Have you or a loved one recently been involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler in Arkansas? If so, you may be wondering how to navigate an insurance claim, and how insurance claims involving commercially-operated vehicles are resolved.
These accidents can lead to significant damages, including medical bills, lost wages, permanent injuries, loss of limbs, and even death. Having your claim handled properly is critical for you to get all of the compensation you deserve to recover and move on with your life.
However, insurance companies will use every resource available to deny coverage for certain injuries or to deny your claim altogether.
Face it. They adjust truck accident claims every day. They have completed the process tens of thousands of times. Chances are, you have never had to navigate the claims process in a truck accident before. And if you are injured, chances are high that your resources are limited.
You need help to keep from falling into the traps set by the insurance company and to level the playing field. Hire an experienced Little Rock truck accident lawyer as your ally and advocate during the claims process.
With over 45 years of hands-on experience across the South and a commitment to client-centered practice, Little Rock Trial Lawyers are dedicated to helping you get the justice and compensation you deserve. We will come to you, wherever you are, to discuss your case.
Learn more about the insurance claims process and speak to a Little Rock truck accident lawyer near you during a free, no-obligation case review. Simply call (501) 404-2333 or contact us online to schedule your free appointment today. Again, we will come to you, wherever you are, to discuss your case with you and your loved ones.
This information explains why you need an experienced lawyer as you navigate the many less-than-honest or downright deceptive measures these multi-billion dollar companies will take when trying to avoid responsibility to the very public they claim to protect. Continue reading so you will know what to expect and won’t fall victim to their predatory measures!
How the Insurance Claims Process Is Supposed to Work
The following list shows the ideal scenario when you file a truck accident injury claim with an insurance company representing the at-fault driver and their employer.
Unfortunately, not every insurance interaction will involve such a clean, responsive back-and-forth resolution, so read further to learn what types of complications, roadblocks, and advice that may arise or be useful during your case.
- The insurance company receives notice of an accident and a possible claim.
- You receive medical attention and get a full diagnosis from your doctor. While you heal, you calculate all of your damages and estimate future costs.
- You and your Little Rock truck accident attorney file a demand letter informing the insurance company of all your losses, the basis of your claim, and any relevant evidence.
- The insurance company responds. They are not obligated to inform you if your claim is under investigation or if they need time to review it further. However, they are expected to make a timely settlement offer compensating you for all of your losses.
- The insurance company makes a settlement offer. Do not sign this offer until you’ve had it reviewed by an experienced truck accident lawyer! Otherwise, you will not be entitled to any additional funds for hidden injuries and you will be barred from any legal action, except in extremely rare cases.
- If you are not satisfied with the offer, you and your attorney can propose a counteroffer along with your legal justification (according to the language of the policy) and any additional relevant evidence.
- Once a satisfactory settlement agreement is negotiated, you will be compensated for your losses. If no agreement can be made, then you and your attorney can file a lawsuit against the insurance company asking for your damages to be awarded by a jury of your peers.
Roadblocks to Expect and Rules to Follow When Dealing with Insurers
Insurance companies will fully investigate your claim with an eye toward denying liability for your injuries. The statement does not begin to scratch the surface of the tactics insurers use to reduce your settlement value.
Little Rock Trial Lawyers know their tactics and strategies because we have seen them time and time again. We will develop our own strategy to combat the insurance company as it seeks to reduce or deny your claim.
Here is what you can expect when facing an insurance claim against a truck driver. Some simple rules are included that will protect you from unscrupulous insurance companies.
Rule # 1: Beware!
We are all familiar with the story of David and Goliath. The insurance company has more resources than 100 law firms and they are willing to use them to their advantage to reduce or eliminate their responsibility to you.
Little Rock Trial Lawyers will employ rules of law and procedures that are designed to protect innocent truck accident victims. Don’t be unwittingly bullied by an insurance company.
Rule # 2: Don’t Talk to Anyone From the Insurance Company
JUST DON’T DO IT. There is a 99% chance your words will be used against you. Little Rock Trial Lawyers understand the rules of evidence and how your words can be twisted. Even the most innocent statements can be skewed against you. If someone calls, simply take their name and number and firmly decline any further comment.
