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June 10, 2024

Should I Accept the First Offer from the Insurance Company After a Truck Accident? 

two trucks crashing into each other on road

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you should not accept any offer from an insurance company without consulting a knowledgeable truck accident attorney. The insurance company hopes you’ll accept the first offer because it’s almost always lower than what your case is worth.  

Being unable to work while medical bills pile up can create urgent financial needs that make an early settlement offer seem tempting, but the consequences of settling your claim before you know the true costs of your injuries can haunt you for the rest of your life. Once you accept the offer, you lose the right to ask for more money if your losses turn out to be higher than you thought.

Questions To Consider When the Insurance Company Makes an Offer

If you accept an insurance company’s offer, you must sign a document releasing the trucking company and insurer from further liability and closing your case forever. The insurance company hopes you’ll make an emotional decision and take a lowball offer based on your current financial challenges. Before you consider taking the offer, ask yourself the following: 

  • Do I know the lifetime costs of my injuries, and will this offer cover them? 
  • Does the offer account for my lost earnings now and in the future? 
  • Does the offer include any personal care or housekeeping services I’ll need? 
  • Will I be able to maintain my current standard of living if I accept this offer? 
  • Will I be able to afford all of my medical care if I accept this offer? 
  • Does the offer fairly compensate me for my pain and suffering? 
  • Is the offer lower than the trucking company’s coverage limits? 

How a Big Truck Attorney Can Help 

A Florida truck accident lawyer can objectively assess an insurance company’s offer and determine whether it is fair and reasonable. Our big truck lawyers thoroughly investigate your accident and analyze your medical records. If we determine that the settlement offer is too low, we will gather evidence to prove the full extent of your injuries and losses and fight for full compensation.  

In the meantime, we can connect you to doctors who will allow you to continue treatment while you wait for your settlement. We can often find pre-settlement funding for truck accident victims, so you don’t have to feel pressure to accept a lowball offer. We can also recover compensation from your no-fault insurance to cover some of your medical bills and lost wages until we get the settlement you deserve.

What Should I Say to the Insurance Company?

Avoid speaking with the insurance company at all costs. No law requires you to speak to an at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance companies can use everything you say against you, regardless of how innocent your statements are. They will not hesitate to misconstrue your words to undermine your case.

The insurance company may interview your friends, family, doctors, and co-workers during a private investigation or deposition, so it is important to avoid talking to anyone about your accident other than law enforcement and your attorney. When seeing a doctor, keep the discussion related to your injuries and avoid discussions about the accident. Notably, under Florida’s accident privilege law, any statements you make to law enforcement cannot be used against you in a criminal or civil case.

If the insurance company contacts you, refer the representative to your attorney without further comment. If you do happen to talk to the insurance company, never admit fault, sign any documents, or provide a recorded statement.

Common Tactics Used by Insurance Companies

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you will likely hear from the insurance company’s claims adjuster. An insurance adjuster’s job is to assess your damages and determine how much the insurance company should pay. No matter what the adjuster tells you, the insurance company is not on your side, and the adjuster’s duty is to the insurer, not you. Insurance companies are only concerned about their bottom line and will likely employ numerous underhanded tactics to protect it.

The Friendly, Sympathetic Adjuster

The insurance adjuster may come across as friendly and non-threatening to establish rapport and gain your trust. This facade is carefully orchestrated to get you to talk and convince you to believe whatever the adjuster tells you. Make no mistake: everything you say to the adjuster will get back to the insurance company and be used against you if possible. The adjuster will use the relationship to convince you to make decisions against your own best interests, such as agreeing to give a recorded statement or accepting a lowball offer.

The Recorded Statement

Your insurance company may pressure you to give a recorded statement, claiming it will help you. A recorded statement is much more likely to hurt you than help you. During the recording, the adjuster will ask you a series of calculated questions designed to get you to minimize your injuries, concede to some level of fault, or make other statements that the company can easily misconstrue and use against you. The company will then give the recording to its attorneys, who will analyze every word and concoct ways to use your statements to undermine your case.

Early, Lowball Offers

The insurance adjuster may present a seemingly generous offer within days of your truck accident. The company hopes you will accept this offer before you know the true costs of your injuries because these early offers are typically much lower. The adjuster may apply severe pressure to persuade you to accept the offer by falsely claiming that the company is doing you a favor by offering that amount or that you will not have any other chance to receive compensation.

Confusing Paperwork

You may receive a mountain of documents to sign from the insurance company. You should never sign these documents without your attorney present. You could unknowingly sign away your rights. In some cases, the insurance company may even send you a check. If you cash the check, it could be considered acceptance of an offer. This would close your case and prevent you from pursuing additional compensation should you need it.

Stall Tactics

If all else fails, an insurance company may resort to stall tactics, such as cutting off communication or repeatedly asking for more information. These tactics are designed to run out the clock on the statute of limitations or get you to give up. The Florida personal injury statute of limitations generally gives you two years to file a truck accident lawsuit. If the company succeeds in stalling beyond this time frame, you lose your right to file a lawsuit, removing all incentive for the insurance company to pay on your claim.

