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Beware of Insurance Companies Bearing Gifts II

August 18, 2009 by Steven M. Gursten

Truck accident lawyer warns truck crash victims of inadequate insurance company settlement offers

I settled a truck accident case last week. It started similar to many other personal injury cases — major truck accident, truck runs a red, injures person. What made it unusual was how it reached me. An agent for the insurance company had already contacted the accident victim, and offered $100,000 to settle the case. The family sensed something funny, and contacted me. I agreed — as our truck accident lawyers always do when this happens — not to take an attorney fee on anything that was previously offered, but to investigate. If there was nothing else I could add, there would be absolutely no costs or fee.

The truck accident case settled last week for more than 10 times the initial $100,000 offer.

The moral of my experience is simple: I’ve never met an insurance company that has just stepped up and agreed to pay the full amount of what it owes voluntarily. There’s normally a catch. The catch in this case, is instructive.

Any lawyer could look at this truck accident and see what happened. I started with the why it happened. It turned out the truck driver was being forced by the company to drive way past the number of safe hours permitted by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. When I deposed the truck driver, I discovered his log books and schedule for the six previous months showed a pattern and practice of the company creating a delivery schedule that the trucker could only meet by driving over hours and speeding. Otherwise, as I showed, the math simply didn’t add up.

Of course, this is only half the story. When an insurance company offers to settle a case, there is often another reason. It’s a delay tactic as they negotiate with a victim until the time comes when they can legally dispose of incriminating evidence. For example, in the case I just settled, the trucking company could have destroyed – very legally – the log books after six months. If the family had waited six months and one day to come to me, I never could have secured this critical evidence showing the conduct and pattern of the trucking company.

Offering to settle is essentially 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. Read more about insurance companies bearing gifts to truck accident victims.

My point is very simple: It never hurts to call a truck accident lawyer and ask for advice. We don’t bite, and we are actually quite nice. We can explain the truck accident law, what you are entitled to and make sure your own insurance company is paying everything they are supposed to – with no fee or obligation.

And if there’s a situation like my case above, I can evaluate, see if I can help, and only take an attorney fee if I can improve upon an insurance company’s offer. Again, there is no risk and no downside. Call Michigan Auto Law to speak with a truck accident lawyer at (800) 777-0028.

Sound clich?, but this old adage is as true with serious car accidents and truck accidents as it is with everything else in life: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of insurance companies bearing gifts. The cost of “accepting” one of these gifts may be far higher than you can ever imagine.

Meanwhile, please take a look at a testimonial from one of my clients, Tony Harris, of Newaygo:

My lawyer Steve Gursten came into my life under the most devastating circumstances. One day, my girlfriend was driving to pick me up from work when she ran out of gas on I-75. As she was putting gas in her car on the side of the highway, a semi-truck veered from its lane and hit and killed her. My deceased girlfriend’s family was not satisfied with the money the insurance adjuster was offering, so I called Michigan Auto Law to see if there were more benefits available for her children. Steve Gursten looked tirelessly for more insurance and he did it out of kindness — he didn’t charge me a dime. I appreciated that so much. Steve also treated me with dignity and he was always there to answer my questions. I would recommend him for anybody who needs help with a truck accident in Michigan, because he is a polite man, a man of his word and he does what he says. You don’t get that with most lawyers. Most other lawyers wanted to take 33 percent or charge $200 an hour, and didn’t even care if insurance was there. Losing my girlfriend to a truck accident caused by a trucker who may have been asleep at the wheel was horrible. But at least now I had can lay my head on my pillow, knowing I did the right thing by getting all of the insurance possible for her family. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Steve Gursten’s generous help.

Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts in serious truck accident injury cases. He is on the executive board of governors representing Michigan for the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America and is immediate past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Litigation Group. Steve received the largest 2008 settlement in Michigan, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. It was for a truck accident case.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by TheMuuj

Related information:

8 Things You Must Know About Your Truck Accident Case

Help for Attorneys Handling Truck Accident Cases

Support for Truck Drivers

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout Michigan. We are the largest law firm in the state specializing in truck accidents. For more information, please read our law firm quick facts.

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