A truck accident injury claim follows generally the same course as a car wreck claim, with some exceptions.
Gathering and Preserving EvidenceRight after a truck accident, it is important to collect and preserve as much evidence as possible. If you are able to do so, at the accident scene it is very important to take pictures and videos of the scene, damage to the vehicles involved, the people involved, and the roadway. Taking photographs and videos may help to capture key evidence an accident reconstruction expert may need later in the claim.
When we are hired for a truck accident claim, one thing we do immediately is inform the owner of the big truck to preserve any evidence which may be important later in the case, including driver logs, manifests, and repair information. Sometimes, we may even hire our own expert to help download “black box” data from the truck, showing how fast the truck was going at the time of the accident, if the driver tried to hit the brakes, and other useful information.
Determining Insurance and Filing a ClaimThe police report for the truck accident will typically provide information as to the owner and insurance company for the big truck. Sometimes, the information given to the police by the truck driver is wrong, requiring us to further investigate the owner and insurance information. In cases where our client has done a good job in acquiring information at the scene of the wreck, we don’t have to wait on the police report prior to filing a claim.
Once we have established the owner and insurance information for the big truck, we call the insurance company and see if a claim has already been reported, or if a new claim must be filed. We work with the insurance company to make sure they have the information they need to assess what happened and make sure they know the extent of our client’s injuries and damages.
We advise our clients NOT to speak with the truck’s insurance adjusters and to let us handle that portion of the claim. We typically do not allow our clients to give oral statements to the insurance company.
Property DamageIf our client’s vehicle was damaged as a result of the big truck accident, we assist them in getting it repaired. If the vehicle is deemed a total loss, we will request that the insurance company send us a copy of their total loss evaluation. We also assist our clients in obtaining a rental vehicle during the time their car is being repaired.
Medical TreatmentAt the outset of a truck claim, we will talk with our client to make sure we understand the extent of their injuries and to make sure they are receiving the proper treatment. We will order the medical and billing records from the doctors and facilities where our client treated and thoroughly review those records.
We also make sure that the insurance company is kept up to date with the extend of our client’s injuries and treatment. We do this to make sure the insurance company properly values the claim and are not surprised when it is time to resolve the claim.
Determining the Value of a Claim and Sending a DemandOnce our client is either completely done with their medical treatment or in a position where they are comfortable with what the future holds for them, it is time to see if a settlement can be achieved with the insurance company.
At that point, we make sure we have all of the medical and billing records. We put together a “demand letter” which includes a summary of the truck accident and our client’s injuries and medical history. The letter also includes evidence of any other harms and losses, such as lost wages, disability, loss of wage-earning capacity, emotional distress, mental pain and suffering, and other claims our client may have.
Before sending the demand letter to the truck’s insurance company, we have an in-depth discussion with our client to make sure everything is accurate and to make sure we remain on the same page regarding their claim.
Settlement or Filing a LawsuitThe demand package we send to the insurance company contains a demand that they pay a certain amount to compensate our client for their claims. Once the insurance company reviews our demand, they will let us know whether they are interested in settling our client’s claims and may make a settlement offer. Typically, we then enter into negotiations with the insurance company to see if they will fairly and fully compensate our client for their claims. During the entire negotiation, our clients are kept updated so that they know what is going on.
In some cases, the truck’s insurance company will deny that their driver was liable for the accident, or do not value our client’s claim in a way which would fairly compensate them. In those cases, if our client wishes to pursue their claims against the at-fault truck driver, a lawsuit must be filed in order to preserve their claims. We talk more about how lawsuits work in other articles.
Have You Been Injured In A Covington Area Truck Accident?
If you've been hurt in a semi-truck or large vehicle accident you need to speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact me online or call my Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. I help clients throughout Louisiana including Mandeville, Slidell, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Hammond, New Orleans and Metairie.