As if getting hit by a truck wasn’t enough! Now some trucking companies are literally adding insult to injury by requiring their drivers to carry liability waiver cards. These drivers are instructed to urge the person they just injured to sign these liability cards right at the accident scene.
These liability waivers are designed to be used in a subsequent lawsuit to defend the driver and trucking company. The goal is to have the accident victim sign the release card before they have talked to a lawyer. These cards are designed to shield the trucking company from any responsibility for causing a trucking accident and therefore any financial liability for the injuries they have caused. And all this is intended to be done before the investigation has started – even before the police have arrived!
This is also becoming standard practice. The form is now included in popular accident kits that many trucking companies purchase for their drivers. Here’s an example of the “exoneration form” in this “Accident Report Kit” for truckers by J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.
REMEMBER THIS SIMPLE ADVICE: Never sign an exoneration form or liability waiver. Never sign a release without talking to an experienced accident attorney. You may sign important legal rights away and could lose out on fair compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and medical benefits.
If the truck driver is not at fault, he or she absolutely does not need you to sign off saying so. It’s important before signing one of these forms to speak with your truck accident lawyer before signing anything. This can apply to insurance adjusters as well.
Here are some real life horror stories of what happened to innocent truck accident victims after they were asked to “sign a waiver:”
- An insurance company agent bought the widow of a man killed in a truck accident by a negligent trucker a new Buick.
- The “full and final” release that Diaryland Insurance Company is sending to injured accident victims in Michigan on the mini tort release, waiving the right to all No-Fault insurance benefits.
- Insurance adjusters or trucking company defense lawyers come to the hospital of an injured truck accident victim asking to sign a waiver in exchange for a low-ball settlement, that in reality, waives all rights to pain and suffering compensation and No-Fault benefits.
A truck accident victim might feel okay after the initial accident. But there are very serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury, that can get progressively worse over time. These are life-changing injuries that can literally rack up millions of dollars in medical care costs.
– This blog post was written by Steven M. Gursten. Steve is an attorney and head of Michigan Auto Law in Farmington Hills. He is past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Lawyer Litigation Group. Steve was also named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leader in the Law for his work promoting national truck safety, and a Lawyer of the Year for a record truck accident injury settlement in Michigan.