How Insurance Companies Investigate a Truck Accident in Florida
Immediately after a truck accident, the trucker’s insurance company will jump into action. In fact, they often have a rapid response team that will show up to the scene of the accident, sometimes before the police arrive. They will ask you a lot of questions, and you must navigate them carefully.
Before you talk to any insurance company, call an attorney who can help protect your right to recovering compensation. Attorney David I. Fuchs has worked with hundreds of truck accident victims, and he can be there for you when you are in need. Contact us today using our online contact form to reach out.
No vehicle accident is easy to handle; however, truck accidents are very different from accidents that only involve passenger cars. A large semi-truck is extremely complex and a collision with one can cause enormous damage. Furthermore, an accident with a commercial vehicle will generally involve numerous large companies and their insurance providers. You have the right to seek compensation from one or various parties who hold responsibility for your accident. Since truck insurance companies know that there is a lot of money at stake after an accident, they will aggressively seek to reduce any liability that they have to pay you damages. For these reasons it’s important for you to call a skilled Florida truck accident lawyer if you or a loved one have been badly hurt in a truck accident.
Knowing how insurance companies approach truck accidents is essential if you are to recover the compensation that you deserve. Contact the David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. to speak with a Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer who has years of experience investigating truck accidents. Use our online form.
Questions At the Scene of the Accident
If you are present at the scene of the accident when the trucker’s insurance company’s rapid response team arrives, they may try to question you. You should not speak with them about what happened. You should only give them your contact information, your insurance information, and the name of your attorney.
You are likely to be shaken up at the scene of the truck accident, and you may not remember everything correctly. The trucking insurance company will use this to their advantage. If you tell them anything that conflicts with physical evidence or anything you say at a later date, they will say you are lying or too confused to report what happened.
Questions the Insurance Company Will Ask You On the Phone
Whether you answer questions at the scene or not, the trucking insurance company will likely call you within a few days after the accident. At that time, they will ask you questions like:
- What was the location of the accident?
- What were you doing right before the accident?
- What were you doing when the accident occurred?
- Did you see the truck immediately before the accident?
- Did you take any actions to try to avoid the accident?
- Was anyone in the car with you?
- Had you been drinking or taking any illegal or prescription drugs?
- When did you last sleep and how much?
- Were you distracted?
- How are you?
- Do you have any previous injuries or pre-existing conditions?
- Will you go to our medical provider?
They will also likely ask you for signed releases for medical records, text and phone data records, and more. You should not give them access to all of this without talking to an attorney first. Their goal is to place as much blame as possible on you to avoid paying for your claim. You need an attorney who can navigate their questions, help you write a statement of what happened, and sign only the limited releases that are necessary.
You should be honest about what you saw happen, but you don’t have to tell the trucking insurance company if you think you did anything wrong. If you are unsure about anything, simply say you don’t remember or you can’t be certain. Don’t make assumptions or say what you believe may have happened.
The insurance company will want to know about your injuries. However, they will be looking for inconsistencies that will allow them to pay as little as possible. For example, if your medical records indicate that you are on pain medication, but you tell the insurance company that you are “okay,” they may try to reduce your compensation.
It’s appropriate to tell the insurance company that you’re not sure about your condition and you are still under medical treatment. They should get all of their official information about your injuries from doctor’s reports and statements from your attorney.
The Insurance Company’s Investigation is Centered Around Cost Savings
All vehicle insurance companies are for profit businesses. Their goal is to increase their earnings; a primary way to do this is to reduce their liability to pay accident damages. Many accident victims are shocked when their own insurance providers offer them a financial settlement that is far too low to cover the costs of their injuries. The insurance companies understand that truck accidents can result in significant injuries and destruction. Insurance providers and the truck companies want to quickly settle your case for as little as possible. An insurance company fears a long drawn-out court process where they could lose at trial and be required to pay large sums of money.
Our legal team has worked on many truck accident cases, and we know that a low settlement offer can be rejected. Your lawyer must present a strong case when negotiating with the truck insurance company. This will convince them that going to trial could be very costly, and that they should offer you a settlement that is fair given the extent of your damages.
