You’ve been in a truck accident, an insurance adjuster is calling and you don’t know what to do. This is a very common occurrence, one that we hear frequently at the Baumgartner Law Firm.
Generally, we recommend that you do not speak with an adverse insurance adjuster until you have consulted with an experienced personal injury attorney. One common mistake that we receive made by personal injury victims after a truck accident is that they assume that the insurance carrier intends to be fair with them in the claim.
The more serious the injury, the quicker the phone call you can expect from the adverse insurance carrier for the trucking company. It is not unheard of, and actually occurs quite frequently, that an insurance adjuster will show up at a hospital under the guise of wanting to “check up on” the victim, with the intention of gathering information helpful to the insurance carrier’s defense of the claim.
There is also the issue of preserving important evidence. We see cases where the insurance carrier has indicated to the innocent victim that they would “accept responsibility” or “do not deny responsibility” or words to that effect, and the victim takes that to mean that they will be fair with them on the amount of the compensation. Unfortunately, when this occurs, oftentimes important critical evidence has disappeared because the victim did not take steps to protect the financial interests of their injury claim.
Insurance carriers often quickly put a tractor – trailer back in service and repair the vehicle, effectively eliminating any chance that the innocent victim can have on inspecting the big rig and looking at whether it was in compliance with the federal regulations. Expert witnesses are often needed in trucking accident lawsuits.
In serious injury cases such as ones involving one or more surgeries or perhaps a head injury, the most important issue may be the damages in the case. Victims are often shocked when they learn that the insurance interests have hired a doctor who testifies every single time that the injury victim is either faking or not as hurt as badly as all the treating physicians say.
There are actually doctors in Houston and across the state of Texas who testified 95% of the time that the victim is either uninjured or malingering and that the vast majority of their already incurred medical expenses were “unnecessary”. Because of the obvious bias of these doctors, one would assume that the court would strike the testimony as not passing a smell test. Unfortunately, medical doctors seem to be the exception to the rule is forced expert witness codes, and courts are allowing these quack defense doctors to give their opinions to the jury.
Fortunately, law firms that deal with these same doctors repeatedly have built files on their testimony and/or are able to at least show the jury the prejudiced nature of the paid testimony of the doctor.
The moral of this story is that the more serious the accident is, the more you really need to speak with a reputable and experienced attorney who specializes in truck accident litigation.