What Not to Say to a Truck Driver After an Accident
The moments immediately after a truck accident can feel surreal. You may be injured, confused, and in complete shock. Your first instinct may even be to apologize. However, the words that come out of your mouth after a serious truck accident can end up having a big impact on your potential compensation claim down the road.
When it comes to talking to the truck driver after an accident, you should choose your words extremely carefully. The legal team at The Benton Law Firm will explain why.
One of the first things that can tumble out of a person’s mouth after an accident is “I’m sorry.” The accident may not have even been your fault. Yet, the automatic response in this type of situation is generally an apology. “Sorry” is one of the worst things that you can say. “I’m sorry” is rarely taken as a sign of condolence or concern after an accident, even if that is how you mean it. The truck driver and their insurer can use your words against you during the claims process suggesting that your apology is an admission of guilt for causing the accident.
I’m Fine, I Don’t Need Medical Attention
If you don’t have a medical degree, you don’t know that you are fine. What feels like a minor head or neck ache at the time of the crash can quickly evolve into a concussion, whiplash, or other serious medical concern. The adrenaline coursing through your veins after a collision can mask some of the pain of traumatic injuries. Even if you do not wish to go to the hospital by ambulance, you absolutely need to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
In addition, this is no time to put on a brave face. Saying that you are fine implies that you were not injured in the crash. If do happen to notice injuries later and file a claim, your words can be scrutinized by the trucking company’s insurers. They may offer you substantially less compensation than you deserve or deny your claim because of what you said at the scene.
Do Not Admit Anything
Keep all conversations short and stick to exchanging information. You should never make statements admitting fault or accusing others of fault. For example, don’t make comments like, “I didn’t see that sign” or “you just came out of nowhere.” These statements can make it look like you were the negligent driver. It is not your job to establish liability for the accident. Leave the investigation to your attorney.
Written Words Can Be Harmful
Written words are even worse than spoken ones. After an accident with a large truck, stay off social media. Do not post about the accident. Keep all communication about the incident between you and your lawyer. The trucking company’s attorneys and insurers will be scanning social media for any mention of the incident. They do this in hopes of being able to use your own words, however innocent, against you to diminish your claim.
Stay Off the Record
The trucking company’s insurance team will want to speak with you very soon after the accident. They may ask to record their phone call with you or suggest that you make a statement. Do not talk to the insurer without your attorney. An insurer can use this initial call as your official statement about the accident. You may still be reeling from the trauma of the incident. It can be hard to recall details when you are put on the spot. They can use this confusion and uncertainty to their advantage. They will pick apart your statement, look for discrepancies or omissions, and then use that information to diminish the value of your claim.
In addition to choosing your words carefully, never agree to sign anything. Get an attorney to handle communications between you and the insurer or trucking company and refuse to sign anything unless your attorney reviews it first.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Today
At The Benton Law Firm, we understand how frustrating a truck accident can be. It can feel like someone is scrutinizing your every word. Someone is. Protecting a trucking company’s profits is priority number one, which means paying you as little as possible. The driver, trucking company, and insurer all hope your words are the key to a reduced settlement.
Luckily, the legal team at The Benton Law Firm understands how to counter this strategy. If you are involved in a serious truck accident, contact our truck accident attorneys immediately. We can handle communication with the insurer and aggressively negotiate on your behalf for the full and fair amount you deserve. For a free consultation, call our office at (214) 777-7777.