Florida’s Negligence Law May Be Used Against You
Insurance companies will assemble teams of lawyers and experts in order to work on cases where they face especially huge costs. Our legal team has represented many South Florida accident victims where serious injuries require the insurance company to pay large sums of money for compensation. Finding other liable parties in the event of a truck accident can help an insurance company that is trying to avoid financial liability. While there are many possible parties who hold responsibility for your accident, the insurance company may focus on your actions as they seek to pass the blame onto you.
Florida’s comparative negligence law allows for multiple parties to be found liable for an accident. This can result in a reduced compensation payment for an injured party. The insurance company knows that if you are found to be partially responsible for your accident, the court can reduce the amount of money that they must pay you. The law holds that this reduction can be equivalent to your share of responsibility for your accident. For example, if you hold 30% responsibility for the accident, then your compensation can be reduced by 30%. A skilled truck accident lawyer understands that it’s important to build a very strong case so that the insurance company cannot reduce your damages. We do the following when securing the damages that our clients deserve:
- Speak with first responders – Police and emergency services must be consulted in order to learn exactly what happened at the scene of an accident.
- Review witness statements and photos – Witness statements regarding your accident can help demonstrate how the other party was at fault, and how they owe you compensation.
- Review your injuries with doctors – It’s essential to demonstrate the specifics of your injuries if you are to recover sufficient funds to help your recover. This includes the costs of long term treatment over the following months and years.
- Secure damages from negotiations or at trial – A skilled lawyer understands that your case for damages can convince the other party to provide you with a fair settlement offer. However, we will use our years of courtroom experience to win at trial if necessary.
Rapid Response Teams in a Truck Accident
Rapid response teams are a key part of the truck company’s defense toolkit. If you’ve suffered after a trucking accident, it’s important to understand how a rapid response team will affect your case. Reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident to protect your right to compensation. Evidence destruction and manipulation can seriously damage your case. Contact
Many rapid response teams claim to be a part of evidence preservation. A team may be dispatched to the accident site even before police and paramedics arrive if the truck driver calls in soon enough. This team is meant to gather evidence quickly and professionally, before interference with the scene can occur.
Unfortunately, a rapid response team is anything but unbiased. They are contracted and dispatched by the trucking company as a way to mitigate their liability and damages. Claims of evidence destruction, interference with law enforcement, and incomplete documentation follow rapid response teams wherever they go. A team arrives on site already seeking to protect the trucking company and build up their defense.
Not all teams are unethical, but it is important to remember that rapid response teams are not on your side. They have been hired by the trucking company to protect their bottom-line and build a strong legal defense against your case. They are not there to help you or to investigate fairly.
Who is Part of a Rapid Response Team?
These teams are made up of legal and forensics professionals. Defense attorneys, accident reconstructionists, and investigators may all play a role in rapid response. These teams have personal experience with trucking accidents and know exactly what to look for on site. They may document skids in the road, injuries, damaged road signs, and more to show that the trucking company is not at fault for your accident.
Investigators may pressure emergency response personnel to destroy reports, downplay damage, or leave evidence collection to them. A lawyer may tell witnesses not to share contact information, advise the trucker not to explain what happened, or even skew the account in the trucking company’s favor.
If you are alone at the accident site but the trucker has a team of experienced professionals on their side, you are at a distinct disadvantage.
What to Do if a Rapid Response Team Shows Up
Truck accidents do tremendous damage, but it isn’t distributed equally. The sheer size and weight of a commercial big rig can crush your car while leaving the trucker unharmed. This means that while you call an ambulance for your injuries, the trucker has time to contact a rapid response team.
If a rapid response team arrives at the scene of your accident, it’s important to keep an eye on what they document and who they speak to. If you aren’t injured or have uninjured passengers, try to document evidence yourself. Get eye-witness contact information, take photographs of damage, and make sure law enforcement are documenting the accident site without interference.
If a rapid response team was involved in the aftermath of your accident, it is imperative that you hire a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer to work on your case. Truck accidents are already complex, but when a trucking company calls in their team, you know that you’ll be fighting an uphill battle for your right to compensation.
