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Manipulative Tactics Of Insurance Companies In Trucking Accidents

Accident victim sitting on hospital bed with bandaged leg.

Vehicle collisions involving trucks can be particularly serious, resulting in significant injuries, car damage, and potentially fatalities. If the incident occurs due to the fault of another driver, that person’s insurer should ideally recompense the injured party for their losses. Unfortunately, not all insurance firms are willing to cooperate, and some may utilize underhand tactics to either reduce the value of a trucking accident claim or deny it entirely. Learn about the manipulative tactics utilized by insurance firms in trucking accidents and discover how a Missouri personal injury attorney can assist those individuals injured in these incidents by calling Steelman Gaunt Crowley at (573) 341-8336.

Trucking Accidents Explained

A truck accident refers to a collision involving a large, and usually commercial, vehicle that pulls a trailer normally transporting goods from one location to another. Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2020, almost 5,000 fatal crashes in the United States involved either a bus or a large truck. Here are several examples of the different types of trucking collisions:

  • Rear-end and head-on truck collisions
  • Truck rollovers
  • Jackknifed trucks
  • Side-impact or sideswiping truck crashes
  • Wide-turn trucking crashes

What Causes Tanker Crashes?

One type of trucking accident that is particularly dangerous is a collision involving a large truck transporting hazardous cargo, such as a tanker gas shipping oil or gas. In addition to causing devastating injuries to the victims present, these incidents can result in significant property and sometimes infrastructure damage, alongside harming the environment, due to large explosions and material spillages. Trucking accidents of this type often require the assistance of many emergency personnel to tackle the fires and aid injured parties, operations which entail additional costs. The causes of these crashes are numerous, with some examples listed below:

  • Susceptible to catching fire: The materials transported in these vehicles are very flammable. If a tanker catches fire, this can increase the pressure of the goods carried inside, eventually leading to the contents venting into the air and igniting, which leads to an explosion and a crash.
  • Other vehicle faults: Issues with a tanker truck’s brakes or muffler systems, or when the truck is overweight, can all lead to one of these vehicles crashing.

Driver fault: Improper driving practices from tanker drivers, such as the ones mentioned by the General Services Administration, like driving left of center, following too closely, speeding, turning or passing improperly, or breaching the right of way, may culminate in collisions with other vehicles.

How To Know When an Insurance Company Is Using Settlement Tactics on You During a Claim

Insurers typically aim to settle claims for the lowest amount possible. The following signs indicate when an insurance company is utilizing settlement tactics for a particular trucking accident claim.

Providing Swift Settlement Offers

Filing an insurance claim is a time-consuming process, often involving the submission of multiple documents, such as witness statements, medical documentation, accident or police reports, videos or photos, event timelines, and evidence of damages. Similarly, carefully reviewing these documents should take some time, so if an insurer responds very quickly, the offer is likely low and may not reflect the extent of the claimant’s financial, emotional, and physical anguish. 

Pressuring Claimant To Accept

In addition to achieving the lowest settlements possible, insurers typically want to complete this process as quickly as they can. With this in mind, the insurance company’s representative may state that their initial offer is their highest, when claimants could recover more. In some cases, the representative may also suggest that there is a small window to accept it.

Insurers may also advise against seeking professional help. Worth noting is that in Missouri the statute of limitations for filing a trucking accident claim is five years, giving claimants a substantial window of time in which to consider professional advice and carefully review any offers presented by insurers.

Ignoring Evidence

Sometimes, an insurance company might dismiss or ignore submitted evidence suggesting that the at-fault party is liable. In this scenario, the insurer could try to partially or wholly blame the trucking accident on the claimant to justify paying them less. If this happens, it might be necessary to take the case to court. Should legal action become necessary, be sure to collate evidence that demonstrates:

  • The party at fault owed a duty of care to the claimant in the form of adopting reasonable measures to prevent their injury.
  • The party at fault violated this duty.
  • Their breach of this duty caused injuries to the claimant.
  • These injuries led to the claimant incurring emotional and economic damages.

Questioning the Claimant’s Injuries

An insurance adjuster may question a victim’s injuries, since less severe injuries generally mean a lower settlement. When employing this tactic, an adjuster may further suggest that the claimant’s injuries are due to an already existing ailment, as opposed to the trucking accident. Claimants should be wary of agreeing to a medical examination by the insurer’s doctor or of providing access to their whole medical history; providing medical documentation from their own healthcare professional concerning injuries related to the specific accident is usually sufficient.

If an insurer questions the claimant’s injuries, complete these steps:

  • Take videos and photos of the injuries.
  • Obtain medical test copies, including X-rays, showcasing the injuries.
  • Seek a written statement from a doctor outlining that the trucking accident likely caused the injuries.
  • List the injuries in detail, including an explanation concerning their impact on the victim.

Explore the underhand tactics employed by insurance companies in trucking accidents in greater detail and find out how a seasoned Missouri personal injury attorney can help truck accident victims with insurance firm negotiations by arranging a consultation with Steelman Gaunt Crowley.

Failing To Explain How They Calculated the Offer

Trucking accident claimants can ask insurance firms to explain how they determine the value of any offers they make. Usually, if an insurer tries to lowball the victim, they do so when calculating emotional damages since these are less straightforward to determine than economic losses, such as medical bills and vehicle repairs. If an insurance company cannot explain how they calculated certain emotional losses, such as pain and suffering, they could be using underhanded tactics to pay the victim a lower amount.

Contact a Missouri Personal Injury Lawyer Today

A trucking accident can be an extremely upsetting experience for those involved, and when the victim struggles to gain the compensation required to cover their medical expenses and vehicle repairs, this can make these events even more stressful. If you have been involved in one of these incidents, consider reaching out to a truck accident lawyer to help protect your legal rights. Understand more about the calculating tactics adopted by insurance companies in trucking accidents and explore the legal options available for the victims of these incidents by contacting a Missouri personal injury lawyer from Steelman Gaunt Crowley at (573) 341-8336.