A motor vehicle accident involving passenger vehicles can cause serious injuries to the occupants of the involved vehicles. If a large truck is involved in the collision the risk of serious, even fatal, injuries increases dramatically. If the truck was at-fault in the collision a victim, or surviving family member, may be entitled to compensation from the trucking company. Knowing how to negotiate with a trucking company after an accident in order to secure that compensation, however, is something else altogether.
Tractor-trailers and other large trucks are required by federal law to carry liability insurance that covers the truck in the event the truck driver is found to be the cause, or a contributing factor, in a collision. When a truck is involved in an accident, therefore, it is common for the trucking company's liability insurance carrier to get involved rather quickly after the collision. If you were involved in a trucking accident, expect a telephone call or written correspondence from an insurance adjuster soon after the collision. While there is no law or regulation preventing you from negotiating with the trucking company (or the company's insurance adjuster) yourself, there are a number of reasons why this is not advisable, including:
- You are "outgunned". An insurance adjuster who specializes in trucking insurance almost certainly has significantly more experience negotiating claims than you do. He or she does this all day long, every day, putting you at a distinct disadvantage.
- Your injuries are likely significant. Negotiating a settlement for a fender bender that caused minor bumps and bruises is one thing. Negotiating a settlement for a case that involves serious, likely permanent, injuries is another thing altogether.
- There may be multiple defendants. Often, a trucking accident involves multiple defendants, such as the truck driver, trucking company, owner of the cargo, truck manufacturer, and third party maintenance provider. In effect, this means you could be trying to negotiate several inter-related settlements at the same time.
- Evidence may be difficult to obtain. To maximize the value of your case you may need access to important evidence such as maintenance records or the "Hours of Service" log. Although you likely have a right to this evidence, you may not know how to go about requesting it.
- Non-economic damages are difficult to value. Commonly referred to as "pain and suffering" damages, non-economic damages are always difficult to value without the assistance of an attorney who understands the factors used when calculating the value of a settlement.
If you have been injured in a New York trucking accident, or you have lost a loved one to one, consult the experienced attorneys at Simon & Gilman, LLP to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for your injuries or loss.