Distorting the Facts

Trucking companies quickly send attorneys and investigators to accident scenes to gather evidence that will work in their favor. They take photos, interview witnesses, and hire forensic crash analysts. They focus on evidence in their favor and ignore evidence that might help you. They may also investigate you by monitoring your social media, interviewing your friends and family, and surveilling you in hopes of catching you in an activity they don’t think you should be able to do with your injuries. They will seek to obscure the facts of your case and attempt to do the following:

  • Blame you for the accident
  • Minimize your injuries
  • Discredit your expert witnesses
  • Confuse your eyewitnesses

Taking Advantage of Unrepresented Accident Victims

Insurance companies are most likely to resort to these maneuvers when an accident victim doesn’t have an attorney. When you have Farah & Farah on your side, trucking insurance companies know better than to try these schemes. We know their tactics, what it takes to protect your interests, and how to make the insurance companies pay the compensation they owe you. Many of our attorneys defended insurance companies in their past careers, giving us unique insight into their playbook.

"Some of the things you want to keep in mind is that the insurance companies or the trucking companies take these cases very seriously. They know a lot of times, these accidents result in a lot of serious injuries, and they're very aware of that. So, they take special actions after an accident to try to protect their interests. And some of the things they do are dispatching an attorney to the scene of the accident. A lot of times, they have these attorneys on retainer. They call them. They go to the scene of the accident and they're there to try to get information from witnesses to support the truck driver's position or version of what happened in the accident. They also dispatch accident reconstruction experts, engineers, who go to the city of the accident while the police are there to try to take measurements, take pictures of debris, and do an engineering study that will support the driver's position of what happened."

The Trucking Company May Owe You Substantial Compensation

Trucking and insurance companies know that the long-term cost of a serious truck accident can be substantial, and they are more concerned with protecting their bottom line than treating innocent accident victims fairly. They may be liable for the following damages and more after a truck accident:

  • Your lifelong medical expenses related to the accident
  • Lost wages and lifelong reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Trucking companies and their insurers are also responsible for damages if your loved one has died from a truck accident, known as wrongful death damages. They include compensation for such losses as funeral costs, your loved one’s pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and the loss of your loved one’s probable lifetime earnings had the accident not occurred.

We have won over $2 billion in case results for injured accident victims, including significant results for truck accident victims. We recently won a $750,000 settlement on behalf of an injured truck accident victim in Fort Myers. Had our client accepted the insurance company’s original offer, she would have walked away with significantly lower compensation, as this settlement was more than ten times the insurance company’s first offer.

How To Protect Your Truck Accident Claim and Maximize Your Compensation

While the trucking company is doing everything it can to minimize your damages, there are several ways to protect your claim, including the following:

  • Complete your medical treatment. If you miss appointments or skip some of your medical treatment, the insurance company will use it as evidence that you don’t need it. Medical treatment is the most important evidence for proving damages.
  • Stay off of social media. The insurance company may monitor your social media, hoping to catch you talking about the accident or making posts that show you enjoying life activities.
  • Gather evidence. Hold onto any contact information you obtained from eyewitnesses at the scene and keep medical bills, accident pictures, your wrecked vehicle, and any other evidence you have. Your attorney can help with the rest.
  • Involve a knowledgeable truck accident attorney early on. Insurance companies hire lawyers, and you need a skilled attorney on your side. We hire our own accident investigators just like the trucking companies do, except we gather evidence to support you. We will be your mouthpiece; every word we say to the insurance company will help your claim. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can protect your rights to compensation.

What Happens if You Decline an Insurance Offer?

Although the insurance company would have you believe that declining an offer is detrimental, rejecting it could be the best way to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve. Don’t listen to the insurance company’s threats that you won’t get another offer. Declining the offer paves the way for a better offer. It sends a message to the insurance company that you are savvy enough to know that you deserve more.

When you decline the insurance company’s offer, the next step is to prepare a counteroffer. Your counteroffer should include your current medical expenses, lifelong lost wages, incidental expenses, and non-monetary losses resulting from the accident. You generally will not have this information until you have reached your maximum medical improvement or finished your medical treatment. This could take several months or even years.

Before you make a counteroffer, let a seasoned truck accident attorney review your damages. Our big truck attorneys know how to anticipate the lifetime costs of your injuries. You can count on us to ensure your counter offer accounts for all your damages and refuse to accept less than your full compensation.

Let Our Big Truck Lawyers Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve

Declining an insurance company’s offer can be scary when you’re recovering from serious injuries after a truck accident, but you don’t have to go through it alone. 

We’ve been protecting truck accident victims since 1979, and we are committed to protecting your rights, maximizing your compensation, and helping you get through this difficult time. We charge nothing upfront, and you only pay if we win. Experience makes all the difference.  

Call us today at (877) 245-6707 and put our experience to work for you.

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