because of the huge potential for serious injuries and damage. You need to know what your insurance and your state’s insurance laws have to say when it comes to a truck accident that may one day impact you or a loved one directly.
Which insurance matters in a truck accident, mine or the truck company’s insurance?
While this is somewhat dependent on individual state law (read about fault and no fault state insurance laws here), in most places, if you or your vehicle were struck by a truck, you will be dealing directly with the truck owner’s insurance company. Be mindful that this insurance company is going to offer you the lowest possible payout in order to minimize their own costs. Truck accidents, given how serious they often are, can also be some of the most expensive auto accident cases to settle.
Your own insurance company may be involved as well, particularly if you live in a no fault state or if you were responsible in some way for the crash. Technically (and legally), your insurance company is not allowed to offer you legal advice, although oftentimes they will still attempt to act like your lawyer when you are talking to them about an accident follow-up. Remember, just like the truck company’s insurance provider wants to save money by paying out as little as possible, your own insurance company is going to do the same.
What are the main causes of truck accidents in the United States?
- Driver fatigue - While laws exist to prevent truck drivers from being on the road all day and night, it’s common for drivers to cut some corners in order to make delivery deadlines, and they often face pressure from their employers to be on time
- Intoxication - Driving under the influence, whether its alcohol, meth, LSD, or coke, remains a primary cause of auto accidents and especially truck accidents
- Texting while driving and other distractions - The benefits that have come with the advent of smartphones are coupled with some pretty serious drawbacks. Prominent among them is the rise in fatal accidents caused by texting, watching videos on the phone, or simply messing around with the phone instead of paying attention.
- Vehicle failure - Operator fault represents the overwhelming majority of truck accidents, but mechanical problems are sometimes the culprit. Bad brakes, steering problems, or wiring and engine issues can cause accidents and fatalities. It is the truck owner’s responsibility (usually a company) to make needed repairs, and failure to do so makes the truck’s owner liable for related damages.
Insurance companies are not on your side
There are a number of tricks, some of them illegal, that insurance companies often try to get away with in order to avoid making large payouts. Every state has a statute of limitations for how long an insurance company or driver is liable in vehicle accident cases. If you have been offered an underwhelming payout by an insurer that you initially reject, they may just stop answering your calls and emails in an attempt to run out the clock on the law.
The other big concern when dealing with insurance companies is the insurer’s offering intentionally bad advice to coerce you into accepting a mediocre deal. To avoid this, it’s best to let your lawyer do the talking during negotiations.
Don’t let your insurance company be your lawyer
The only person who can represent you as an attorney is an actual attorney. It can be exceedingly worthwhile to have a licensed attorney represent you when dealing with the relevant insurance companies. With a lawyer negotiating on your behalf, you are exponentially more likely to receive a settlement offer that matches the rightful compensation you are owed.
You can follow this link to learn more about getting a truck accident injury settlement claim from attorneys who have secured six-figure settlements for their clients who were harmed in accidents involving trucks.