Any sort of vehicle accident can be overwhelming. However, semi-truck accidents are often more severe than those involving private passenger vehicles. They may leave victims emotionally traumatized, physically injured, or worse. Sometimes, people who are shaken up make mistakes—they may admit fault prematurely, say the wrong thing to an insurance adjuster, or accept a low-ball settlement in place of full compensation.
Common Truck Accident Mistakes
Here are some of the most common mistakes people make after a truck accident:
- Admitting fault. You should never admit fault after any sort of accident, especially in its immediate aftermath. Accidents can be complex, especially when they involve commercial vehicles. While you may wish to apologize to a truck driver for the inconvenience, you must wait for law enforcement and your personal injury lawyer to investigate and determine the cause of the crash. When you are hurt, traumatized, or anxious, you are not in the right state of mind to determine fault in an accident.
- Failing to call the police. If your accident did not result in serious injury or excessive vehicle damage, you might be inclined to let your insurer sort things out with the truck company. Although this sort of feeling is understandable, it can jeopardize a personal injury lawsuit’s chance of later success. A police officer or state trooper can document the circumstances of an accident and may be obliged to thoroughly investigate the truck driver’s vehicle for any mechanical faults or poorly maintained parts. A police report can serve as critical evidence in your case.
- Refusing medical treatment. You should always—always!—request medical treatment after an accident, even if you do not believe you were hurt. Shock and adrenaline can mask even serious injuries, which may not become apparent for days, weeks, or months. A physician or other medical professional can help identify injuries you did not know you had. A medical report also serves as important evidence in a personal injury lawsuit, since it shows that you had legitimate concerns about your physical well-being—pre-empting any insurer’s claim that you are simply fabricating your injuries for personal gain.
- Talking to insurance adjusters. Insurance adjusters are not dispatched to help you. Their job is to help their employer, the insurance agency, save as much money as possible. They may pressure you into signing documents or providing a recorded statement. If they know that you have a good case, they may even offer you a settlement. Most of the time, though, they are only offering a settlement because they know you would receive much more money if your personal injury attorney took them to court. You should never communicate with an insurance adjuster without first contacting a personal injury attorney. If you have to, keep your answers straightforward, short, and simple: do not speculate about the cause of the accident, its outcome, or your health.
- Posting on social media. You may be upset about an accident and wish to vent on social media. While this is an understandable reaction, publicly posting information about a crash risks your financial recovery. Insurance adjusters, attorneys, and investigators often monitor accident victims’ social media feed to find anything they can use as evidence to refuse or reduce a payout.
- Waiting too long to contact an attorney. Missouri, like every other state, has a statute of limitations on semi-truck accident claims. If you wait too long to contact an attorney, you may be unable to take your case to court, even if you are certain the truck driver or the trucking company’s negligence is responsible for your injuries.