Standard tactics of insurance adjusters designed to lull you into inaction while evidence is destroyed
1. Pretending to be your friend. They try to become friends with a family by apologizing and offering to buy them a car and a house in exchange for giving up their claims, and demonize any lawyers who would know how to maximize recovery.
2. The misuse of annuities. Insurance companies maypromise to pay a million dollars over 30 years, while failing to mention that the annuity only costs $100,000 (or whatever).
3. Inflation. They try to get you to ignore future inflation.
4. Future medical expense. They exclude consideration of future medical expenses that eat into money paid to the family.
5. Future income loss. They exclude consideration of the full loss of income of the victim.
6. Non-economic loss. They ignore the value of loss of quality of life.
Trucking companies and their insurers send rapid response teams to the scene of any major tractor trailer crash
The investigator, and sometimes the defense lawyer, may arrive at the accident scene before the debris is cleared. When this happens, critical evidence may be "lost" and the course of police investigation may be affected.
They may then make sure that any harmful electronic evidence is deleted within a matter of days, and that documents are not retained a moment longer than required by law, if that long.
Driver logs may go missing, or may be reconstructed. GPS data downloads may be modified.
n addition, police reports are often prepared without the benefit of input from people in the smaller vehicles, who were killed or seriously injured, while the truck driver and the company's investigator are able to tell their story to the investigating officer. Without supportive independent eyewitnesses or unequivocal physical evidence, many cases may be lost at the starting line.
Delay in getting to a knowledgeable trucking attorney hurts your case.
As plaintiffs' lawyers, we often get our first call about the case about 23 months later. However, on the rare occasions when we are called soon after the event, when feasible we like to launch a rapid investigation for the plaintiff.
A lawyer who has not already mastered the subject matter of motor carrier litigation, and does not already have a relationship with a qualified commercial vehicle collision investigator, should immediately associate someone who does.
While the police report is a starting point for review of a case, that is all it is. Errors and omissions abound. The investigation for the plaintiff in a catastrophic truck collision may include, depending upon the specifics of the individual case, a variety of types of experts.
What does a knowledgeable trucking accident attorney do if the victim's family comes in soon enough?
Among the first things a trucking lawyer does is to immediately demand that the company preserve a long list of documents and electronic records. The lawyer should also: (1) obtain the police report, (2) visit the accident scene, (3) meet in person with the reporting police officer, (4) obtain all supplemental reports, witness statements and photographs, (5) interview all known witnesses, and (6) consider what experts to employ, e.g., accident reconstruction, etc.
Potographs may be found in places other than law enforcement, including but not limited to firemen, tow truck personnel, EMTs, local news media, freelance or citizen reporters, and other governmental agencies that participate in cleanup of wreck sites.
The plaintiff's lawyer should promptly try to track down the remains of any vehicles, have comprehensive photographs made, and consider whether or not to purchase the salvage of the client's vehicle.