Rule # 3: Strangers Are NOT Your Friends
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law or settlement negotiations. Sound like you have been arrested? You probably haven’t, but you need to act like you have. Don’t fall for the sympathetic voice. In the aftermath of an accident, insurance companies will act quickly, placating you with false compassion and an eager listening ear.
Beware this tactic! Every communication with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company can and will be scrutinized and twisted to be used against you.
Be extremely cautious of what you say to anyone calling to talk about your claim. Be cautious of who you speak to in an operating waiting room or emergency room. Advise your loved ones to do the same. Despite their understanding tone, make no mistake – insurance companies and their representatives are not on your side.
It is always in your best interest to have the assistance of a lawyer in your communications with an insurance agent. Always decline to make a recorded statement any time they request it.
Rule # 4: Expect the Insurance Company To Have Superior Knowledge of the Facts at the Beginning
The insurance company and the trucking company more than likely dispatched a team of experts to the accident scene. They analyzed the wreck scene and collected photographs of the vehicles, destroyed guard rails, signs, and skid marks, all of which can be valuable clues to the cause of the accident.
They will collect dash camera video, anti-collision data, and probably the “black box” from the truck before the carnage from the accident is ever removed from the scene. You need an experienced truck accident lawyer to help you get the evidence that the insurance company gathered early in the game.
The insurance company knows if the truck was well-maintained or not. They know if its tires were bald or its braking system was defective. They know if the driver was speeding or was in violation of other laws that specifically apply to truckers. When the insurance company calls, they more than likely already know what happened. In any conversation with an insurance company, they are looking for concessions from you.
Rule # 5: Don’t Accept Responsibility
There is a time and place for everything. You may be responsible in whole or part for the truck accident. However, NEVER claim any level of responsibility for the truck accident until you speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer and your claim is fully investigated.
Defective brakes, tires, or other maintenance issues could have contributed to the wreck. You can’t know this until an investigation is complete. If anyone asks, simply take the name and number of the person who called you and kindly decline to speak with them further.
Rule # 6: Expect the Insurance Company to Know More About You Than You Want to Believe
The moment the insurance company learns of the wreck, they immediately begin to use the internet and other resources to learn as much about you as they can. They will specifically use social media to learn about you, your family, lifestyle, and beliefs. They will use zip codes and other information readily available on the internet to categorize you into a group and later even use your beliefs against you.
Rule # 7: You Are Not Alone
You must assume that you are being followed or videotaped at all times after the truck accident. Drones are now being used to video record victims in their own backyards. Cases have been won and lost with hidden videotapes.
Rule # 8: Never Sign a Medical Release From the Insurance Company
One of the biggest errors made by unrepresented victims of truck wrecks is to sign an unlimited, overreaching medical release provided by the insurance company. Certainly, your medical treatment necessitated by the truck accident, as defined and outlined by your medical records, will be provided to the insurance company to justify your claim.
However, NOT ALL of your records are subject to perusal by the insurance company. Furthermore, medical releases must be limited. Prevent the insurance company from speaking to your medical care providers without your attorney present. They won’t tell you this when they ask you to sign a medical release.
Rule # 9: Don’t Be a Tough Guy
No one likes to be sick. We want to be well and return to our jobs and previous lifestyle. Similarly, no one likes to endure the fears and risks associated with medical procedures like surgeries. However, you must remember that your doctor documents what you say to them during your visits.
NEVER understate your medical symptoms or minimize the pain that you are experiencing as a result of your injuries. If you tell your doctor you are fine when you are not, your words will be used against you in settlement negotiations or before a jury of your peers.
Likewise, never tell anyone you were not hurt until you have undergone a full examination by your medical provider. Many serious injuries do not manifest until days or even weeks after a violent collision. You may be seriously injured and not even know it. As time passes, the insurance company will blame late symptoms on your job or your lifestyle.
Rule #10: Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
If your doctor tells you to stay home from work, stay home from work. If they tell you to not walk, then don’t walk. The insurance company will use your reluctance to follow your treatment plan against you by saying “the condition was obviously not that serious” or “you caused your own injury to be aggravated or delayed in healing”.
Medical decisions are complicated. Will the procedure be successful? How long will it take me to get well? Can I afford this? What are the risks? Do not let the proverbial tail wag the dog. Specifically, make medical decisions for yourself based on your health, not your case.
