by Jay Pate

In Texas, the minimum amount of liability insurance a person is required to carry on their vehicle is $25,000.00 per accident. However, federal regulations require trucking companies to purchase a minimum of a $1,000,000.00 in insurance to cover injuries and fatalities that occur from accidents with an 18-wheeler. Some people (including other attorneys) think that because the insurance policies for trucking companies are so large, a quick and easy settlement will be forthcoming if they or a family member are injured or killed in an accident with a big rig. What these same people do not realize, however, is that since the insurance policy for a truck may be up to 50 times larger than the standard passenger automobile coverage, trucking companies will spend 50 times more energy and effort to protect and defend that policy.

First, with so much money at stake, insurance companies hire only the most experienced insurance adjusters and attorneys to handle cases involving injury or death from an 18-wheeler. Initially, the insurance company will feign friendship and sympathy towards an accident victim in an effort to earn their trust. The insurance adjusters will frequently arrange for the victim give an informal recorded “statement” in which they ask questions that are designed to elicit answers that are later used to hurt the case. In some cases, the trucking company may even make a low-ball settlement “offer” to tempt accident victims to surrender valuable rights they would otherwise have in court. They will even encourage accident victims to not hire attorneys by telling them that they will receive more money if the lawyers are “kept out of it.”

If none of these tactics work, the trucking company will hire a highly skilled defense team whose job is to limit, if not eliminate, an accident victim’s recovery. Crucial pieces of evidence may never be found; important deadlines may pass; cases may even be dismissed outright because of legal maneuvers and strategies that catch plaintiffs or their inexperienced attorneys by surprise. Ultimately, an accident victim’s chance of securing full compensation is jeopardized if they forego the representation of seasoned and aggressive attorneys who place the interests of their clients above all else. What is true with passenger automobile accidents is especially true with trucking accidents: you cannot afford to not hire an attorney.