Do not accept a truck accident settlement offer in Mississippi from an insurance company before first consulting with an lawyer. Call now.
Should I accept the first settlement offer after a truck accident?
I have a case right now involving a trucking accident, where an 18-wheeler ran a stop sign and hit my client. As we were first getting involved in the case, an offer had been made from the trucking company to the family, and the family member asked me if they should just go ahead and take the offer from the trucking company and get this over with. At that point, we had not been engaged as counsel. This was an offer that the representative from the trucking company or their carrier had made to the family independently, which is not completely unheard of. It’s a little bit rare, although not completely unheard of. If an adjuster or company representative can get to the family before they have an attorney, it’s not unusual for offers to be made.
My advice to that client and to anyone reading this is to not accept any first offer from a trucking company. If you or a family member have been involved in a wreck with a tractor trailer or other commercial vehicle, do not accept a first offer that’s made to you by that trucking company or their insurance carrier. The reason is that you really need a trained and experienced attorney who has handled trucking cases— not just a trial lawyer, but an attorney with experience in trucking cases themselves— before you can really have a sense of what that case is worth. Unless you are an attorney who works in these particular kinds of cases day in day out, it’s hard to understand all the elements that go into valuing these types of claims. In all likelihood, you’re selling yourself short.
Also, if you just think of it from another perspective, the trucking company and insurance carrier, when they are involved in a wreck like that, they are anticipating a claim— especially when they know it was their driver’s fault. They are expecting a claim, and, chances are, if they’re coming to you and making an early, fast offer, what they’re really trying to do is to just buy that claim out from under you at a discount. They know that you probably do not know the true value of that claim. I say that not in a condescending way, but I say that out of concern, because if you don’t work up these claims day in and day out, nobody would know the elements. The insurance companies know that, and they prey on people’s lack of understanding of how to value these claims. They prey on people’s emotions in the moment, that a bad thing happened and you just want it over with and want to move on. They prey on the certainty that most people would take one bird in hand today versus two birds in the bush tomorrow. For them, it’s a way to get out at a lower price.
With an attorney involved, an attorney can look at that offer and can look at the case as a whole. In my firm – there are lots of other firms out there who approach this in an honest way, who deal with trucking cases on a regular basis – we will look at that claim and tell you honestly whether or not they can add value to the offer that’s on the table. I highly encourage you, if you’re in that situation, to talk to an attorney. Don’t just accept the first offer that’s made.
It may be that there are insurance limits. In certain situations, the trucking company or the insurance company knows, hey, we have X amount available under this policy, and it’s a policy limits claim, and they just offer to tender the limits. In that situation, what myself or most other experienced attorneys would do is just tell you, hey, this is all you’re going to get, so, yes, you should accept that, and no attorney should have to take a fee out of it. They’re offering it, so take it. But more than likely what is happening is they’re not offering anywhere close to the limits that are available. They’re simply trying to pay it fast and get it over with and save money from having to pay you full value later, and that’s where having an experienced qualified attorney who works in these trucking cases on a regular basis can really add value to your case. We can look at the whole situation, fully investigate the claim, pull in all the different aspects of injuries and damages and make sure that you’re getting paid fair value. It’s at least worth the consultation of talking to someone.
Here at Brad Morris Law Firm, we’re always available with a free consultation on trucking cases or any other personal injury cases, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions. I hope this video has helped answer, at least, this very important question that some people have to address up front. It’s not in your interest to accept the initial offer, or really any offer, from a trucking company or insurance carrier, here in Mississippi, without consulting an attorney first.
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