However, be mindful that insurance companies do not pay on a recommended medical procedure that you did not undertake. They pay on surgeries and other procedures that actually occurred. If you decline treatment and settle your case, you can not go back to the insurance company for additional monies to compensate you. Therefore, make these decisions carefully.
Rule # 11: Expect A Lowball Offer
Insurance companies profit if they pay you a settlement that is less than its value. The lower the amount they can convince you to accept, the more they get to keep for themselves. That way, they get to keep the premiums they collect from policyholders instead of paying them out to vulnerable people just like you.
It is difficult to think clearly when you are in shock after a life-threatening accident or in pain from your injuries. In this highly emotional state, you are an easy target for a raw deal. Insurance companies know you have medical bills, towing and mechanic fees, potential traffic tickets from the incident, lost earnings from missed work, a family to feed and care for, and myriad other financial fears on your shoulders.
Insurance companies are banking on your panic, hoping you will be too overwhelmed to look further into what would be considered adequate compensation. This is why you should have a truck accident attorney representing you when negotiating with insurance. Your attorney will be able to determine exactly what kind of compensation is available to you, and more importantly, how to get it.
Rule # 12: Expect the Insurance Company to Exploit Your Duty To Cooperate
As a claimant, you almost certainly have what is known as a “duty to cooperate” clause in your personal insurance policy. This means that you are legally required to cooperate with your insurance company by providing documentation of expenses, damages, and medical treatment.
It can be an exhausting process to gather all of this information. Without the protection of an attorney, insurance companies will pull out all the stops in discrediting your claimed expenses. They will try to get you to admit partial fault or catch you contradicting the severity of your injuries.
Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance without the help of a truck accident attorney. Your ‘duty to cooperate’ only applies to your own insurance company; it does not apply to the other driver’s insurer. While they may seem friendly enough, any information they can gather is valuable in their case against you.
Avoid creating any friction by politely refusing to answer any questions from the insurance company. Simply provide your basic contact information and confirmation of the details on the police report. Continue referring them to your attorney at Little Rock Trial Lawyers each time they contact you.
Rule # 13: Expect a Personal Attack By the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are not above digging up dirt. Expect to have your personhood picked apart with a fine-tooth comb. Agents will almost certainly research the internet to learn who you are, what resources you may have access to, and how they might be able to discredit you and your claim.
Do NOT post on social media. Be wary of what you say to law enforcement and medical staff, and what kinds of innocent chit-chat you let slip during phone calls with anyone other than your attorney. Advise your loved ones to do the same.
If you find yourself being scrutinized, do not play into this fear tactic; always defer to your legal representative. Little Rock Trial Lawyers can talk the talk and walk the walk when under fire by insurance companies eager to avoid liability by attempting to embarrass or harass you. And not to worry, turnabout is fair play. We will also use our own resources to learn all we can about the truck driver and the trucking company.
Rule # 14: Expect Delays in Adjusting Your Claim
Another classic tactic of big insurance companies is dragging out your claims process, dodging your calls, avoiding giving direct answers, and passing you from one representative to another.
The goal is to give them as much time as possible to build a case against you while exhausting you into accepting a settlement. Do not let them give you the runaround!
Having an experienced Arkansas truck accident attorney representing you can significantly cut down on this unprofessional game-playing. Little Rock Trial Lawyers know all the tricks and bluffs of the trade. We will not tolerate you being taken advantage of or led astray by multibillion-dollar insurance companies.
Rule # 15: Expect Your Truck Accident Lawyer to Protect You.
You need protection from insurance company tactics. Expect Little Rock Trial Lawyers to use every rule, procedure, statute, and law to protect your rights to the compensation you deserve.
Rule #16: Concentrate on Getting Well and Let Us Carry the Load
Stress is a killer. Literally. It also interferes with your body’s ability to mend itself both properly and timely. Let Little Rock Trial Lawyers take on your worry.
Contact Us Today to Discuss Your Case
Don’t be fooled, and don’t take this on yourself! Allow one of our attorneys to give you the time, attention, and representation you deserve.
Call Little Rock Trial Lawyers today to get help with the claims process, avoid any shenanigans, and document your losses. We can give your case the highest chance possible of resulting in the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation now with one of our Little Rock truck accident lawyers when you call (501) 404-2333 or contact us online.