Having sustained injuries from an accident involving a truck, you may be tempted to take the first settlement being offered to you by the defendants’ insurance company. An experienced personal injury attorney in Brooklyn, NY would strongly advise against this. Why? Because insurance companies generally offer the lowest possible settlement at the onset, which may turn out to not even be enough to support you until full recovery.
Know that regardless of the intimidating “take it or leave it” stance adjusters employ, the fact that they’re offering a settlement could mean they are trying to pre-empt a higher one. You can strengthen your claim with the help of a personal injury lawyer adept in handling truck accident cases. Keep in mind that insurance companies are well-versed at negotiating for a settlement that’s highly favorable to them, so talking with them without an attorney by your side may only cause you to undervalue your claim.
Below are the factors that may be considered in determining the value of your claims, which, when well-established in court or negotiated with the opposing party, can increase the amount of compensation you receive:
- Health complications due to the injury e.g. head trauma
- Type, duration and cost of treatment underdone
- Effect on the victim’s functioning (psychological, financial, social and emotional)
It’s typical for a truck accident case to have multi-party defendants, as the trucking company often shares the blame with its parts supplier or partner driver agency. According to Alllaw.com, since it’s often difficult to measure the compensation responsibilities of each party, the failure to reach a compromise usually leads to a decision to go to trial. At times, however, a party or two might decide to settle independently with the plaintiff (usually because of the higher litigation expenses and expensive punitive damages), leaving the remaining party or parties to be sued in court.
Defense attorneys of the remaining party can use this to their advantage using the “empty chair” tactic. They could pass the blame to the absent party (the defendant who had already settled), which could get the jury to think that you have already settled. The tactic is based on the assumption that juries favor a plaintiff who is single-minded in pursuing his/her case. In some cases, settling might be seen as equivalent to being fully compensated. It is, therefore, important not to rush to a decision to settle. Consult injury attorneys from Brooklyn firms like The Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein to help you make the right decisions, and protect the value of your case.
(Source: Personal Injury Issues with Commercial Truck Accidents, Alllaw.com)