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Hit by a truck? Don’t sign this form!

Written by Steve Gursten Posted August 16th, 2012

Truck accident injury victims being pushed to sign  “exoneration cards” at the  accident scene by at-fault drivers

The Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable recently learned of a new development in the trucking industry.  Many truck drivers are now being  pushed by their carriers to get people they’ve just hit in accidents to sign liability waivers.  These exoneration cards are literally being pushed on accident victims right  at the accident scene.

This is going to become more and more common.  These liability waivers are now being included in popular accident kits and being sold to the industry by companies such as J.J. Keller.

To see what the form looks like, click here “Accident Report Kit” for truckers.

This is a dirty trick.  It reminds me of a time when auto insurance adjusters would go to injured people in their hospital rooms after a crash and push them to sign papers.  Now, in fairness, I’ve heard of some personal injury lawyers who have done this as well, so no one should be going into injured people’s hospital rooms.  Okay?

But now it’s spread.  Insurance companies realized they could settle serious injury cases on the cheap.  It’s common practice now for insurance adjusters to visit the homes of serious accident victims with a  a low-ball settlement and a release so they can escape liability for the full extent of the injuries they have caused.

Trucking companies know this too.  And sadly, they are willing to exploit this to avoid accountability.  Carriers are pushing truckers to get people who are shaken up at the scene, often before the police even arrive, to sign these forms.   Accident victims who are injured, who are in shock,  and who do not have any knowledge of their legal rights or how badly they may be hurt, are signing these forms.  In other words, it’s working.

It’s far too common to think you’re going to be OK at a crash scene, only to wake up the next day  or even hours later after the adrenaline has worn off and realize that you’re not OK.

Sometimes these people end up with life-changing injuries that will require literally millions of dollars in medical care costs.

Our advice: Regardless of the  situation, never sign these exoneration cards or liability waivers.  You will sign your legal rights away.  If the trucker is not at fault, he does not need you to sign off on a pre-printed card made for truckers who just crashed into someone saying so.  If you have questions, speak with an experienced  truck accident attorney before signing anything to protect your legal rights.

In this crazy world of high-stakes defense tactics and insurance company abuse, a simple phone call won’t cost you anything, but it can save you more than you know.

Related information:

Truck accident cases are handled differently from day 1

Evidence in semi-truck crash cases

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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