I was recently contacted by a friend who was struck by a semi-truck driver. His car was in the area designated to turn right. The semi-truck was in the center lane for through traffic with no turn signal. There was an empty space for the semi-truck to turn. What happened next was unbelievable.
The semi-truck driver began turning right and drove his entire semi-truck into my friend’s car. It dragged the car under the trailer and over into the curb. This was despite my friend honking incessantly. The police came and investigated. The police interviewed three witnesses. All of the witnesses agreed that the semi-truck driver was in the center lane and was NOT signaling that he was going to make a right-hand turn. Nevertheless, the semi-truck driver denied fault, claimed he was signaling for the turn and insisted he was not in the middle lane (despite the statement of four other witnesses). When my friend made a claim with the semi-truck driver’s insurance, Progressive Insurance, they readily denied fault. After reviewing the police report, they finally admitted that they were only 70% at fault.
This, of course, is unbelievable and yet it is also typical of the trucking industry and its insurance. There are three primary steps that semi-truck drivers take in these cases in order to protect their company.
TRUCKER STEP 1: DENY LIABILITY WHEN YOU ARE CLEARLY AT FAULT
Trucking companies train their drivers to deny responsibility for a trucking crash. They are trained to admit nothing, deny everything and never apologize. This is done so that they can try to come up with a reason for denying the liability claim that is inevitably going to be made. They do this because they know that commercial trucking accidents often cause catastrophic injuries and have dire consequences for its victims. Denial of liability claims is one of the insurance industries chief ways of keeping their costs down and preventing big verdicts.
TRUCKER STEP 2: GET THE TRUCKING COMPANY DEFENSE LAWYER
The next step that semi-truck drivers are trained to take is to immediately contact the company after a crash so that the company can get the commercial trucking defense attorney out and investigate right away. When an attorney directs an investigation, they can claim both ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE and WORK PRODUCT PRIVILEGE. This means that the communications made by the insurance company, trucking company, and lawyer are all non-discoverable and can be kept secret. This is the same for evidence gathered from the crash. If the investigation is conducted at the direction of the attorney, then the evidence can be hidden if it is bad and used if it is good for the trucking company. This means that the involvement of an attorney will help the commercial insurance company to save money by being able to use the good evidence and hide the bad evidence. Remember that the goal of the insurance company investigation is to find a way to deny or defeat the claim, not to determine the truth.
TRUCKER STEP 3: DELAY PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM
The final step that the semi-truck driver, trucking company, and the commercial insurance carrier could take, would be to delay payment of the claim. This is especially true in catastrophic injury cases. The insurance company knows that time makes it harder on the victim of a trucking accident. The victim will become increasingly desperate because the consequences of trucking accidents are so severe. When a car is totaled, most victims need to get a new car right away and the insurance company will drag its feet to delay payment and then, like the case of my friend, claim comparative fault despite all of the evidence to the contrary. The same holds true when injury victims have huge medical bills and are out of work and have lost wages for months at a time. Deny the claim, delay the claim and make the injury victim desperate for some kind of settlement so they won’t ruin their credit, lose their house or be able to pay for the future medical treatment they desperately need.
VICTIM STEP 1: DON’T LET THE INSURANCE COMPANY VICTIMIZE YOU AGAIN!
When you are in a car accident with a semi-truck, it is critical that you get a personal injury attorney right away. The semi-truck driver will have one right away and you should too. Denials of liability claims are also used to frighten victims into settling their claims with the trucking company.
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, call Whitener Law Firm to find out what we can do to get you the money you deserve. For a free consultation regarding a personal injury claim, contact us at 505-883-7877.
There is NO FEE unless we win your case.