Let Your Attorney Speak With The Insurance Company for You
The first and most important thing you should know is that you shouldn’t speak with the trucking insurance company on your own. Instead, let them ask the questions and allow your attorney to respond. Work with your attorney to develop honest, safe answers and then your lawyer will send them to the insurance company.
A Skilled Lawyer Can Recover the Damages You Deserve
Do not delay in seeking legal counsel. Florida’s statute of limitations law can keep you from recovering compensation if you wait too long to file a claim. The insurance company knows this, and their investigations and negotiating tactics are often used to stall and waste time. This puts financial pressure on injury victims, and it can force them to accept a bad deal due to desperation. Having a skilled and knowledgeable truck accident lawyer from the beginning will convince the insurance company that you will only accept a reasonable settlement offer. The survivors of truck collisions that we have helped need damages for the following:
- Current and future medical bills including doctors’ visits and surgery,
- Therapy that can help a victim regain normal use of their body,
- Lost wages and reduced future earning capacity due to the accident,
- Emotional distress commonly diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,
- Medication for pain and discomfort,
- Property damage,
- Punitive damages if the negligent party acted in an especially careless manner, and
- Wrongful death payment if a loved one was killed in the accident.
Truck Accident Reconstructionists
An accident reconstructionist is a forensics specialist who uses evidence from the crash site, medical injuries, witness accounts, and vehicle damage to determine the details of an accident. Many accident reconstructionists are engineers who use details like dents, angle of impact, and road conditions to understand speed of impact and develop a timeline of events. Collision reconstruction is a complex skill, requiring an understanding of human psychology, physics, and mathematics. Even those who experienced the crash often underestimate the sheer force and damage an accident can cause.
These forensic engineers work with police, attorneys, and insurance companies to understand how accidents occurred and provide evidence for liability claims. In complicated, high-stakes accidents, sometimes multiple parties will hire an accident reconstructionist to help support their case and get an inside view into the details of the crash.
If you’re working with an attorney, discuss whether you need a reconstructionist to bolster your case. Often, your attorney will be able to recommend an accident reconstructionist. Your insurance may also decide to work with a reconstructionist in a severe case. If you’re considering working with a forensic engineer, contact them as soon as possible to preserve the quality of available evidence.
How Can an Accident Reconstructionist Help Your Case?
Because truck accidents are particularly complex and severe, an accident reconstructionist can be particularly helpful if you’ve been the victim of a tractor-trailer accident. Truck accidents can result in a vehicle rolling, multiple car pileups, and damage to the surrounding area. It may not be immediately apparent what caused the accident. Working with an accident reconstructionist can help clarify these details.
A reconstructionist can also simplify your case by aggregating available evidence into one collision theory. Reconstruction can corroborate witness accounts, resolve ambiguities, and provide concrete details for your attorney to use in negotiations and trial. With a collisions engineer, you may be able to determine vital facts of your crash, including the following details:
- Speed on and before impact
- Angle of impact
- The effect of road conditions on the accident
- Whether involved parties were wearing a seat belt
- If a driver accelerated before impact
- The identity of the drivers
A reconstructionist may also be able to provide schematics, diagrams, maps, animations, and other resources to visualize the accident.
A reliable accident account is vital for truck accidents. Semi-truck accidents often have multiple liable parties, from the driver themselves, to the company that contracted the driver, to the truck manufacturer. Having a solid reconstruction of the accident can help your attorney show liability and keep big companies from sweeping their negligence under the rug.
David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. Can Help
Truck accidents generally result in horrific collisions, and they happen every day in Florida. Your life can be completely altered forever, and the insurance companies involved may be less than helpful because they are seeking to pay out as little as possible. Insurance providers take truck accidents very seriously since they know that they might be on the hook to pay a significant sum of money. Contact a skilled truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. These cases are complex and involve extensive state and federal regulations. Our legal team has investigated many truck accidents for our clients, and we know how to help you secure the compensation you deserve.
Contact the David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. to speak with one of our Fort Lauderdale accident lawyers today.