Insurance can be a lifesaver for accident victims, but it's critical to know how the limits of a driver's policy affect the outcome of a California truck crash lawsuit. This was especially true for a recent client whose vehicle was rear-ended by a big rig while driving down the 22 Freeway. Our client was lucky to survive, but his RV was folded up like an accordion, and he suffered severe back injuries.
Fighting Off Bogus Claims From the Trucking Company's Insurer
We worked hard to prove that the truck driver's behavior was dangerous—not just to compensate our client but to prevent similar conduct in the future. We were able to show that the truck driver wasn't paying attention when he rammed into the back of our client's vehicle, making the company directly liable for the back surgery he was forced to endure.
When the insurance company couldn't escape the blame for the accident, they took a different tack and blamed our client's suffering on pre-existing injuries. Our client did have pre-existing back injuries, so we needed to show that he was not experiencing any pain or effects of those prior injuries before the accident. Since our client was on the way home from riding ATVs with his friends, it was clear what he was physically capable of just hours before the crash occurred. We also relied heavily on expert testimony, testimony from the people who knew him, testimony from the people who were there with him, and his medical history to demonstrate his lack of prior back complaints.
Once we established that the crash caused the need for surgery, we moved on to show the adverse effects of the injury on our client. Before the accident, he had a thriving insurance sales practice. After the accident, he could no longer perform the same work duties and suffered a significant decline in his ability to live his life.
Collecting Full Damages From a Burning Policy
Trucking companies are frequently insured under "burning policies," meaning the insurance company pays the lawyers' fees in defending the case before paying for the victim's injuries. This differs from most commercial policies, which allow a maximum of $1 million to settle the victim's case, and attorney fees are paid in addition to that amount.
Injury claims are only worth the available insurance that can be used to pay for damages, so it's essential to establish the amount of coverage after defense attorney fees are deducted. We settled the case for what was left on the policy after the defense attorneys had billed on the case and what the insurance company had already paid for the damage to our client's vehicle.
Never Try to Settle a California Truck Crash Case Without an Attorney
Trucking companies have armies of lawyers and insurance agents to protect them, putting you at an extreme disadvantage after a collision. If you were hit by a big rig and suffered significant injuries, you need Case Barnett Law to level the playing field. Please call our office at 949-409-0055 or contact us online to begin your free, confidential consultation, or start reading our guide, The 7 Biggest Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Accident Claim.