Some clients feel that hiring an attorney is not necessary after truck accidents if there is insurance coverage that applies to the claim.  However, negotiating a settlement with an insurance company is not as easy as you may think.  Contrary to what most people believe, an insurance company’s interests are usually not in line with the victim’s interests.  Instead, the insurance company is looking to pay out as little as possible on insurance claims.  That is how they make their profit.  So, is negotiating a truck accident claim a good thing to do?  It can be, but it is not recommended that you try to do so on your own.
When is settlement a good idea?
There are certain situations when settling a truck accident claim on your own may be possible. For instance, if you live in a state that is considered a “no fault” state, in terms of insurance liability, the insurance company will normally compensate you for the cost of minor injuries, no matter who is at fault. In those types of cases, the amount of compensation you can receive is usually already determined, regardless of the types of injuries involved.  For this reason, settling the case is not difficult or complicated, because what you are entitled to receive, has essentially been predetermined.  However, “no fault” insurance is usually the exception rather than the rule.
“At fault” liability cases are more difficult to negotiate.
Both Arkansas and Missouri apply fault-based insurance laws, which require all drivers to carry auto insurance. The “fault” element of the law requires the driver who is responsible for the accident to bear the financial responsibility for the injuries and property damage resulting from the accident.
With truck accident cases, there may be more than one source of liability.  The truck driver, the trucking company, or the truck manufacturer, could all be at fault.  So, it is important that you have an experienced personal injury attorney helping to evaluate and negotiate your truck accident case.  There are many complex factors that must be considered, including federal and state regulations, deadlines for filing, and determining who your claims should be brought against.
Serious injuries and damages make negotiating cases more complicated
One very important consideration is how serious are your injuries.  You should determine whether they are likely to result in long-term medical treatment, permanent disability, limited earning capacity, or a shortened life expectancy.  Settlement offers made by insurance companies rarely include that type of compensation.
Also, if you are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering or emotional distress damages, then settling with an insurance company may not be a wise choice.  That type of settlement probably would not include all types of damages, which are generally determined by a jury at trial.  A personal injury attorney can help you understand all of the different types of damages you may be entitled to, in your situation.
If you have questions regarding truck accidents, or any other personal injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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