Strategies Trucking Companies Use to Avoid Paying Crash Victims
By Tim Dollar —
After being in an accident, truck crash victims become very busy, very quickly. In addition to the emotional shake-up, there are phone calls to make, insurance claims to file and often huge medical bills to pay. The stress of the aftermath can be overwhelming.
On the other side of the coin, the trucking companies responsible for such crashes are busy too. They are working hard to protect themselves and their insurance companies from liability. They have a number of ways to ensure that the payout for any mistakes will be low.
Here are some strategies used by trucking companies to avoid losing a potential legal battle with someone they’ve hit:
Crash Site Cleanup
Trucking companies and insurance companies have people and resources on standby in the event of a crash. They are available to rush to the scene and do what they can to limit their liability. Whether this means moving the truck in question or hauling it away completely, you can be sure that they’ll be involved at the scene. See our “how trucking companies spring into action” blog for more.
Drivers’ logs, drug tests, inspection reports, citations, crash records … there is an endless trail of paperwork associated with any truck crash. Trucking companies begin altering or deleting any incriminating documents they can after a crash, and certain legal loopholes can make it difficult to stop them.
Trucks are also equipped with “black boxes.” These electronic devices record all of the mechanics during a trucker’s haul and can hold crucial information about the seconds leading up to a crash. Trucking companies often manipulate or delete this information as well.
Direct Victim Contact
After a crash, many victims are contacted by a representative of the insurance agency to discuss what happened. They attempt to make the conversation seem like a quick, standard formality. Later, they try to undermine your insurance claim based on your statements.
Insurance companies also like to get in touch with victims quickly after a crash in order to offer a lowball settlement, in hopes of avoiding the bill for legal fees or delayed injury effects.
Hefty legal budgets afford trucking companies some serious legal representation. These teams typically make use of the same technicalities and loopholes. A commonly cited section of the U.S. Code determines what documents they can and cannot withhold from opposing attorneys, or the entire legal system. For any paperwork they can’t change or delete, they’ll begin attempting to argue as inadmissible. Much of this crucial paperwork never makes it into a courtroom.
Another advantage of a huge legal budget is a trucking company’s ability to wait. After entering a legal battle with a victim, they’re well aware of the bills piling up on the other side. It could be cheaper for them to wait until a lawsuit is dropped than to settle outside of court, or leave it in the hands of a judge.
Lobbying and Advocacy
While this strategy isn’t much on a case-by-case basis, it should be noted that the trucking industry as a whole invests millions of dollars every year to influence the laws that govern them. They attempt to create more relaxed regulations, lower taxes and a more favorable legal environment.
These are just a few of the ways that trucking and insurance companies protect themselves from victims. These strategies are difficult to battle alone. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck crash, seek legal consultation immediately.