Why You Can’t Trust the Insurance Company After a Truck Accident
After a crash with a tractor-trailer or other large truck, you might get a call from the insurance company that’s representing the truck driver or trucking company. This call may seem innocent at first, and the representative for the insurance company will probably say something like, “We’re sorry you got hurt, and we’d like to send you a check for the value of your car.”
While an offer like this might seem genuine and generous, it’s not. This type of offer is actually a tactic that insurance companies use to deter accident victims from calling a lawyer, and accepting such an offer could cost you tens of thousands of dollars or more in potential compensation.
Keep reading to learn about these insurance company “apology programs” and how to avoid falling for them.
Insurance Companies Use Apology Programs to Avoid Truck Wreck Lawsuits
While the insurance company’s representative might seem pleasant during a call like the one described above, they’re not looking out for your best interests. And if you listen to their words carefully, they’re also not admitting fault or even really apologizing. Their words and the offer they make are part of an insurance company tactic called an “apology program” which is designed to get you to settle your case for less than it’s worth.
Apology programs are an established tactic for insurance companies, and they are often very carefully planned. Take the example of Sorry Works!, a “non-profit” that provides training to hospitals and healthcare providers, showing them how to leverage the power of apologies to avoid medical malpractice claims. On its website, Sorry Works! says:
Empathy — sorry this happened — is appropriate 100% of the time post-event, whereas apology — sorry we made this mistake — is appropriate only after a review has proven a mistake. In fact, teaching how to empathize without prematurely admitting fault is one of [our] chief themes.
In other words, organizations like this teach the art of saying the words “sorry” without really apologizing for anything in particular. Many insurance companies have worked with organizations like Sorry Works! to perfect their own “apology programs” that help them avoid paying victims who have legitimate personal injury claims.
Insurance companies didn’t stumble on these strategies by accident. There’s plenty of research available which shows that apologies and sympathy help insurance companies limit litigation and reduce claim payouts. In one small study, 91% of victims who received an apology settled their claim. On the other hand, only 38% of victims who didn’t get an apology agreed to settle.
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Apology programs vary in scope. Some trial lawyers tell stories of insurance adjusters and defense lawyers offering victims new cars, houses, and other valuable gifts. However, most of these programs are subtler. The adjuster might send you an empathetic letter and ask you to make a “reasonable” settlement letter. At the same time, they may suggest that things will only get complicated and expensive if you hire a lawyer.
Never Exchange Your Legal Rights for an Apology
If the idea that the insurance company would simply step forward and offer you fair compensation for your injuries without any pressure seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Insurance companies use apology programs because they reduce costs, and they reduce costs by letting the insurance companies get away with paying victims less than they would otherwise. While the insurance company might offer you the “reasonable” value of your vehicle and show some willingness to cover your medical bills, there’s little chance they will offer you the full value of your truck wreck claim through an apology program.
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Even if the insurance company offers to pay your medical bills, they probably won’t offer you fair compensation for your pain and suffering, your lost earning potentials, or other types of damages that extend beyond your medical bills. And accepting an offer from an apology program won’t ensure that the insurance company will pay your future medical bills if you need major surgery or other intensive treatment later.
Always Consult a Truck Wreck Lawyer After a Crash
No matter how sympathetic the insurance adjuster seems, you should refuse to speak with them until you’ve talked with a lawyer who has experience handling truck wreck cases. If accepting the insurance company’s offer is in your best interest, then the attorney will tell you, and you’ll miss out on nothing by calling them. On the other hand, if you take the insurance company’s offer and accept too little for your claim, you could find yourself under-compensated for your claim and saddled with crash-related costs, with no way to go back.
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Also, it’s important to note that state laws create strict filing deadlines for truck accident claims. If you miss these deadlines, you’ll lose out on any chance to receive compensation for your injuries. And as time passes, evidence disappears and witnesses’ memories fade. All of this means that after a truck wreck, you need to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as you can to make sure your rights are protected and the important evidence in your case gets uncovered and preserved.
Seattle Truck Law: Standing Up to Insurance Companies on Behalf of Truck Crash Victims in Seattle
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a collision with a large truck, bus, or other commercial vehicle, we’re here to help. When you work with Attorney Morgan Adams and the Seattle Truck Law team, we’ll use our expertise to investigate your claims, calculate your damages, and fight relentlessly to get you the compensation you deserve.
Please contact us at (866) 580-4878 or fill out our online contact form if you need help. We offer free initial consultations so we can review your case at no cost to you, and we handle cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we achieve a financial recovery on your behalf.
Robbennolt, J. (2008, September 29). Attorneys, apologies, and settlement negotiation (Illinois Public Law research paper no. 08-05). Champaign, IL: University of Illinois College of Law. Retrieved from https://law.ucla.edu/~/media/Assets/Negotiation%20and%20Conflict%20Resolution/Documents/Spring%202014%20Colloquium/01-23-2014%20Robbennolt%20Complications.ashx
Empathy vs. apology. (n.d.). Sorry Works! Retrieved from https://sorryworks.net/empathy-vs-apology/
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.