As a truck accident lawyer I have posted on this topic several times because it is so important, see my prior posts. I am not the only one that is aware of this problem. A friend of mine just returned from The American Bar Association’s Transportation Mega Conference, where insurance claims executives for trucking companies and insurance companies adjusters were speaking with the information straight from the horses mouth. According to Steve Gursten, a fellow lawyer who represents victims of trucking accidents, this is what was said:
Senior claims executives from a number of high profile motor carriers have done away with the adversarial “deny and defend” methodology in resolving truck accident disputes. Instead, these executives advocate an “apology program,” where the truck company will do anything possible to ease the pain of the accident victim and his or her family.
Trucking Companies Push Gifts to Settle Claims Fast
While this may sound like an example of good public relations, in reality, the program is a backdoor approach to saving litigation costs at the expense of an accident victim’s right to a full recovery; especially since these cases can be worth millions.
According to stories shared by the commercial transportation panelists, trucking companies will stop at nothing to settle a claim as quickly as possible. One account had an executive rushing to a truck accident victim’s rusted mobile home, which rested upon broken cinder blocks leaning alongside a mountain. He came equipped with an apology, a check and an offer to buy the family a brand new house. Another story had a defense attorney visiting the home of a victim, whose vehicle was worth a paltry $500 prior to her horrific accident. After learning the victim “really liked the new Buick’s” she’d seen on the road, the defense attorney was quick to take her car shopping for the day.
Other attempts at an “apology” are less blatant. Some carriers will mail “apology letters” with offers for “any request necessary to help make the family whole once again.” However these apologies are disguised, the end result is the same: Motor carriers and their insurers are taking advantage of unrepresented clients and offering them quick and easy money during these traumatic and difficult economic times
For more from Steve on this topic see his full blog post. It is critical to hire an experienced tractor trailer lawyer in a catastrophic trucking accident.