Get Fair Compensation for Property Destroyed in Trucking Accidents
It's not just people that get hurt in 18-wheeler accidents -- it's also the victims' possessions that are damaged, often beyond repair. When the mass of an 80,000-lb truck comes crashing into your car, the odds of your vehicle (and anything inside) being destroyed are quite high. In our 25 years of practicing truck accident cases, it's our experience that most personal property is more valuable as scrap than reuse after an accident. In other words, there's often no salvaging things after you've been in an accident with a semi-truck.
Below, we'll talk about what the law has to say about property damage after an 18-wheeler accident, plus how you can get the most compensation for what you've lost in your accident. This article will focus on "property damage," not personal injuries and the like. But, we realize that if you've got property damage, you're likely dealing with serious physical and financial concerns as well. To read more about what kinds of injuries you can be compensated for in a trucking accident, read our Common Injuries article.
Questions Answered On This Page:
- Does the trucking company have to replace what was damaged in my accident, like my car?
- The trucking company offered me a settlement. Should I take it?
- Does getting compensation require an attorney?
You shouldn't have to pay for your property to be repaired or replaced. But get ready for a fight.
If you're reading this, the following scenario is probably all too familiar: an 18-wheeler's driver fails to follow the law, makes an improper lane change, and crashes into your car. Your car is totaled, and some valuables within your car are lost. The police place the blame squarely on the 18-wheeler driver, and you read on the police report that the company had insurance. Open and shut? You should get a new car and your stuff paid for, right?
It should be that way, but it's not. Trucking companies and their insurers are reluctant to pay for your property damage for several key reasons:
- They don't have to: Many clients come to us amazed that even where any reasonable person would agree that the trucking company was at fault, there is no law that mandates automatic payment for your property damage, or any other loss sustained in the wreck. Instead, you must prove at trial that the company's employees were more likely than not the cause of your losses, or have a case that appears strong enough to convince them to settle beforehand.
- They hate any admission of liability: Once the defendants even tacitly admit to responsibility for the accident, that opens "Pandora's Box" for whatever other damage you might have. If you missed work and have medical bills, you'll want those paid, too, and attorneys for the other side know the value of those damages could be many times the value of your property damage claim.
- Paying full value for your property is expensive: You may not have had a fancy car or priceless art in your car's trunk, but you'd be shocked at just how cheap these companies are. We've seen insurance companies balk at settling even fatality cases over a dispute of a few thousand dollars, because any money you receive from the company comes straight out of their bottom line.
The insurance company's tricks to keep you from getting your property damage paid.
While the above is true, sometimes, insurance company employees called "adjusters" might be all-too-willing to give you money for your property damage. Why? Because they're hoping you'll take pennies on the dollar, and more importantly, that you'll settle your entire case when you do so.
In cases where they stand a serious chance at losing a lot of money, an adjuster might be sent with a check in hand to you. They'll say they're very sorry about your losses, offer you some money for your car, and then ask you to sign something. What they want is your signature on a release. This contract, drafted by their lawyers, will forever absolve the company of ANY future payments for anything else. This means that even if you lost your husband and father of your children, the check you receive for fixing your car or buying you a new one means you'll never be able to pursue a claim for lost wages, medical bills, or pain and suffering.
Do not, under any circumstances, sign anything without speaking to a lawyer with experience in the 18-wheeler accident field. You could well be setting yourself up for losing money by doing so---money you'll need for your future and your family's wellbeing.
How Grossman Law Offices Can Help
While our attorneys don't directly handle property damage claims, we do answer questions, as a courtesy and part of our commitment to informing people about how the law works. If you have a question, you've got nothing to lose by picking up the phone and calling us at (855) 326-0000 now. We're here for you.
Related Articles for Further Reading:
- Common causes of truck accidents
- Here are the ways trucking companies try and defend themselves
- If I have injuries from a truck accident, how much is that worth?